A balladeer is a story teller. Note some of the lines in this collection:
. . . I got tales that I can tell . . .
. . . I will tell you a tale fraught with fear . . .
. . . I’ll tell you a tale that’ll curl your hair . . .
. . . telling tales, remembering when . . .
Some ballads are true. The composer wishes to recount the details of some great, heroic deed, and chooses to do so in song. Other ballads are pure BS, an orgy of unbridled imagination.
Most balladeers feel compelled to make the words rhyme. To do that, sometimes it is necessary to exercise some poetic license. When this happens, the line between truth and fiction can become blurred.
In combat, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and with warrior balladeers it can be somewhat difficult to tell the difference. But, that’s what history books are for. The historian recounts the dry details of events. It is the job of the balladeer to poeticize and embellish (if necessary) those details into a rousing or poignant, attention-getting anecdote with melody and rhythm.
So, the next time you’re inclined to throw the bullshit flag at a warrior’s yarn, consider cutting him a little slack. He could be either poeticizing or recounting a true but unbelievable event.
Dick Jonas was born and raised in the Suwannee River valley of northern Florida.
He served four years as an infantryman in the Georgia Army National Guard while attending Valdosta State College. Upon graduation in 1965 he entered the Air Force, receiving his commission through Officer Training School. In 22 years service he flew 3,000 jet fighter hours in the F-4 and F-16. During 125 missions in Vietnam he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with 12 clusters.
After retirement from the Air Force, in 1986, he became an Aerospace Science Instructor in the Air Force Junior ROTC program.
During 1991 and 92, in 325 performances he played the leading role in Guv: The Musical, a stage production of the Mill Avenue Theater in Tempe, Arizona.
Dick retired from the teaching profession after 15 years of service, in June 2004. He is now a fulltime entertainer and music producer. His aim is to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of America’s warrior musicians —
The songs we sang about the planes we flew and the people we knew in the wars we fought.
He is known as "America's Foremost Military Aviation Song Writer and Balladeer." He has produced nineteen albums of his kind of music, and published two books — RBAAB: The Red-Blooded, All-American Boy and PTF: Passing the Flame. The two books contain lyrics and war stories of the songs on his CDs.
Dick is an actor, a writer, a guitar-player, a singer, and a businessman. He also flies. He and his wife, Mary, reside in Chino Valley, just north of Prescott, Arizona.