Magazine article New Internationalist

(Ochs, Phil. All the News That's Fit to Sing)

Magazine article New Internationalist

(Ochs, Phil. All the News That's Fit to Sing)

Article excerpt

In Phil Ochs' self - penned sleeve notes to I Ain't Marching Any More the young songwriter tells how 'people walk up to me and ask: 'Do you really believe in what your songs are saying?'

Ochs clearly did. He was, until his suicide in 1976, the impassioned voice of America; an agitator whose songs about Vietnam, civil rights and ordinary working people were the direct descendants of folk music's most radical traditions. Some regarded him as the missing link between Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, or perhaps, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. Ochs had only an acoustic guitar and a limited vocal range delivered in the phraseology of WC Fields, but the fiery conviction he gave to songs like Too many martyrs, Iron Lady and The power and the glory still crackles.

It's therefore something of a surprise that these two albums, dating from 1964 and 1965 respectively, have been unavailable for so long. Their re - release on CD format is long overdue. Containing between them nearly 30 songs, they take a sidelong glance at life in the home of the brave and the land of the free.

Ochs was not impressed with what he saw. Too many martyrs (on All the news) was a response to the murder of civil rights leader, Hedgar Evans; Knock on the door was about the terror of totalitarian regimes, although it could easily encompass American activity during the years of Cold War paranoia. …

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