Phil Ochs Remembered   2 comments

It is heartening to have the world…or a small piece of it, anyway…affirm your values.

Phil Ochs was the archetype of what I aspire to be.  His wit, irony, wordplay, empathy, and passion combined to make him the perfect journalist-editorialist of his time…of any time, really.

Now, with the film “There But for Fortune,” Phil’s contributions and place in history will be documented and presented to a whole new generation who look back at the 60’s and see Dylan, the Beatles, the Stones….

Perhaps if Phil’s mental distress had not short-circuited his creativity and prematurely ended his life, Phil would today have the cultural status of the others.  We’ll never know.  What we do know, is that he was a brilliant poet and composer.  His lyrics and music always fit together to create a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.

This week I tried to remember the earliest Phil songs I had learned…and the order in which I learned them.  Then I tried to play them…with mixed success.

This is what I came up with:

“The Ballad of Medgar Evers”

“Power & Glory”

“I’m Gonna Say it Now”

“I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore”

“Is There Anybody Here?”

“There But for Fortune”

“Small Circle of Friends”

“The Party”

“What Are You Fighting For?

“Remember Me”

The list is incomplete…as I was writing it…pieces of lyrics…patches of melody…passed through my brain.  But I will go with these for now.

How about you?  Which were the earliest Phil Ochs songs you learned?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Posted December 5, 2010 by garykanter in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Phil Ochs Remembered

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  1. I was at a concert with Phil Ochs (and Malvina Reynolds) in a church basement, in Queens (NYC) — it was, if memory serves, the night after JFK was assassinated. The concert had been arranged beforehand, and was not canceled. He sang a song he’d written right after the killing, and I would love to find it. Do you know what song that would be? No, it’s not Martyrs, because this was before either MLK Jr or Robt Kennedy were killed… If you know the song, please send me an email (thanks!)

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