- World excluding USA & Canada
- Catalogue Id:
- VCD 77017
This fine 13-track collection draws from Phil Ochs’ appearances at the Newport Folk Festivals of 1963, 1964 and 1966, serving as a document on the shift from his highly politically motivated earlier songs to the longer and more personally reflective compositions of the mid-60s. Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul & Mary, who introduces Ochs on this CD as a “poet of song”, is quoted in the notes and describes him as “ultimately and quintessentially political, as a person and an artist. His amazing sensitivity, humour and compassion brought him to the edge of the envelope.”
Phil Ochs was first and foremost a wordsmith who chose music as his primary outlet. As a teenager in Ohio he studied journalism and wrote reviews and political articles for student papers, building a wide and critical interest in the local and wider world around him. Moving to new York in 1962, he immediately found himself enmeshed with the active and growing Greenwich Village folk scene that included Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Tom Paxton et al. His arresting lyrics immediately demanded attention, making him a serious contender to be spoken of in the same breath as Dylan.
Being invited to play at the 1963 Newport festival meant he could bring his music to a wider audience and to the attention of the relevant movers and shakers in the record business. The 1963 festival spawned the greatest number of record albums. Despite being a newcomer, Ochs was represented with two tracks on Vanguard’s “Broadside At Newport”, an album of topical and political songs, alongside Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, the Freedom Singers and others. His ‘Ballad Of Medgar Evers’ and ‘Talking Birmingham Jam’ open this compilation, which also includes five songs from his 1964 performance and five from 1966. Phil Ochs’ lyrics demand to be listened to carefully, and this fine collection of his early development is a wonderful place to start.