"Waist Deep in the Big Muddy"
is a song written by Pete Seeger
in 1967 during the Vietnam War
. The song tells the story of a platoon
wading in a river in Louisiana
on a practice patrol in 1942
. The captain
orders the platoon to continue, until they're finally up to their necks. This is also symbolic of the Vietnam War
as a whole, and how the United States kept getting deeper and deeper into the war and eventually became so drawn into it that withdrawal was nearly impossible, but kept pushing on anyway. Seeger sang the song on the taping of the CBS show, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
in September, 1967. However, CBS management objected to its political tone, and censored
the song prior to broadcast. CBS later relented, and allowed Seeger to come back and sing the song on the Brothers' February 25, 1968 show. This broadcast is included on the DVD: The Best of the Smothers Brothers.
Richard Shindell recorded a cover of this song on his 2005 album Vuelta. The song was also covered by Dick Gaughan in his 1997 album Sail On. Bruce Springsteen, who would later record an album of Seeger-related songs, used the line "Waist deep in the big muddy" as the chorus for his 1992 song, "Big Muddy." John McCutcheon also covered it on his 2007 album This Fire.
The song was translated into French by Graeme Allwright under the title "Jusqu'à la ceinture".