Thursday, 30 December 2010

An Interview with Peter, Paul and Mary

February 10, 1969

Lantern Staff Writer

Peter, Paul and Mary are three, yet one; they have individuality, yet unity. It shows in their music--as those who attended the group's Friday night concert at St. John Arena will attest--and it shows in their talk.

Paul described the group as "three individuals who get along precisely."

"Peter, Paul and Mary is our life," he said, "or at least seven eights of it. Everything else is peripheral.

"Even when Peter was working on the film 'You Are What You Eat' he was Peter, Paul and Mary first."

Mary explained that the group's unity results, in part, from "the common ethical base we share and express in our music."

"We all may not agree on an issue initially, but we talk it out among ourselves," she said.

The ethical base for their music is what has held the group together for the nine years they have been performing, she said.

"It is impossible to say whether we are musicians or social commentators first," she went on. "It is very tied up together with us."

The ethical base also "keeps our music from going stale," she said. "Take a song like 'Blowin' in the Wind,' which is sort of our national anthem. A song like that means so much you don't get tired of it. It means something different with different concerts."

She explained, "When we sang it in the march on Washington the second verse, concerned with civil rights, was the most important. When we performed at a Hiroshima hospital, however, the last anti-war verse held all the meaning."

Mary said that the group's feelings are not expressed in just protest songs or Bob Dylan tunes. "Part of what we believe is expressed in simple, straightforward songs that say something very true about life."

When deciding what to sing from their large repertoire at a given concert, the group does not try to "psych out" the audience, Mary said. "It's not our duty to do that, and besides that's a dangerous game to play."

"You have to sing what you think is right, what you want to sing," she said.

The group once walked off a show where the sponsor tried to tell them what to sing. "A musician must be true to himself and not let some businessman dictate what can be sung," she said.

"Students in state universities have much the same problem," she said. "You have businessmen trying to tell educators and students how to educate, how to run educational institutions."

Mary said she could understand student unrest, but added that she felt the radical left was "really messing itself up."

"The system in our nation is not the best, but it can be changed. Anarchy won't change it, however," she said. "Anarchy will only lead to further repression.

"People who want social change can have it if they are willing to work for it. We've worked hard these nine years for that--and we are going to keep right on doing so."

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Phil Ochs' "All the News That's Fit to Sing" to be Reissued on Vinyl in 2011

Scheduled for release on January 11, 2011 is a vinyl reissue of Phil Ochs' debut LP All the News That's Fit to Sing. This follows the reissue of I Ain't Marching Anymore which occurred in 2010.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Phil Ochs in the News

Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune - Film Review
Time Out New York
One of the ’60s best folk troubadours gets his due.

Q&A with Ann Powers on 'Best Music Writing 2010'
Seattle Times
Andrew Matson: In the article "Phil Ochs' Greatest Hits" (self-published in the zine Get Well), writer Chris Estey goes track by track through Americana ...

Phil Ochs film opens January 5th
Flocked Media
PHIL OCHS: There But For Fortune,” the new film about the iconic folk music hero of the 1960s, has U.S. Theatrical Premiere...

Monday, 27 December 2010

Phil Ochs in the News: Tracing the Arc of a Tragic Folk Singer

Tracing the Arc of a Tragic Folk Singer
New York Times
IF Kenneth Bowser, a New York documentary filmmaker, succeeds in his crusade to rehabilitate the 1960s protest singer Phil Ochs, he'll have his ...

Saturday, 25 December 2010

"God save us all, Phil Ochs"

Autograph obtained in Montreal at the Salle Claude Champagne on October 22, 1966.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Woody Guthrie Wake

October 10, 1967

". . . I shall not murder the mankind of her going with a grave truth . . ." -- Dylan Thomas. "A Refusal To Mourn the Death, By Fire, of a Child in London"


According to Webster, a wake is "a watch kept at night, or a vigil, as for some ritual purpose; especially, an all-night vigil over a corpse before burial . . ." Among my Celtic forebearers, the wake was such, with the hag-women keening the caoine, the lament for the dead, while the other women would do their private weeping in some back room of the house which allowed the men of the clan to dance to the fiddle and the bagpipe about the coryse with drink, food, and tobacco.

But Woody Guthrie was a folk-singer, a balladeer, and a writer of songs and an American, though his fathers' fathers wore the kilt and knew well the taste of the claymore.

His clan in Columbus gathered in a corner of Tuttle Field on Saturday's grey grim afternoon on the green grass amongst the smells of rain to come and the autumn forest of the park. Of the few that came, some were bearded and some were not; some wore the psychedelic uniform and some did not. They came in cars, on bicycles, on foot, and one on a motorcycle. With the prodding of two guitars and an African drum, a few sang those songs of his that they knew. They did not know all the words to some of the songs that sang of life sometimes bitterly, sometimes sadly, and sometimes joyously.

It was not a sad time, for their clan is not much on sadness, which is a very human trait. They smoked and laughed and ate apples while they sang. It was a gentle thing, not boisterous, not bawdy, but comfortable feeling. They talked of other things like the march on Washington, the possibilities of establishing a Digger community in Columbus, and private things, each to each.

As they had gathered, they departed, like leaves blown across the field by the fall wind in some natural, instinctual pattern. As do all clans, they exorcised the dreaded spirit of their dead with their own gentle, loving rites to pick up the string of life again with only a burr of a knot in its length.

It was the way that Woody, if it was possible for him to have any say in the matter, would have liked it to be.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune Documentary Film - 2011 Screenings

