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Fri Apr 6, 2012, 03:46 PM

DU Album of the Day: "Chords of Fame" Phil Ochs (compilation album)

Wow, what didn't he write about? Quite possibly the greatest troubadour you've never (or barely) heard about, Phil Ochs was born in Texas, went to military school in Virginia, college in Ohio, and killed himself on April 9, 1976 in Far Rockaway, New York. That's probably as much as anyone nowadays would want to remember of a clear-voiced man who didn't buy the bullshit.

But the songs. Oh, the songs are another story. And this compilation album covers most of the best stuff, the anti-war songs, the anti-government songs, the warnings about just accepting the official story. But lest you think Ochs' output was all negative, give a good, close listen to "Changes," "Jim Dean of Indiana," and "The Flower Lady." Here is the heart of a poet, and in "The Power and the Glory," a true patriot who sees a vision of his country that could be, should be, might still be, better. "It's the best we could do" was always an excuse, never an explanation for Ochs.

Musically speaking, Ochs' songs aren't all that much to talk about, and quite often they improve in the hands of more gifted and knowledgable musicians. But the lyrics are some of the best. Whether downright nasty toward authoritarians ("Here's to the State of Richard Nixon), "laughing at the lies" ("When I'm Gone") or playfully, wittily tweaking the nose of a natural ally ("Love Me, I'm a Liberal"), Ochs gave as good as he ever got, and didn't back down an inch. He wanted the giant to be aware that someone was pulling at his leg ("Crucifixion").

I Ain't Marchin' Anymore (Electric) (2:47)
One More Parade (3:00)
Draft Dodger Rag (2:07)
Here's to the State of Richard Nixon (2:19)
The Bells (3:00)
Bound For Glory (3:15)
Too Many Martyrs (2:46)
There but for Fortune (2:35)
I Going To Say It Now (2:46)
The Marines Have Landed on the Shores of Santo Domingo (3:48)
Changes (4:30)
Is There Anybody Here? (3:17)
Love Me, I'm a Liberal (3:46)
When I'm Gone (3:51)
Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends (3:41)
Pleasures of the Harbor (4:59) (Live from Gunfight At Carnegie Hall)
Tape From California (3:39) (Live from Gunfight At Carnegie Hall)
Chords Of Fame (3:32)
Crucifixion (live) (7:40)
The War Is Over (4:25)
Jim Dean Of Indiana (5:02)
The Power And The Glory (2:21)
Flower Lady (6:06)
No More Songs (4:33)

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Reply DU Album of the Day: "Chords of Fame" Phil Ochs (compilation album) (Original post)
gratuitous Apr 2012 OP
Doc_Technical Apr 2012 #1
abq e streeter Apr 2012 #2

Response to gratuitous (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 06:09 PM

1. In response to this thread

and another about cover songs,
I offer this cover (there are others on youtube)
of Phil Ochs song "No More Songs."

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Response to gratuitous (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:25 PM

2. I remember Ochs very well. Saw him in the winter of 68/69 too...

Saw an excellent documentary on him called There But For Fortune ...last year, I think (year before?)
When I saw him back then , he did his usual political folk stuff the first half of the show, then came back after intermission in a gold lame jumpsuit and announced that he'd been killed at the Democratic convention the previous summer, but that God had told him that since humanity was about finished anyway, he could come back for the little time we all had left, and that further, he could come back as anyone he wanted. He said he told God he wanted to come back as Elvis, and he and his band played nothing but 50's rock and roll from that point on.It was a great night. Afterward, he and his band came to a party (in a house just off campus of the small college where this took place). I and some friends ..um..."hashed" things out with his band, but did not meet Ochs, who sat in a corner by himself drinking wine and wrapping and unwrapping some gauze or something around his hand, which he'd apparently smashed through a glass ticket booth in NY recently (I think that was the story; it's a LONG time ago).
A brilliant, troubled man.

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