Love Of An Unknown Soldier

David Rovics
Language: English

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[April 2004]
Lyrics and music by David Rovics
From the album, or song collection, "For the moment"
David Rovics' Official Website
For the moment

"For a beautiful Salvadoran woman I saw in a photo on the cover of the New York Times. I was sitting in a café in Seattle in November, 1989, while she was trying to overthrow the US-backed fascists in El Salvador. Standing majestically on a rooftop in San Salvador, dressed in fatigues and an AK. Too bad those SAM's got intercepted en route from Nicaragua." -David Rovics.

April, 2005

I had a great show a while back in Olympia, Washington and met Pat Maley there. I was recording a few new songs at his studio to put on the web, and at some point he suggested that I put out my next CD on his label, Yoyo Records. Thinking that to be a great idea, I went about figuring out what I wanted to do about that, and this is the end result.

Four cities were involved in this decisively non-Luddite production. I recorded vocal and guitar tracks in Houston, and Kristine Pettersen (Thistle) did harmony vocals later in the same place, Sugar Hill Studios with John Griffin engineering. I sent the sound files up to Boston and in Tenitus Studios my friend Sean Staples laid down bass, mandolin, bouzouki, electric guitar, dobro and nylon string guitar tracks and Dave Westner engineered and also played bass, electric guitar and percussion on various tracks.

Professor D and I recorded "Falluja" with Spinister engineering at the studios of the Dope Poet Society in Toronto and we sent those tracks on to Pat in Olympia, and folks in Boston and Houston sent in their tracks, and then Pat mixed and mastered the whole thing to put out on his label.

Since I had it in mind to do a CD with a somewhat new musical treatment than previous recordings (maybe somewhere in between Return and Songs for Mahmud), I thought it would be cool to do new versions of a few songs from previous releases as well as 12 previously unrecorded (mostly new) songs.

It seemed too bulky to include all the lyrics in the liner notes, but you can read lyrics, download lots of free audio, video, and sheet music, buy CD's and songbooks, look at my calendar and links to other artists, sign up on my email list, etc., by going to

There are far too many people to thank, and I've never been very good at remembering the myriad of people out there I feel thankful for. (I sure do feel thankful for them, though, and I hope they all know who they are.) But I'll pick just one. The older I get, the more I think my songwriting seems to resemble Jim Page's stuff.

Maybe I'm the only one who hears that, I don't know. In any case, though I hardly ever see him out there on the west coast or wherever he is at the time, since I discovered Jim's music 15 years ago I have never been the same, and his brilliant musical lens is still the main one through which I view the craft of songwriting, and a fair number of other subjects as well.

Hope to see you on the road and in the streets!

I can only guess at where you came from
Did you grow up in the country
Did your father spend his days with a basket on his back
On someone's farm picking coffee
When he came home from the fields did he throw you on his shoulders
And take you on a pony ride
When you went to bed with no food in your belly
Did he hold you when you cried

How many of your siblings gave in to the hunger
That the healers couldn't save
How many bodies did you pull out from the river
For how many did you dig their grave
When did you decide to leave the village
Was it just something that you knew
Was it just time for you to go or did you know
Exactly what you set out to do

Every song I've written has been a love song
This one is just another
Song for the love of an unknown soldier

Did you spend years in the jungle fighting for your freedom
Fighting for your people's liberation
Did you watch your companeros die around you
While you held fast to your vocation
Did you make rocket launchers in your rebel hideouts
Like your mother made papusas
Did you dream the dreams of La Pasionaria
Or those of Poncho Villa


All I know is that I saw you on a rooftop in the city
In a photo on the cover of the Times
Long black hair flowing down, a machine gun in your hand
In your face was freedom's ringing chimes
Looking at your picture, one of a thousand killed that day
In a moment I could feel that my heart grew
And in all the trials of my life you know
I can only hope to be as beautiful as you


Contributed by Riccardo Venturi - 2006/1/8 - 22:37

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