New York, NY IFC Center Opens January 5, 2011
Portland, OR Northwest Film Center January 9, 2011
Hudson, NY Time & Space LTD January 14 - 16, 22-23, 2011
Dallas, TX Texas Theatre January 28 - February 3, 2011
Hudson, NY Time & Space LTD February 4 - 6 & 10, 2011
Lake Worth, FL Lake Worth Playhouse February 4 - 10, 2011
Brooklyn, NY indieScreen February 4 - 10, 2011
Wellfleet, MA Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater February 4 & 20, 2011
Detroit, MI Detroit Film Theatre February 5, 2011
Albuquerque, NM Guild Cinema February 8 - 10, 2011
Wilmington, DE Theatre N February 11 - 13, 2011
Lacrosse, WI Rivoli Theatre February 11 - 17, 2011
Jackson, MS Mississippi Film Institute February 18 - 19, 2011
Columbus, OH Gateway Film Center February 18 - 24, 2011
Toronto, ON Bloor Cinema February 18 - 24, 2011
Coral Gables, FL Coral Gables Art Cinema February 18 - 24, 2011
Austin, TX Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar February 21 & March 2, 2011
Chicago, IL Gene Siskel Film Center February 25 - March 3, 2011
Edmonton, AB Metro Cinema Society February 26 & 28, 2011
Tucson, AZ Loft Cinema March 2, 2011
Portland, ME The Movies at the Museum March 4 - 6, 2011
Santa Monica, CA Laemmle Monica 4 March 4 - 10, 2011
Denver, CO Denver FilmCenter/Colfax March 4 - 10, 2011
Pittsburgh, PA Harris Theater March 4 - 10, 2011
Pasadena, CA Laemmle Playhouse March 4 - 10, 2011
Encino, CA Laemmle Town Center March 4 - 10, 2011
Claremont, CA Laemmle Claremont March 5 - 6, 2011
Deal Park, NJ Axelrod Performing Arts Center March 7, 2011
Asbury Park, NJ The Showroom March 9 - 13, 2011
Bloomington, IN Ryder Film Series March 10 - 13 & 19 - 20, 2011
Detroit, MI Detroit Film Theatre March 11, 2011
Telluride, CO Palm Theatre March 11, 2011
Seattle, WA Northwest Film Forum March 11 - 13, 2011
Washington DC West End Cinema March 11 - 17, 2011
Santa Fe, NM The Screen March 11 - 17, 2011
Lake Worth, FL Lake Worth Playhouse March 11 - 17, 2011
Brookline, MA Coolidge Corner Theatre March 11 - 31, 2011
Spokane, WA Bing Crosby Theater March 13, 2011
Nashville, TN Belcourt Theatre March 15 - 17, 2011
Toronto, ON Bloor Cinema March 18 - 20 & 22 - 23, 2011
Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Theater March 18 & 21, 2011
San Francisco, CA Balboa Theater March 18 - 24, 2011
Berkeley, CA Rialto Elmwood March 18 - 24, 2011
San Rafael, CA Smith Rafael Film Center March 18 - 24, 2011
Santa Cruz, CA Nickelodeon Theatre March 18 - 24, 2011
Hartford, CT Real Art Ways March 18 - 24, 2011
Amherst, MA Amherst Cinema March 18 - 24, 2011
San Jose, CA Camera 3 March 18 - 24, 2011
Montpelier, VT Green Mountain Film Festival March 18 - 27, 2011
Albuquerque, NM Guild Cinema March 21 - 24, 2011
Grand Rapids, MI Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts March 25, 2011
Tallahassee, FL Tallahassee Film Society March 25 - 27, 2011
Ft. Lauderdale, FL Cinema Paradiso March 25 - 27 & 29, 2011
Lincoln, NE Ross Media Arts Center March 25 - 31, 2011
Waterville, ME Railroad Square Cinema March 25 - 31, 2011
Overland Park, KS Glenwood Arts Theatre March 25 - 31, 2011
Narrowsburg, NY Tusten Theatre March 26, 2011
Long Beach, CA Found Theatre March 26-27, 2011
Santa Rosa, CA 6th Street Playhouse March 29, 2011
Milwaukee, WI Times Cinema April 1 - 7, 2011
San Diego, CA Gaslamp Cinema April 1 - 7, 2011
Provincetown, MA Whaler's Wharf Cinema April 1 - 7, 2011
San Luis Obispo, CA Palm Theatre April 1 - 7, 2011
Fort Collins, CO Lyric Theatre April 1 - 7, 2011
St. Johnsbury, VT Green Mountain Film Festival April 2 - 3, 2011
Huntington, NY Cinema Arts Centre April 6 & 7, 2011
Durham, NC Carolina Theatre April 8 - 13, 2011
Yellow Springs, OH Little Art Theatre April 8 - 14, 2011
Washington, DC Avalon Theatre April 8 - 14, 2011
Norfolk, VA Naro Cinema April 10, 2011
Anchorage, AK Bear Tooth Theatre April 11, 2011
Minneapolis, MN Minneapolis Film Festival April 14 - May 5, 2011
Cleveland, OH Cleveland Museum of Art April 15 & 17, 2011
Sacramento, CA Crest Theatre April 15 - 21, 2011
New Orleans, LA Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center April 16, 2011
Nevada City, CA Nevada Theatre April 17, 2011
Middleburgh, NY Middleburgh Library April 20, 2011
Bellingham, WA Pickford Film Center April 20 & 23 - 24, 2011
St. Pete’s, FL Beach Theatre April 29, 2011
Portland, OR Northwest Film Center April 29 - 30 & May 1, 2011
Rhinebeck, NY Upstate Films April 30 & May 1 - 2, 2011
Savannah, GA Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah May 1, 2011
Seaside, CA Cal State University - Montery Bay May 2, 2011
Eugene, OR Bijou Theatre May 2 - 8, 2011
Wolfville, NS Fundy Film Society May 4, 2011
Bryn Mawr, PA Bryn Mawr Film Institute May 4, 2011
Rochester, NY Little Theatre May 4, 2011
Courtenay, BC World Community Film Festival May 5, 2011
Pelham, NY The Picture House May 6 - 8, 2011
Madison, WI Sundance Cinemas May 6 - 12, 2011
Vancouver, BC DOXA Documentary Film Festival May 13 & 15, 2011
Portland, OR Hollywood Theatre May 13 - 19, 2011
Bryn Mawr, PA Bryn Mawr Film Institute May 14, 2011
Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg Film Group May 20 - 22 & 25, 2011
Schenectady, NY Proctors Theatre May 22, 2011
Chicago, IL Gene Siskel Film Center May 27 - June 2, 2011
Bar Harbor, ME Criterion Theatre May 31 - June 5, 2011
Boulder, CO Boedecker Theater June 1 - 4, 2011
Phoeniz, AZ FilmBar June 2 - 14, 2011
Jackson, WY Jackson Hole Center for the Arts June 3, 2011
Tulsa, OK Circle Cinema June 3 - 9, 2011
Saratoga, NY Saratoga Film Forum June 9, 2011
Ottawa, ON Ottawa Folk Festival June 14, 2011
Ithaca, NY Cornell Cinema June 19 - 21, 2011
San Francisco, CA Red Vic Movie House June 26 - 28, 2011
Houston, TX Museum of Fine Arts June 30 - July 4, 2011
Pleasantville, NY Jacob Burns Film Center July 5, 2011
Cleveland, OH Cleveland Museum of Art July 13, 2011
Memphis, TN Memphis Brooks Museum of Art July 17, 2011
Vancouver, BC Pacific Cinematheque July 29 - August 3, 2011
Indian Lake, NY Indian Lake Theater October 14 -15, 2011

Filmmaker Ken Bowser directed the documentary Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune, which premiered at the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock, New York. The film features interviews with Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Tom Hayden, Christopher Hitchens, Sean Penn, Ed Sanders, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, and more.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Limelight 1966

By Suze Rotolo

I last saw Phil toward the end of 1966, when I ran into him at the Limelight one night before I left New York for Italy again. He was drinking a lot by then and he was bloated and disheveled, volatile and dark.

Phil began telling me a long, convoluted tale that made no sense. He laughed and cried and his manner frightened me. I tried to act as if nothing was wrong with his behavior or appearance. I gave him my address in Italy and half begged him to get away, take a long break, and come visit me. Phil Ochs had a good career and people who loved him but the demons he struggled with eventually engulfed and over-powered him. He committed suicide in 1976 at the age of thirty-six [sic - 35].

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune Documentary Film Reviews and Apple Trailer

'Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune,' a great documentary about an underappreciated folk singer
Entertainment Weekly
by Simon Vozick-Levinson
The story told by the new documentary Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune is a very sad one, no question about it...

New Film About The Iconic Folk Singer Phil Ochs
World Music Central
Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune is a new film by acclaimed filmmaker Kenneth Bowser (Easy Riders, Raging Bulls & Live From New ...

Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune (iTunes Movie Trailers)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

MOBE Organizing Mock Inauguration

January 15, 1969

Lantern Staff Writer

Between 100 and 150 Ohio State students and Columbus residents are expected to travel to Washington D.C. this weekend for a counter inauguration, according to George Vargo, Education-4 and a National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) volunteer. MOBE is sponsoring the counter-inauguration to protest the inauguration of President-elect Richard Nixon.

Buses will be provided for transportation, Vargo said. The buses will leave the University area on 10 p.m. Friday and will depart from Washington at 10 p.m. Sunday. Round trip tickets will cost $16.

Those interested in buses or more information should call The Ohio Peace Action Council at 299-3223, Vargo said.

Ohio Headquarters

Ohioians may stay at the Ohio Movement Center at Brightwood Park Methodist Church, 8 Jefferson, NW, where they will be able to eat and sleep. Most people are bringing sleeping bags and blankets, Vargo said. Food will be distributed at the church.

