The poor soldier
When we speak of songs and war, the reference is usually to the First World War, known also as the Great War because of its unprecedented scale: in the case of Italy, this unparalleled bloodbath resulted in 600,000 dead and over a million wounded. Even so, as several historians (Franco Castelli, Emilio Jona and Alberto Lovatto) have recently reminded us, the war was also an extraordinary source of popular songs. Some are documented in this collection, mostly through choral executions: this is how they were passed down before being recorded on vinyl. Other songs represent traditions and genres which treat the theme of war from different points of view, whether in pieces by singer-songwriters – both in Italian (E.A. Mario) and in dialect (Modugno) – in popular folk songs (the one by Eldo Di Lazzaro sung by an important singer of the regime), in parodies with exotic themes (Kramer), or in the form of the spoken song, where a voice (Ernesto Murolo) narrates a war episode in Neapolitan. In other cases, a theatre troupe recites a comic scene using the popularity of a famous cartoon character (Mickey Mouse), who was also well regarded by fascism.