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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I own Classic Protest Songs, and I always wondered what "Talking Pay TV" was a protest against, and why Ochs wrote it. It is not one of my favorites, and I agree that it is an odd choice, as he wrote hundreds of great protest songs which they could have put on there.