Workshops on militarism, imperialism, racism and women's liberation are scheduled for Saturday at Federal City College, Vargo said.

'Political Confrontation'

A counter-inaugural parade which will seek "a political, not a physical confrontation" with the Administration is planned for Sunday.

Demonstrations will include a counter-inauguration and a counter-state-of-the-union message and will precede a counter-inaugural ball.

The counter-inaugural ball will be held in a tent behind the White House and will feature Janis Joplin, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs and the Fugs.

On Monday an "organized presence" of the MOBE movement will be formed along the inaugural parade route, Vargo said. A guerrilla theatre will perform skits during the time the parade is marching.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

McCarthy Shifts Sights From Kids to Delegates

August 8, 1968

Lantern Staff Writer

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tom Lindeman flew to Wisconsin in April to cover the state Democratic Primary. Today he compares his impressions with the Columbus McCarthy appearance.

While tired Hubert Humphrey fished for pike at Lake Waverly, Minn., Gene McCarthy cast his line in Columbus.

Despite his come-from-behind approach, which requires politicking every minute, McCarthy still looked refrigerated in his cool summer suit, sky blue shirt, stripped tie and sun tan.

The Minnesota Senator is surely weary by now, but his pace seems to have increased since the early days of stumping in New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

His campaigning in early April was dubbed the "Children's Crusade," a phrase his professional advisers have dropped lately. Several things have changed with Senator McCarthy.

Earlier it was strictly "Be clean for Gene" when representing the ex-professor. The most frequent complaint by youthful campaigners in Wisconsin was voiced against a poster in the headquarters declaring "Haircuts Recommended."

Wednesday, as the crowd waited in front of the State House, it was entertained by a hippy-type band, unshorn, in mod sun glasses and dress.

Before the candidate arrived on the steps of Ohio's highest political chambers, folk singer Phil Ochs, a former Ohio State student, drew applause from the early young crowd when he labeled most political office-holders "dishonest, except (New Orleans District Attorney) Jim Garrison."

The applause was longer and louder when he sang an antiwar song called "We Ain't Marchin." The words vibrated between two World War I Doughboy statues flanking the speaker's platform. The inscription on one of the statues reads "The republic is secure so long as we continue to honor the memory of its defenders."

The performers and performance seemed out of place in a campaign even as off beat as McCarthy's. Perhaps Columbus Advance Man Tony Podesta missed a cue. At any rate, when the Senator arrived he steered clear of the entertainers.

McCarthy, himself, still has his quiet demeanor. He was extra serious, interjecting little of his popular humor. Fighting the GOP for headlines this week is hardly fun.

The candidate, once a continuous speaker, punctuated his speech Wednesday with silence. The lunch hour crowd politely applauded each pause.

In the beginning, Senator McCarthy was laughed off as the Democrat's answer to Harold Stassen. Although the Senator proved his critics wrong in New Hampshire, he is still considered a maverick by the Democratic hierarchy.

And so the entire candidacy of Senator Eugene J. McCarthy these final days must shift to fishing for people like those in the Neil House, conventional people, delegates.

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune Documentary Film Trailer

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Phil Ochs, James Taylor & Joni Mitchell: Amchitka CD - James Taylor Interview

Features photos and audio from the Greenpeace concert in 1970 and an interview with James Taylor.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

McCarthy to Make State House Speech

August 6, 1968

Presidential hopeful Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy will speak Wednesday at the High Street entrance to the State House.

The Democratic Senator will arrive at Port Columbus at 11:45 a.m. and motorcade downtown.

Folk singer Phil Ochs and the Dave Workman Blues Band will entertain at the State House prior to McCarthy's arrival.

Extra bus service will be provided from campus to the State House. A bus will leave the Ohio Union at 10:30 a.m.

Campus McCarthy backers will hold a poster paint-in on the Oval today from noon to 4 p.m.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Intimacy Underlines Phil Ochs' Concert

April 22, 1968

Phil Ochs, in concert at the Hartman Theatre Friday April 19.

Arts and Entertainment Editor

The gymnasium-like Hartman Theatre is certainly several notches below "intimate" in atmosphere and those cramped seats force long-legged critics into the fetal position. But Folksinger Phil Ochs turned the place into a coffee house Friday night.

Ochs, who looks like he would be a waiter at Larry's Bar on High Street, did more than sing; he almost entered into a dialogue with the audience, such was the strength of the rapport he built.

A former Ohio State journalism student turned success, Ochs possesses a voice tinged with a hard-edged lyricism. His protest songs are disparaging but never dirge-like; they push home their point by emphasizing absurdities. In "I Ain't a 'Marchin' Anymore," Ochs sings: "It's always the old who lead us to the war; it's always the young who fall."

"Draft Dodger's Rag," a wry commentary on the art of evading Gen. Louis Hershey's grasping organization, crackled at the hands of its composer as did the poignant "There But For Fortune," familiar to Judy Collins fans.

"Some of the songs I wrote have more meaning today than when I wrote them," Ochs said, launching himself into "I've Got Something To Say Sir; I'm Gonna Say It Now." He could have been speaking about the subject of any Administration Building demonstration at Ohio State as his song struck out at depersonalization on a modern campus.

Long were his ballads but never boring. Ochs converted Alfred Noyes' poem "The Highwayman," into that form and the result was more than pleasant.

Indeed, the concert was superior.

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune - Documentary Update

Trailer for Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune (New York Times)

Oscar doc contender -- 'Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune' (Gold Derby)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Phil Ochs: Hartman Theatre Concert Ad (1968)

Lantern Staff Writer

FRIDAY--Folksinger Phil Ochs, an Ohio State dropout who made good, will appear at the Hartman Theatre at 8:30 p.m. This former journalism student is the writer of songs recorded by Pete Seeger, Glen Yarborough, Judy Collins and Joan Baez (most notable: "There but for Fortune").

Tickets for Ochs' concert are on sale at the Hartman Theatre box office, Sears stores, the University Music House and the Ohio Union 326.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Most of Marchers Were Students

They Gathered; They Protested; They Spent Night in Central Park

April 17, 1967

NEW YORK, N.Y.--No matter how you looked at it, the students -- the high school and college students -- made up the hard core of peace marchers here on Saturday.

The students were the ones who illegally slept in Central Park the night before the march--the students were the ones who were most enthusiastic about the march, even though some of them had traveled hundreds of tiring miles in cars and buses.

Some of the student marchers were bearded and wore levis and sandals, others wore suits and ties. There were the "hippies" who seemed to be mostly of high school age. And there were the girls in mini skirts.

Students Carry Signs

Almost all of the students carried signs protesting the war in Vietnam, signs which read: "Like Eichmann, Like McNamara;" "Stop the Bombing and the Lies, Negotiate With NFL;" "Wipe Out Poverty, Not People."

And, all of the students seemed to have an opinion on the war. Lauranne Biribauer, an Ohio State coed, said she had hitch-hiked to the march. "I'm here to demonstrate and help to show other people that there are a lot of people involved in this peace march and the ideas for peace."

Kenneth Brossman from Ohio State said, "We're here to try to express our feelings about the war in Vietnam; to let the world know that many, many people in the United States are against the policy of the United States in Vietnam."

One coed from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Ann Taylor, said: "We're opposed to our boys over there fighting, dying. For what? We don't know. So we're here to get them out of there."

Others Demonstrate

Students did make up the hard core of the march, but there were also a goodly number of married couples, war veterans, matronly-looking ladies and housewives in the march.

