I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green): REDGUM

Australian singles chart:
I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green) entered the Kent Music Report on 18 April 1983 and was a #1 hit. The song was #11 on the Top 100 of 1983.

A live version of the song is on Caught in the Act which entered the Kent Music Report album charts on 6 June 1983 and peaked at #5.

John Schumann

Trevor Lucas (of Fairport Convention)

Record label of Australian release:

Live version from Redgum’s 1983 album Caught in the Act

BONUS CLIP BELOW: Redgum television documentary

The song is a first-person account of a typical Australian soldier’s experience in the Vietnam War, from training at a military academy in Australia to first hand exposure to military operations and combat, and ultimately his return home disillusioned and suffering from both PTSD and, it is implied, the harmful effects of Agent Orange.
Redgum’s lead vocalist-guitarist, John Schumann, wrote the song based on experiences he heard from veterans, particularly Mick Storen (his brother in-law) and Frankie Hunt. Schumann has said that “the power derives from the detail, provided by my mate and brother-in-law, Mick Storen, who was brave and trusting enough to share his story with me.”
For the live version, Schumann explained the title, “A Walk in the Light Green”, as referring to operational patrols in areas marked light green on topographical maps, where dark green indicated thick jungle, plenty of cover and few land mines and light green indicated thinly wooded areas, little cover and a high likelihood of land mines.
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BONUS CLIP: 1983 television documentary, presented by George Negus

Made after the success of I Was Only 19, this feature focuses on the effects of the song on Vietnam veterans, and has excerpts of other songs such as The Long Run and Poor Ned. John Schumann and Michael Atkinson are also interviewed, as is Frankie Hunt, the “Frankie” referred to in the song.

Posted on YouTube by Folk rock / Australian rock / MORE!

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