Waist deep in the big muddy
About the Song
The song tells the story of a platoon wading in a river in Louisiana on a practice patrol in 1942. Imperiously ignoring his sergeant's concerns, the captain orders the platoon to continue with himself in the lead, until they are finally up to their necks. Suddenly, the Captain drowns and the sergeant instantly orders the unit to turn back to the original shore. It turns out the Captain was not aware that the river was deeper with a joining stream upriver. The narrator declines to state an obvious moral, but intimates from what he has read in the paper that his nation itself is being led into similar peril by authoritarian fools. Each verse ends with a line noting that "the big fool said to push on", except for the final verse, which changes to the present tense, and the fourth verse which says "the big fool dead and gone". The story is similar to theRibbon Creek incident, which occurred in 1956.