Paul Green, wearing a Veterans for Peace in Vietnam cap, said, "As veterans we are the ones most concerned about bringing peace to the world and stopping the bombing of Vietnam." Green's words were echoed during the march by other veterans who chanted, "no more veterans."

One of the most colorful marchers was Mrs. Clara DeMehia, who was selling anti-war buttons. "I'm a grandmother and I have a grandson who is about to leave for Vietnam but he'd rather go to jail than go to Vietnam. I'm selling buttons because it behooves us to carry some symbol against the war."

Several times during the march the marchers were pelted with paint, eggs and flour by people in apartments along the march route. But other than that, and a few minor fist fights, the demonstrations was quite orderly.

Draft Cards Burn

Before the march started, about 12 marchers burned their draft cards in the march formation area. Others burned cards which were "symbolic" of their draft cards. The New York police did not arrest any of them.

Probably the most colorful and the most humble group of marchers were 30 Teton Sioux Indians from the Rosebud Reservation in Winner, S.D. One of the Sioux, Johnny Walking Crow, said, "I sure hope there will be peace in Vietnam because there's a lot of our Indian boys out there in the war and we'd sure like to have them back."

The marcher most commented about was undoubtedly the Marine veteran, in full dress blues, who carried the American flag at the head of the march. Most abuse from the march watchers was directed at him.

One man in the crowd said, "Death to that Marine. Shoot that Marine. Death, death to the Marine. He's a traitor, a traitor to the country."

Through the entire march, the Marine carried the flag at the head of the parade, never missing a step and never once looking at the marchers. His eyes were directed to the American flag which he proudly carried.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Vietnam War Protestors Mass at U.N.

Phil Ochs, former Ohio State student, entertained the marchers with anti-war and anti-draft songs.By DONNA J. PLESH
Lantern Staff Writer

April 17, 1967

NEW YORK, N.Y.--An estimated 100,000 to 125,000 anti-war demonstrators marched through the streets of midtown Manhattan Saturday.

Then they gathered near the United Nations Building to hear speeches against U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, "I would like to urge students from colleges all over the nation to use this summer and coming summers educating and organizing communities across the nation against war.

"I would like to urge students to continue to pursue the path of alternative services and accept the role of conscientious objectors as many are doing."

Student Action Called For

Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, also called for more student action against the war.

"We must move our war to the high schools, and we must begin to organize anti-draft groups in the high schools," he said.

"Our position on the draft is very simple and crystal clear. Hell no, we ain't going," Carmichael said. He then led the crowd in the chant, "Hell no, we ain't going."

The New York Police Department estimate of the crowd was much lower than that of the Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, the group that organized the march. A spokesman for that group estimated the crowd at over 250,000.

OSU Students Gather

The marchers gathered for the demonstration early Saturday morning in the Sheeps Meadow area of Central Park. Members of the Spring Mobilization group had set up alphabetical divisions for those marching. An estimated 200 Ohio State students massed in section F with others from the Midwest.

The march was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., but was delayed until 12:15 p.m. by late arrivals.

Leading the marchers along the estimated two mile route were King, Dr. Benjamin Spock and singer Harry Belafonte. Carmichael led a group of marchers from Harlem who joined the main group in the midtown area.

At 1:15 p.m. the first group of marchers arrived in the United Nations Plaza area, where the speakers platform had been set up.

Crowd Is Entertained

Before the speeches started, and while thousands of other marchers were winding their way to the Plaza area, the crowd was entertained by a host of prominent folk singers including Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, The Freedom Singers and Peter Seeger.

Seeger led the crowd in a song which began, "One, two, three, four. Stop this lousy war."

Peter, of Peter, Paul and Mary, told the crowd, "The senators and congressmen should not stand in the halls. And I hope that they will not turn their heads or their eyes or close their ears to what's happening here."

Spock Voices Opposition

The first speaker, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Cleveland baby doctor, said, "We oppose this war because we love our country. We oppose this war because we believe this war is damaging our country in every way. America is now scorned and hated by millions of people of its former a small helpless country."

But it was King's 35-minute speech that the crowd had been waiting to hear.

"I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America," he said. "I speak out not with anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart. And, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world."

At 5 p.m., a heavy rain began falling and some marchers began leaving. A few minutes later the speeches ended.

Mrs. King Speaks

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, another anti-war demonstration was still in progress.

An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people marched through downtown San Francisco to protest the war in Vietnam.

Later, San Francisco police estimated that 50,000 people gathered in Kezar Stadium to hear Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, who recently returned from a visit to North Vietnam, and State Rep. Julian Bond of Georgia, speak against U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune to be screened at Three Rivers Film Festival

From civil rights, to union strikes, to the anti-war movement, to political scandals, folk legend Phil Ochs (1940 – 1976) wrote songs about the issues of his day. Wielding only a battered guitar and a clear voice, he tirelessly fought for peace and justice throughout his short life. This inspiring tribute weaves together photos, film clips, historic live performances and interviews with an array of people influenced by Ochs, including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Tom Hayden and Sean Penn. By the time of his death, the FBI had a dossier on him that was 400 pages long. He might not have achieved the success he so desperately wanted, but his music lives on – reaching a new generation that finds it very relevant. (2010; 96 min)

Wed., Nov 17, 7:00 & Sat., Nov 20, 1:30 @ Melwood (477 Melwood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213)
Presented in collaboration with WYEP-FM.

Source: 29th Annual Three Rivers Film Festival 2010

Thursday, 21 October 2010

FSF Tells Rally Of Plan to Bring Aptheker in May

May 10, 1965

The Free Speech Front is resuming its protest of the Speakers' Rule with a plan that calls for the appearance of Herbert Aptheker on campus before the end of May.

As outlined by FSF spokesman Jeffrey Schwartz at Friday's rally on the Oval, the two-phase plan calls for continuous "token" picketing of the Administration Building. The picketing is scheduled to begin today and to last until the Board of Trustees meets Thursday.

Phase two, which Schwartz called "more an assurance than a proposal" is that "Herbert Aptheker will speak on this campus before the end of the month of May."

Aptheker, director of the American Institute for Marxist Studies, is scheduled to speak off campus tonight at the Students for Liberal Action meeting at the Campus Center, 121 E. 16th Ave. He has been banned from speaking on campus by the University administration.

Hopes Board Will Act

Schwartz said he hopes the Board of Trustees will make Aptheker's appearance on campus possible either at the meeting Thursday, or at a special May meeting.

"If the Board does not make this possible, it will be necessary to bring Aptheker on campus anyway," he added.

About 800 students at the rally gave a standing ovation when Schwartz made this announcement.

The students listened while Schwartz read telegrams and newspaper clippings supporting FSF and its move to abolish the Speakers' Rule.

Change Demanded

The FSF has demanded a change in the rule before the quarter's end. The trustees have said they will discuss the matter at the July meeting.

Previously, FSF has held two rallies on the Oval and two sit-ins in the Administration Building. The last sit-in lasted 22 hours.

In announcing the picketing, Schwartz said the protest must be resumed. "We must continue until the rule goes," he added.

The picketing, according to Schwartz, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and all night Wednesday until the trustees meet Thursday morning.

'Will Get Black Eye'

Schwartz said FSF had given "serious consideration" to the idea of bringing Aptheker on campus in spite of the administration's ban.

"The University will get a black eye if it has to happen this way," he said.

He explained that a national magazine was interested in covering Aptheker's appearance on campus, and urged ABC cameramen who were filming the rally to be present. Schwartz refused to speculate on the date of the Aptheker speech.

Three graduate students, Malcolm Griffiths, Gary Bower and Judd Landau also spoke to the crowd at Friday's rally, urging support for FSF and condemning the Speakers' Rule.

