Phil Ochs' irony and wit

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Sharon
Phil Ochs' irony and wit

 

Sharon

quote:


“A protest song is a song that is so specific that you cannot mistake it for bullshit,” wrote Phil Ochs on the liner notes of his album, The Broadside Tapes. Since his death, small bands of admirers have consistently carried the torch at various folk clubs, festivals, through websites and — uniquely — by way of one resilient little Canadian play that has been touring the country for the past 15 years.

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/arts_media.shtml?sh_itm=81fc5d77d64711f2de8caa96da9... Full story [/url]

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Count me among that "small bands of admirers". And Josh Joplin, the amazing and underrated Micheal-Stipe-soundalike, wrote a song about Ochs that went a little something like this

quote:

Artist: Josh Joplin Group
Song Title: Phil Ochs
Album: Useful Music (1999)

I've seen the death of rock and roll.
and i am living proof
that no one here can dig a hole
and not find the truth
Phil you are not gone (3x)
And though the posterchild tries
he won't survive the scorn
he is killed with compromise
in the tube where he was born
Phil you are not gone (3x)
50 fans can't be wrong (3x)
or can they, can they....can they, can they?

our surveys say, this is what they want today.
our surveys say all they want is Sugar Ray
Phil you can't be killed (3x)
50 fans can't be wrong (3x)
or can they, can they....can they, can they?

we are what we've always been
ready, here we go
wait for the signal to begin
and you're on the radio
Phil you are not gone.(3x)
50 fans can't be wrong. (3x)
or can they? (spoken)

I've seen the death of rock and roll.
and i am living proof
that no one here can dig a hole
and not find the truth
Phil you are not gone (3x)
And though the posterchild tries
he won't survive the scorn
he is killed with compromise
in the tube where he was born
Phil you are not gone (3x)
50 fans can't be wrong (3x)
or can they, can they....can they, can they?

our surveys say, this is what they want today.
our surveys say all they want is Sugar Ray
Phil you can't be killed (3x)
50 fans can't be wrong (3x)
or can they, can they....can they, can they?

we are what we've always been
ready, here we go
wait for the signal to begin
and you're on the radio
Phil you are not gone.(3x)
50 fans can't be wrong. (3x)
or can they? (spoken)


swirrlygrrl

Wonder if its playing near me anytime soon.

Funny enough, my first exposure to Phil Ochs came from Hilary and Chelsea Clinton - they sang some of his songs, I believe in Africa, at some event when I was 15 or so, and I got curious. I guess there's one Clinton legacy I'm grateful for.

Sharon

quote:


This month and next he will be appearing at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, The Winterfolk Festival in Toronto and the Staircase Cafй in Hamilton (February 6 and 7th).

I took this out of the story because I didn't have enough details about the performances -- but I expect they wouldn't be hard to find.

Godot

Billy Bragg also sings a song in tribute to Phil Ochs. It is sung to the tune of "I dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night". And, interestingly enough, Phil Ochs had a song called "Joe Hill"

I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night Lyrics

I dreamed I saw Phil Ochs last night
Alive as you and me
Says I to Phil "You're ten years dead"
"I never died" says he
"I never died" says he

The music business killed you Phil
They ignored the things you said
And cast you out when fashions changed
Says Phil "But I ain't dead"
Says Phil "But I ain't dead"

The FBI harassed you Phil
They smeared you with their lies
Says he "But they could never kill
What they could not compromise
I never compromised"

"Though fashion's changed and critics sneered
The songs that I have sung
Are just as true tonight as then
The struggle carries on
The struggle carries on"

With the song of freedom rings out loud
From valleys and from hills
Where people stand up for their rights
Phil Ochs is with us still
Phil Ochs inspires us still

Words: Billy Bragg Music: Earl Robinson

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

John Wesley Harding dedicated his first studio album, "Here Comes The Groom" to "Phil Ochs: Masculine American Man". It features the following song

quote:

[b]Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Steve Goodman, David Blue And Me[/b]

At night, he sits alone and he's looking at the stars
He listens to them playing guitars
Him and Phil go back a long long way
They talked about marching and dying all in one day
They played songs together, they sit up past the dawn
I wonder why this dream goes on

You know Bob was there last week as well
He's a quiet guy but he's got stories to tell
Our hero sits and listens without asking why
And teaches Bob A minor with a glint in his eye
Bob used it on Hollis Brown, but that was sometime ago
When is this dream gonna stop? Heaven knows

Then our hero picks up his guitar
To play them the only tune he knows
He played it to me once
He said 'Wes, it's short, but this is how it goes…'
And then he sings

'This is the only thing that really matters
Keeps me going, retains my sanity
The nights I spend alone when there's just
Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Steve Goodman, David Blue and me

Stevie died and David died
But only to the papers that live outside
Last Thursday they were in the room where he sits
The three of them making jokes about the meager obits
Steve and David smiled and they left quite soon
He wonders about that dream as he looks at the stars and the moon

Sometimes he has a party for him and the crew
They turn up on time just cos they always do
And Phil plays I Ain't Marching, it's his favorite song
And Bob plays harmonica but he plays it all wrong
And Steve harmonizes like he did with John Prine
David just sits and looks blue all the time

Then the time comes round again
They all sit and listen to our hero playing
He says 'You've heard it all before'
But they like it so they shout 'encore'
And then he sings, it's a dream come true

'This is the only thing that really matters
Keeps me going, retains my sanity
The nights I spend alone when there's just
Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Steve Goodman, David Blue and me
And me
Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Steve Goodman, David Blue and me


One of the true measures of an artist is how other artists view his/her work. Clearly Phil Ochs has left a legacy.

BTW, there is a Phil Ochs tribute CD, called [url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&uid=UIDMISS70401061314390996&sq...'s This I Hear?[/url] Unfortunately, I've never been able to find it in stores (damnit). A lovely cover of "When I'm Gone" is featured on Ani Difranco's "Swing Set" EP.

[ 28 January 2004: Message edited by: Scott Piatkowski ]

lagatta

That is a lovely tribute.

A lot of us from the period of 60s-early 70s radicalism (it lasted a bit longer here than in the States, at least in Quйbec) became very much lost souls with the swing to the right and the implosion of many left groups and social movements. I knew quite a few who fell prey to various forms of deep despair. We all did to some extent.

There is a new movement now struggling to be born, sometimes I can't help but feel it is too late for radicals of my generation to really get on board.

ValleyGirl

I have been a Phil fan since I was a little girl in the 60's.It does my heart good to know there is a new fan base.Perhaps 50 Phil fans can't be wrong.YAY!

Performance Anxiety

Great to hear that the play is revived!!! Just please, don't bring it to another [url=http://www.travestytheatre.com/reclaimthefringe.html]"Fringe" Festival[/url] - that would pollute through association what sounds like a fine performance.

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Meow

I'm going to go see this play on Friday or Saturday. I'll let you all know what I think!

jrose

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/whats_up_details.shtml?x=73073]I Ain't Marchin' Anymore[/url]

quote:

"I ain't marching anymore"

When: Thursday, 24 July 2008 (8 p.m.)
Where: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
252 Bloor Street West
Toronto ON
Contact: Socialist Action
tel: 416-535-8779
barryaw@rogers.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Details: "I ain't marching anymore"
An evening with Phil Ochs featuring Zachary Stevenson.

During the intermission: a speaker from the War Resisters' Support Campaign.

Tickets at the door: $20 waged / $10 non-waged

This event is sponsored by: Socialist Action


martin dufresne
jrose

Great song, and you're right, unfortunately true as ever.