Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Phil Ochs - Greatest Hits
Phil Ochs is one of my favorite underrated rocker types. If he's remembered today at all, it's for one of two things:
1) Phil was kind of like Bob Dylan at one time. He sang topical folk songs. They just weren't nearly as good as Bob's were.
2) Phil played at the Festival of Life at the '68 Democratic Convention. Some people got beat up that day. This showed some balls.
While these were both true, I invite you to think that maybe there was more to the late Phil Ochs than two factoids. With this invitation, I humbly submit his last album.
This is a kick ass platter. It contains some up-tempo country rockers, some folky protest, some poignant ballads. Everything you need, then.
The players on this album are enough to make Phil Spector jealous. Most of the Byrds, a few Elvis sidemen, Merry Clayton, Van Dyke fricken Parks. But the tasteful playing never overshadows the good and varied songwriting.
For some damn reason, when (big reissue label) decided to reissue Phil's A&M catalogue, they left this one out. Like some sort of pariah. Wrong answer. This one is the best among them. The others all have great moments, especially Pleasures of the Harbor. But this one is the best top to bottom. And the gold suit on the cover is the icing on the cake.
Phil never really found his muse again after this album. The story of what happened to him after this recording is worthy of a long Mojo article, if not a two-hundred page paperback. Too bad - America could sure use his voice right now. Enjoy this one.
i can't imagine a nicest tribute to the man.