Phil Ochs, a folksinger and former Ohio State student, entertained at the rally with several songs.

Documentary Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune to be shown in NYC, January 2011

The documentary, directed by Ken Bowser, opens January 5, 2011 at IFC Center in New York City. For more information, see First Run Features or the official film website.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Dylan Pleases Audience

Backed-Up by Band

[Bob Dylan Live at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, Ohio, 8:30 p.m., November 19, 1965]

November 22, 1965


Bob Dylan came to town Friday night with a cold that made his voice rasp more than usual. Nevertheless, he pleased the youthful audience packed into Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

There were grade school children with braces on their teeth. There were high schoolers in tight denims wearing "Dylan caps." There were college students ranging from the far-out crowd with long hair and peace buttons to cool types in herringbone suits and vests.

She Wore a Mink

There was even one middle-aged couple. She wore a mink. He had distinguished-looking grey hair.

They all had come to hear the foremost musical spokesman of the younger generation.

When Dylan sang the songs he composes himself they listened respectfully. The instant he finished a song the vast auditorium resounded with applause.

Dylan began his concert with "She's Got Everything She Needs." He accompanied himself with a steady, driving guitar beat and occasional breaks on a howling, wailing harmonica.

Dylan doesn't really sing, but he does more than just recite his songs. His voice has little range, but he conveys a variety of feelings from the melancholy of "Baby Blue" to the bitter social commentary of "Desolation Row."

In "Desolation Row" Dylan blasts Alfred [sic] Einstein, priests, insurance salesmen and middle-men of all descriptions.

Ignores Audience

Dylan is a very self-contained performer. He concentrates on what he is doing and all but ignores his audience.

After nearly every song in the first half of the program he paused to retune his guitar. "My electric guitar never goes out of tune," he told the audience.

In keeping with his new image as a rock singer Dylan was backed up by a five-man band for the last half of his concert.

A grand piano, drums, an electric organ and two electric guitars make a lot of music for one singer to shout down, but Dylan did it, cold and all.

The sound of all those instruments amplified many times over through the huge speakers at Vets was almost deafening, but the audience seemed to like it.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

No Rally . . . But Teach-in Still On

May 5, 1965

The Free Speech Front (FSF) rally scheduled for today has been postponed until Friday, when New York folk-singer Phil Ochs, a former Ohio State student, will appear.

Ochs left the University in 1962 and since has recorded two Elektra albums and sung at the Newport Folk Festival.

Speakers at the rally will include two faculty members, two graduate students and two members of the FSF co-ordinating committee.

Jeffrey Schwartz, the group's spokesman, says an important announcement about future FSF plans will be made. Arrangements are being made to reserve the Oval for 4 p.m.

Schwartz said last night that "As of now we plan to take no direct action on Corps Day (Thursday) and urge others only to attend the teach-in at University Hall."

Six professors from the Arts and Education colleges will conduct the teach-in in the "best interests of the University" beginning at 10 a.m.

Volunteers for the project are Drs. Gordon Grigsby, English; Marvin Fox, philosophy; Bernard Mehl, education; Clayton Roberts, history; David Spitz, political science; David Kettler, political science.

Each will deliver a 45-minute lecture in the U Hall auditorium and then go to a classroom to discuss his topic with anyone interested.

FSF is sponsoring the teach-in as a channel for constructive criticism, an expression of serious student interest and an opportunity for closer faculty-student contact.

The schedule follows:

10, Grigsby, "Introduction: The Problems of the University."

11, Fox, "Student Responsibility."

12, Mehl, "Student Involvement Outside the Classroom."

1, Roberts, "Research vs. Teaching in a University."

2, Spitz, "The Dark Side of University Teaching."

3, Kettler, "Power, Reason and Absurdity: So What?"

Other faculty members are expected to join the informal post-lecture discussions.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Dylan Is a Changin'

November 12, 1965


"Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, And don't criticize what you can't understand. For your sons and your daughters are beyond your command - your old road is rapidly aging; Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand, For the times they are a changin'."

And so is Bob Dylan.

Dylan became popular at the crest of the folk music wave. His driving guitar, harmonica and Midwestern twang were reminiscent of Woody Guthrie.

He was adopted as a new prophet by the "hard core" folk music fans.

Today mention of his name draws varied reactions:
  • Shock and dismay from parents.
  • Cries of "fink" and "fraud" from former disciples because Dylan now plays electric guitar, piano and police siren in addition to his "pure" guitar and harmonica.
  • Shouts of "hosanna" from a rebellious generation.
  • Questioning stares of non-recognition from hermits who have heard no popular or topical singers for at least two years.
Dylan is the author of such provocative songs as "Blowin' in the Wind," "Don't Think Twice," "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Masters of War."

His songs are frequently performed by top rock groups such as The Beatles, the Byrds, Sonny and Cher and the Turtles.

Even Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Odetta have hit the Dylan trail. They occasionally devote large sections of an album to the poignant and bitter "art of Dylan" that has made him one of the most dynamic influences in contemporary music.

Bob Dylan will appear in concert at Veterans Memorial Auditorium Nov. 19 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Central Ticket Office, Sears Northland and Town and Country Shopping Center.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Phil Ochs / Dorweiler, Germany - Burg Waldeck Festival 1968

June 12-17, 1968

CD 1
1. Cops of the World
2. Flower Lady
3. Outside of a Small Circle of Friends
4. Changes
5. The War Is Over
6. I Ain't Marching Anymore
7. Power and the Glory
8. Cross My Heart
9. Rhythms of Revolution
10. I Ain't Marching Anymore
11. Joe Hill
12. Draft Dodger Rag
13. White Boots Marching in a Yellow Land
14. I'm Going to Say It Now
15. Crucifixion
16. Floods of Florence

CD 2
1. There But for Fortune
2. Is There Anybody Here
3. The Highwayman
4. Cops of the World
5. Flower Lady
6. Outside of a Small Circle of Friends
7. Changes
8. The War Is Over
9. I Ain't Marching Anymore
10. Power and the Glory

Set details from fredatwork:

Most likely recorded on analogue reel-to-reel tape (details unknown) by Wilfried Zahn (sound engineer at "Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv" - German Radio Archives - in Frankfurt).

Most likely 1st generation copy of original master tapes (destroyed in a fire at Burg Waldeck in 1977 where they had been kept) onto 18-cm reel-to-reel (19 cm per second), transfer by Juergen Kahle (unknown date prior to 1977).

Transfer to DAT (unknown date) by Stephan Roegner, transfer to CD-R (unknown date) by Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (German Radio Archives).

The 10-CD-compilation on Bear Family Records contains two Phil Ochs titles from the 1968 festival
- Cross My Heart
- Power and (the) Glory

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Phil Ochs in the News

  • Sing Out! celebrates 60 years of sharing folk music (
    Folk legends have shared their songs in the pages of Sing Out!, including Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs as well as more contemporary artists such as Nanci Griffith, Loudon Wainwright III and The Decemberists' Colin Meloy. Each issue since the beginning has included at least 15 songs, as well as music lessons.

  • Eric Andersen's Tales From The Road (Patch)
    Never as wildly surreal as Bob, nor as blatantly journalistic as his friend Phil Ochs, Andersen's best songs betray a spare, wry sensibility, while offering up gorgeously simple images of the natural world, women and, yep, the road. Along the way, famous fans fell under his spell.

  • [WFF Review] Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune (The Film Stage)
    Not unlike Alex Gibney’s Eliot Spitzer doc Client 9, Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune closely studies a public figure from rise to fall, the difference between the two works, of course, being the depth of each subject’s plunge. Spitzer resigned (and now has an adorable-looking anchor spot on CNN), Ochs committed suicide.

