Day 111, Song 131

Tom Paxton

Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation

Tom Paxton is a folksinger from Illinois. In 2009, Paxton received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

In describing Tom Paxton’s influence on his fellow musicians, Pete Seeger has said: 'Tom’s songs have a way of sneaking up on you. You find yourself humming them, whistling them, and singing a verse to a friend. Like the songs of Woody Guthrie, they’re becoming part of America.'


I got a letter from L. B. J. It said this is your lucky day. It's time to put your khaki trousers on. Though it may seem very queer We've got no jobs to give you here So we are sending you to Vietnam [Chorus:] Lyndon Johnson told the nation, "Have no fear of escalation. I am trying everyone to please. Though it isn't really war, We're sending fifty thousand more, To help save Vietnam from Vietnamese." I jumped off the old troop ship, And sank in mud up to my hips. I cussed until the captain called me down. Never mind how hard it's raining, Think of all the ground we're gaining, Just don't take one step outside of town. [Chorus] Every night the local gentry, Sneak out past the sleeping sentry. They go to join the old VC. In their nightly little dramas, They put on their black pajamas, And come lobbing mortar shells at me. [Chorus] We go round in helicopters, Like a bunch of big grasshoppers, Searching for the Viet Cong in vain. They left a note that they had gone. They had to get down to Saigon, Their government positions to maintain. [Chorus] Well here I sit in this rice paddy, Wondering about Big Daddy, And I know that Lyndon loves me so. Yet how sadly I remember, Way back yonder in November, When he said I'd never have to go. [Chorus]