Sunday, January 19, 2014

Phil Ochs - Greatest Hits (1970)

Phil Ochs is known best as a hugely influential figure in the world of American protest music, whose songs inspired countless activists to (momentarily) put down their picket signs and pick up acoustic guitars; many might consider this a dubious honor. However, starting in 1967 with the godly Pleasures of the Harbor, Ochs' music blossomed into an ornate, symphonically embellished folk-rock-pop-country hybrid, and his lyrics began to take on a more personal, and often darker tone. As the story goes, he was also drinking a lot and popping Valium. By the time he recorded his swansong, Greatest Hits - it's a studio album, not a collection - he was writing bizarre, haunted, escapist country rock songs that featured soulful female backup singers, saxophones, pedal steel, and a conspicuous sense that Ochs was consciously alienating himself from his musical past. As you can see, he'd also started wearing a gold lamé, Elvis-inspired suit.

Note: This reissued version doesn't include "Ten Cents a Coup", the only overtly political song on the original album, and the track order is slightly altered. IMO it's more effective this way.

Track listing:
1. One Way Ticket Home
2. Jim Dean of Indiana
3. My Kingdom for a Car
4. Boy in Ohio
5. Gas Station Woman
6. Basket in the Pool
7. Chords of Fame
8. No More Songs / Bach, Beethoven, Mozart & Me

I'll talk, I'll talk
They live by the sea
Surrounded by a cemetary

1 comment:

  1. Check out the new Facebook group Celebrating Phil Ochs’ 75th Birthday ( and the website