  • Festival vignettes, from Fright Night to Ochs (
    Ochs was once considered second to Bob Dylan in activist influence but some say has been relegated to a footnote because of his spiraling final days. Michael’s film rectifies that.

"You're all under arrest!"

On May 7, 1965, Phil Ochs returned to his alma mater, Ohio State University, for a free speech rally that happened to be filmed by ABC Scope.

Photo by Anderson

Caption: Folksinger Phil Ochs entertains at a rally sponsored by the Free Speech Front on the Oval. Jeffrey Schwartz, leader of the organization, looks on.

This is the footage as it appears in the documentary People's Century. The intro to this clip, where Ochs proclaims, "You're all under arrest! I sold out this morning," can be seen in the documentary Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Phil Ochs in the News

“When he was sane, before his psychosis overcame him, he showed an unswerving concern for the humanities,” Parks recalls. “His songs were laced with courage and an urgent sense of social aware­ness that is simply not present in the present tense of songwriting. ‘Where’s the outrage?’ is too often the question in view of today’s crimes against humanity and ecology. I miss the beautiful man Phil Ochs, and the power of his personality.”
- Commentary by the wayside (Montreal Mirror)

"My main man Phil Ochs doesn't need to be inducted into Hall of Fame to be remembered -- eventually somebody is going to make that biopic, and then we'll all be singing 'I Ain't-A Marchin' Anymore.' Until then, his fans know him for what he is: the best protest singer of the Twentieth Century, and probably the best composer of patriotic music, too."
- Song of the Day: 'Power and the Glory,' Phil Ochs (

'Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune': Directed by Kenneth Bowser, this documentary explores the tragically short life of 1960s folk singer Phil Ochs. Bowser interviews family, musicians and others close to Ochs. Many of the people interviewed are from — or still live in — Woodstock.
- Woodstock fest is full of films with area ties (

“My parents were big into folk music. … I listened to a lot of Phil Ochs, Cat Stevens, James Taylor.

“Most of my writing has a certain flavor like that. I’ve been calling what my group does ‘folk jazz.’ It’s not folk, but it has that quality to it. It’s pretty lyrical, at least in my mind — if it doesn’t sound that way to other people.”
- Matt Otto surfaces on KC's jazz scene (Kansas City Star)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune Acquired by First Run Features

First Run Features has acquired the new feature documentary from Michael Cohl’s S2BN Entertainment, “Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune,” produced and directed by Kenneth Bowser. The film recounts the life of Ochs, a folk singing legend, who shot to fame in the early 1960s, and protested during the Vietnam War. His solo shows are remembered for their political slants, and the controversy he brewed up attracted both fans and fervent enemies.


The music of Ochs lives on, influencing and inspiring songwriters around the world. Artists such as Pearl Jam, Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg, and They Might Be Giants have covered his songs, the best-known of which include “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”, “Changes”, “Crucifixion”, “Draft Dodger Rag”, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal”, “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends”, “Power and the Glory”, “There But for Fortune”, and “The War Is Over”.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Phil Ochs Cover That Never Was

It began with this review by Richie Unterberger of the Clydie King 2007 compilation Imperial & Minit Years, which contained the following reference:
The previously unissued 1968 tracks show her trying some pretty unexpected tunes by the likes of Mickey Newbury, Bobbie Gentry, and Phil Ochs...

Presumably Unterberger saw the title "When in Rome" on the compilation and assumed it was the Phil Ochs song, but it is certainly not upon a cursory listen (would King have really covered this dark material, with lyrics like "I cracked his skull again"?) -- not to mention that the track would need to continue for at least another 10 minutes beyond its 2:13 length to cover all the lyrics contained in the Ochs song.

The erroneous information then found its way into this review of Farewells & Fantasies: The Phil Ochs Collection:
Among folk legends, the late Phil Ochs is nearly peerless. His dozen years as a ringing voice in the war against social and political injustice left the world with a wealth of music and lyrics that remain powerful and in some cases topical more than 30 years after he recorded them. Joined by the likes of Ry Cooder, Clydie King, Jack Elliott, Van Dyke Parks, Don Rich, and Tom Scott, Ochs created a legacy of words and music that continues to drive the spirit of social conscience in musicians like Billy Bragg, Natalie Merchant, and Ani DiFranco. This 3 CD set collects the work he did at Elektra, A&M, and Folkways between 1964 and 1975, as well as several previously unreleased tracks. It chronicles not just an era when music and politics often clashed, but also one spiritual man's sojourn from rebellion and activism to depression and despair. --L.A. Smith

As interesting as it would be to hear Clydie King cover Ochs' "When in Rome," it never happened and despite claims to the contrary, she has never recorded a Phil Ochs song.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Phil Ochs: "Changes" Live on Midnight Special, 1974

Ochs begins this segment by referencing a review of his music in Esquire magazine which stated, "His guitar playing would not suffer much were his right hand webbed." Here he puts this to the test, with a bandaged hand and broken arm he inflicted on himself after punching a wall at Max's Kansas City in New York City. Ochs and Jim Glover in this clip sing "Changes," which according to Phil's story here was written circa August 1965 during his first visit to Canada.

This wasn't even the first time he performed on television with this type of injury. After punching out the ticket box office at Carnegie Hall and getting banned for life, he appeared with a bandaged hand in 1970 on The David Frost Show, which included Frost watching in amazement as Ochs strummed through "I Ain't Marching Anymore."

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Phil Ochs, the Folksinger's Folksinger, Writes Himself Off -- Twisted Tales

New article from Spinner Canada:
Phil Ochs, the Folksinger's Folksinger, Writes Himself Off -- Twisted Tales.

The topical folksinger Phil Ochs, once considered a counterpart to the young Bob Dylan, thought of himself as a singing journalist. "Every newspaper headline is a potential song," he once wrote.

But there wasn't much good news during Ochs' brief lifetime. He wrote songs about the death of JFK, the violent backlash against the civil rights movement and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Ochs' wishful song 'The War Is Over' lent John Lennon and Yoko Ono a political slogan.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Phil Ochs Sings for Broadside: Review

Phil Ochs Sings for Broadside, a cash-in LP release following Ochs' death in 1976, possessed a title that was only partially correct. In reality, only half of the songs were of Phil Ochs singing for Broadside magazine; the other half were in fact sung for a U.S. politician. According to the liner notes, the story went as follows:

Some time before Phil Ochs died April 9, 1976, in Far Rockaway, NY, he gave a benefit concert for Broadside. He brought us about $500. He also had the concert taped and he turned the tape over to us with the suggestion we make an LP Album out of it. "Let's give 'em one more broadside," he said. (It took us some time to realize that there was a certain tone of finality in this remark.) We played the tape and commented "there's not enough material on here to make a whole album and, besides, some of your best and strongest songs are missing." Phil laughed and pointed out "Look, you've got other tapes of mine. I don't think there's a single song I ever wrote that I didn't tape for you. Just splice on what you want. It's all yours. Have Moe Asch put it out."

The benefit concert in question actually took place in October 1974 for Ramsey Clark, who at the time was running for the U.S. Senate. That makes most of the paragraph a fabrication, with the exception of the correctly noted date and place of Ochs' passing. Why the fictitious story? Broadside magazine's founders, Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen, perennially strapped for cash according to their autobiography, Red Dust and Broadsides, were no doubt looking for a quick way to profit on their extensive Ochs archive of recordings. They followed this LP later that year with the Interviews with Phil Ochs LP, then in 1980 with The Broadside Tapes 1, when Michael Ochs stepped in and put a stop to any further Folkways releases bearing Phil Ochs' name (hence there never was a second volume of Broadside Tapes).

