April 8, 2007

Phil Ochs, RIP

31 years ago tomorrow (aiyah! 31 years) Phil Ochs took his own life. Anybody who was a part of the great upsurge of the '60s can't help but feel a pang when his songs are played. There are some YouTube versions of "I Ain't A-Marchin' Anymore" that feature a younger Phil, circa 1965, but I like this anthem better.

That's not to say it's not problematic. It's essentially Phil's bid to write a "This Land Is Your Land." As such, it raises interesting and troubling questions about how revolutionaries look at the US and American culture. As you leap to its defense, consider that it was recorded by fucking Anita Bryant, the chirpy Christian gay baiter from the '70s (since, I am pleased to say, fallen on hard times).

Phil may be 31 years gone (sorry to keep repeating that, it's like a sore tooth I can't help touching with my tongue), but his legacy has been kept alive by younger musicians right up to the present day. Here to demonstrate his reach is a Spanish version, recorded last year by Transportes Hernández y Sanjurjo, of "Love Me, I'm A Liberal."

What's your favorite Phil Ochs tune? Your favorite Phil Ochs cover by someone else?

To comment or to view comments, go to the post immediately below this one. A crude hack. Sorry.