In 1983, an unknown songwriter named Edwin Bankston decided that if no labels were interested in putting out his record -- a nine-song country-boogie album called Over There...and Over Here, credited to "The Red Rippers" -- he was going to put it out himself. Featuring stream-of-consciousness lyrics, psychedelic lead guitar, and a choogling backing band of Pensacola, Florida-based session players, the album's lyrics drew heavily on his time in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, chronicling the frustration, bitterness, and "psychic wackiness" of the war effort, and in turn, the American public's response to it.
|Photo courtesy Edwin Bankston|
|Edwin Bankston in the cockpit, aboard the Navy aircraft carrier USS America.|
Bankston pressed about 3,000 copies of the LP and packaged the vinyl in a stark red-and-black sleeve featuring his mustachioed face sporting a pair of aviators. He took out ads in military-minded periodicals like Soldier of Fortune, The Navy Times, and Stars and Stripes to sell the record, reading: "Combat Music? Yes." Not long thereafter, he gave up on music. But Over There . . . and Over There lived on, becoming a private-press treasure, valued by record collectors and selling for triple-digit sums on eBay. This month sees the first-ever reissue of the record, by North Carolina label Paradise of Bachelors. More »