As to the content of the LP itself, the full Ramsey Clark concert is available in similar or better quality elsewhere (though only unofficially), but Phil is in fine form and it provides a rare glimpse into his latter day shows, which official CD releases have studiously steered away from. The remainder of the album is filled with rare Broadside demos - so rare in fact that the LP remains the only place to find recordings of "United Fruit" and "On Her Hand a Golden Ring," as the songs were spliced out of the original tapes during the making of the LP.

An interesting note of trivia: this LP was evidently picked up by The Clash, who in 1980 on their album Sandinista! released "Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)," which borrowed some lyrics from "United Fruit."

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune to premiere at the Woodstock Film Festival 2010

From the press release:
The 11th annual Woodstock Film Festival today announced its 2010 line-up of nearly 150 fiercely independent films, panels, performances and special events, kicking-off Wednesday, September 29 through Sunday, October 3. Screenings and events take place in the historic, arts colony of Woodstock, and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Rosendale, Mt. Tremper, and Kingston, in the Hudson Valley Catskills, just two hours from NYC.

- PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE (World Premiere) – Directed by Kenneth Bowser. Music bio-documentary delves deep into the life of musical icon Phil Ochs. Civil rights. Freedom of Speech. The Vietnam War. Watergate. He wrote a song about them all, in large part creating the musical protest culture of the 60′s and 70′s. Through interviews with family and many well-known musicians who considered themselves fans of Phil Ochs, comes a vivid and compelling portrait of a controversial musical figure whose protest marked a generation. Director Kenneth Bowser will be in attendance for the Q & A, along with Michael Ochs, Phil’s brother.

According to the film schedule, Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune is scheduled to play on October 1 at 4:45 at the Bearsville Theater and October 2 at 6:30 at Upstate I (Rhinebeck). Kenneth Bowser will also be a panelist at "Music For Change," Utopia Studios, October 2, 4:00 pm "showcasing prominent and emerging musicians and fi lmmakers who use music as a tool for social change."

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Dylan: "Get out of the car, Ochs"

The most famous story concerning Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan deals with Ochs criticizing one of Dylan's songs and Dylan tossing Ochs out of a limousine, but the details have become muddied over time.

One of the more common explanations pegs the song in question as "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" See, for example, Wikipedia's summary:
Dylan played the song to Phil Ochs as the two were riding in a limousine. When Ochs expressed a lukewarm feeling about the piece, Dylan kicked him out of the limousine, yelling "You're not a folk singer. You're a journalist."
The song, in fact, was not played in the car, and it was in fact another song recorded at the same session in 1965: "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)." This was explained by Ochs to Rolling Stone and to author Marc Eliot (who included the anecdote in his revised outro to Death of a Rebel). The story as usually told at least captures the sentiment correctly: Ochs felt that Dylan was losing his songwriting clarity in the material recorded for Blonde On Blonde, and Dylan felt that Ochs' writing on political matters was "bullshit," and that only expressions of a personal nature mattered (this was a change, of course, from his early embrace of topical songwriting).

Undoubtedly Ochs didn't mind being called a journalist (his early shows billed him as the "singing journalist") but he remarked that it was upsetting to hear his idol (Dylan) saying that his songwriting efforts were in vain. The two wouldn't reconcile for nearly another ten years, with Ochs inviting Dylan to the benefit concert An Evening with Salvador Allende in 1974. Ochs also made a brief appearance in Dylan's film Renaldo & Clara, where he takes Dylan's hat before playing a set at Gerde's Folk City, which included his only serious cover of a Dylan song, "Lay Down Your Weary Tune." Somewhat aptly as a metaphor for their relationship, the concert footage cuts just as Ochs begins playing in what became the last film shot of him before his death.

Friday, 23 July 2010

An odd compilation choice: "Talking Pay TV"

In what must be the strangest track selection of a Phil Ochs song, "Talking Pay TV" inexplicably appears on the Smithsonian Folkways compilation Classic Protest Songs. Among the hundred or so Ochs protest songs the compilers could have chosen, "Talking Pay TV" appears here as the sole Ochs composition, completely out of place. Not only is it not a protest song, it was never released by Ochs during his lifetime, hence negating in any sense its status as a "classic" of the 1960s. As Ochs noted in the Broadside Tapes, the song was written on assignment as an advertisement for a local pay-per-view television channel. What it is doing among tracks like "Masters of War" and "We Shall Overcome" is anybody's guess.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Q&A: Phil Ochs NYC Venues

Q: What are some of the venues in New York City where Phil Ochs performed in the 1960s and 1970s?

Here's a list I compiled a few years ago:

The Bitter End - 147 Bleecker Street (between Thompson and LaGuardia), New
York City, NY

Kettle of Fish - 114 MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, NY

Gaslight Cafe - 116 MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, NY

Village Gate - corner of Thompson Street and Bleecker Street, Greenwich
Village, New York City, NY

Cafe Wha? - 115 MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, NY

The Folklore Center - 110 MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village, New York
City, NY

Carnegie Hall - 881 Seventh Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York City, NY

Gerde's Folk City - 11 West 4th Street (corner of Mercer Street) - no longer

Washington Square Park (40°43'51"N, 73°59'51"W) - located at the foot of
Fifth Avenue (site of War Is Over demonstration)

Che (Phil's short-lived bar) - corner of Broome Street and Mercer Street,
New York City, NY

Tavern-on-the-Green - Central Park at West 67th Street, New York City, NY

Central Park (40°46'55"N, 73°57'58"W) - Manhattan, New York City, NY

Interlude Cofeehouse (now the Bliss Gourmet cafe) - 8260 Austin Street,
Jamaica, NY

United Nations Headquarters - First Avenue between 42nd Street and 48th
Street, New York City, NY

Cooper Union - East Village, around Cooper Square and Astor Place (Third
Avenue & 6th-9th Streets), Lower Manhattan, New York City, NY

Columbia University (McMillin Auditorium, now Miller Theatre) - 2960
Broadway (at 116th Street), New York City, NY

New York University (Loeb Student Center) - Washington Square Campus, End of
Fifth Avenue, New York City, NY

Hunter College Auditorium - 69th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues,
New York City, NY

Strand Theatre - 714 Beach 20th Street (Central Avenue), Far Rockaway, NY

Madison Square Garden (Felt Forum) - 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York City, NY

Queens College - Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, NY

Max's Kansas City - 213 Park Avenue South between 17th and 18th, New York
City, NY

Bottom Line (now NYU) - 15 West Fourth Street, Greenwich Village, New York
City, NY

Philharmonic Hall (renamed Avery Fisher Hall in 1973) - corner of Columbus
Avenue and 65th Street, New York City, NY

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Phil Ochs Live at the Troubadour 1970

"The sixties...started out as a dream, ended up as a nightmare" says Phil Ochs near the beginning of this live concert audience recording, made at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on February 1, 1970. It captures most of the two sets performed that day, which came at the end of a week-long stint at the famed club. In a precursor to the more familiar Gunfight at Carnegie Hall concert (that happened the following month), Phil is in a Presley gold lamé suit, attempting to mix Elvis with Che Guevara, something that appears to work better with this crowd that it did at Carnegie.

The set list is familiar to those who have heard the Carnegie Hall shows; however, "I've Had Her" from Pleasures of the Harbor makes a rare appearance with Lincoln Mayorga reprising his piano part (the song was all but abandoned in Ochs' latter-day concerts, and here he forgets some of the lyrics), as well "Pretty Smart on My Part" (brought out by request at the end of the first show's encore - he closes by saying "Down with Nixon, down with Nixon") and Buddy Holly's "Maybe Baby." Somewhat interestingly, the first verse of "I Ain't Marching Anymore" gets extended applause (the Vietnam War entering its 15th year by this point).

