Sunday, January 28, 2007


Phil Ochs (wikilink) had an odd voice. And the weird intervals in some of his songs accentuated the oddness.

Phil was an important protest-song writer and participant in the anti-Vietnam War movement. His protest songs were topical, so they don’t wear very well.

Some of his famous songs, Draft Dodger Rag, I Ain’t a-Marching Anymore, are better evaluated in terms of lives saved by shortening the war, than by purely musical or poetic qualities.

He did write at least one standard, which is sufficient in my book for greatness. Most of us have heard There But For Fortune, here’s a YouTube link of Phil, if you want to hear it again.

The above clip is another of Phil Ochs' non-topical bids for standardhood. I don’t think it’s going to make it, but it’s a nice song, if not well-made. Gordon Lightfoot is singing it here. His name was very well known to me in the day, but I guess I never appreciated his voice, which in this clip sounds just great! (Except for one horribly missed note.)

Phil Ochs joined the many folksong writers who shivered in the shadow of the great Bob Dylan.

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1 comment:

The People's Press said...

More info on Ochs available here.