The War
4 CD soundtrack to the Ken Burns Television Series

Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson

In times of war, men and women sucked into a death dealing conflict often rely on the sights, smells and sounds of home to carry them to victory. During the Second World War, the aggressive pounding of Gene Krupa’s drums, the fiery passion of Harry James’ trumpet, and the warm crooning of Frank Sinatra soothed soldiers sitting in muddy foxholes or sailors freezing in gales on patrol. Ken Burns’ 4 CD set for his television series “The War” features some of the W.W.2’s familiar tunes, but for the bulk of the soundtrack Burns dug deep into the trenches for unknown or forgotten performances. There are a number of duds and outright bombs that miss the mark altogether. The material on the 4 CDs won’t make any new allies for the swing/jazz axis, but devoted fans of 40s music will want to sit back and surrender to the lush, spotless sound.
As in real life, there are four phases to “The War”: the attack (the original soundtrack), the counterattack (“I’m Beginning To See The Light”), the calm (“Sentimental Journey) and the storm – the storming of the beach that is (“Songs Without Words”).