Here's the full track list:
Phil Ochs
Live at the Troubadour Nightclub
West Hollywood, California
February 1, 1970

First Generation recording from the master R2R tapes.

Disc One
Early Show
1. I’m Going to Say It Now *
2. Mona Lisa
3. Pleasures Of The Harbor
4. I Ain’t Marching Anymore
5. Oakie From Muskogee
6. Basket In The Pool
7. Jim Dean Of Indiana
8. Chords Of Fame *
9. Not Fade Away >
10. I’m Gonna Love You Too
11. Think It Over >
12. Oh Boy >
13. Everyday >
14. It’s So Easy >
15. Not Fade Away
16. Maybe Baby
17. Changes
18. There But For Fortune
19. Pretty Smart On My Part
Late Show
20. The Bells *
21. Danny Boy
22. Gas Station Women
Running Time: 70 minutes

Disc Two
1. Intro >
2. Crucifixion *
3. Outside of a Small Circle Of Friends
4. I’ve Had Her
5. My Kingdom For A Car
6. My Baby Left Me >
7. Ready Teddy >
8. Heartbreak Hotel >
9. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You >
10. All Shook Up >
11. Are You Lonesome Tonight >
12. My Baby Left Me
13. A Fool Such As I
14. No More Songs
15. Rhythms Of Revolution
Running Time: 75 minutes 54 seconds
* Incomplete

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Q&A: Phil Ochs' Voice After 1973

Question: I was wondering, how slowly Phil's voice faded useless (if we say that word) after Africa trip?

As recorded in Phil Ochs' biographies, in 1973 he was attacked and strangled by robbers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which damaged his vocal cords. The effect on his voice was immediate, but he still continued to perform concerns while in Africa, trying to soothe his throat with beer while on stage (which in actuality only made his voice worse). He was unsure whether his voice would ever fully recover, and in fact, it never did. The main effect the attack had was to eliminate the upper range of his voice, which is audible on his later recordings. His 1974 version of "Power and the Glory," for instance, showcased a deeper sounding voice than was typical, and his vocal performances tended to sound as if he had a permanent cold. Some of his recorded concerns from 1974 particularly highlight the damage, where in some songs, like "There But for Fortune" he was forced to speak, rather than sing, part of a line in the chorus. This is not to say that he could not still turn in a good vocal performance, however; "Here's to the State of Richard Nixon" (the flip side to the "Power and the Glory" single), recorded live, is a worthy companion to the original "Mississippi" track. His voice did seem in somewhat better shape for the War Is Over rally in 1975, which necessitated a performance of "The War Is Over." In advance of performing the song, he apologized for his damaged voice, but he managed to sing it quite well, missing only the high note contained in the line "I declare the war is over" (a high G, for those who are interested), which he mostly speaks instead. As can be heard in the clip below from Midnight Special in 1974, his voice may have lost its range, but it was far from gone:

Monday, 31 May 2010

Review - William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

This look at radical lawyer William Kunstler provides a perfect companion piece to Chicago 10, covering different aspects of the infamous Chicago conspiracy trial, including rare audio from the trial itself. The subject matter also involves some of his great and (what his daughters term) lesser moments -- highlights include archival footage from the Attica prison riots, Wounded Knee incident of 1973, and speeches from Kunstler and other radical figures of the era, including Bobby Seale and Fred Hampton. A compelling overview of Kunstler's career -- highly recommended. Not mentioned in the film is Kunstler's questioning of Phil Ochs during the Chicago trial (Ochs appeared as a witness for the defense), which Kunstler later referred to in 1976 as one of the greatest honors in his legal career.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Phil Ochs: On My Way

Following an auction tape that was sold last year comes another new Ochs release entitled On My Way. It features a completely unreleased demo session of Phil running through his material in 1963 at the Florida resident of Roy Connors, member of the folk group The Highwaymen. The listing as described on the auction tape can be found here. The release date is set for June 22, 2010.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Phil Ochs: To Die in Madrid

Two days ago I saw a movie called TO DIE IN MADRID, a documentary on the Spanish Civil War. And it’s very strange – here I am a comfortable middle class Jewish guy sitting there watching movies from 1936 and 1937 and seeing young men volunteering for the International Brigade and going to fight in Spain and you see the pattern emerging from the movie that they’re just not going to win. They’re going to be fed into the German military machine as fodder to test out new weapons and they’re going to die, thousands and thousands are going to die and they’re going to be tortured. And I sit there wondering, questioning myself all the time: could I do that? And I’ve got this great streak of cowardice in myself and I’m most afraid of dying – and I sit there wondering, could I? Then I walk outside and I go down to the Village and I see people running around with long hair, climbing on the Beatle-Dylan bandwagon and I’m struck with this incredible difference of the young man going off to die in Spain and the young man growing his hair long and trying to sound like John Lennon. It becomes a revolting thing. You see it adds up to this: when you try to develop your sense of perception you come to the inevitable view, the world is absurd. Which is essentially what Dylan says. How can you even think about it! It just can’t be possible. No amount of work can ever change the absurdity.

This leads to – and somehow this is the thing – this is what I can’t understand as part of my own psychological make-up. Something inside of me gets greatly disturbed at seeing this absurdity, and this as it turns out is probably the root of my songs. And yet I’m totally turned off – as I have written in recent articles – by the protest songwriting movement, because it tends to have too much disregard for quality. There is a further paradox here, and I’m trying to resolve it by thinking and talking about it. Something in my psyche has to feel the responsibility of what goes on in Viet Nam. When we bomb North Viet Nam I have to be disgusted and repelled. But I can also look at Viet Nam and laugh, can make jokes like it’s a fun war. And laugh about the napalm. I admit this – I do laugh about it, and say, well, it must be a joke, it’s so ridiculous. I can make jokes about it in what you might call sick humor. But then I go off and I write a very serious song about it. In the notes of my last record there was one very important part that ELEKTRA cut out – in which I said that some of these songs are so intense that when I’m singing them on the stage sometimes my view of the absurd will carry me one step beyond how evil something is. And I fear that one day I might have to break out laughing on stage. ELEKTRA was afraid to print that because they thought it would hurt my image. They were worried about my image. But I sure wish they’d printed it – well, at least we’ll get it out here in BROADSIDE. You see, it’s a paradox inside my head, to laugh at something and at the same time take it seriously and deal with it.

To sum up. This is one thing I feel is a driving force: that I get so repelled by certain things – or they strike me as funny – or weird or strange – or ridiculous – and my response comes out in the form of a song. And there is one thing that helps carry me through: this close identification with the problems of the world where things like Viet Nam go on. And as I said before, it’s not enough to know the world is absurd and restrict yourself merely to pointing out that fact. To me this was the essential flaw of the fifties, great perception leading to inaction. If there is to be any hope for the world this perception must lead to action. In the song MY BACK PAGES Dylan laughs at himself as an impotent musketeer fighting false battles. I often laugh at myself in the same way and many times consider my role ridiculous, but still I am forced to go on. Because the ugly fact is ingrained in my mind that if I don’t go on the world will be left to the hands of the Hitlers, the McCarthys and Johnsons. I don’t want to have to read Dylan’s works smuggled out from prisons. I like to bring in the great Greek writer Katzenakis to illustrate this point. He says it is wrong to expect a reward for your struggle. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win. In other words, even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world you must make the attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion. That’s art. That’s life.