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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Phil Ochs

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iTunes Review

As is usually the case, a Phil Ochs compilation will either fall on the Elektra Records side of his career (i.e., 1964-1966) or the A&M side (1967-1970). This collection summarizes the A&M years, when Ochs had moved beyond the role of first-rate political journalist/folksinger and become a more personal songwriter with deep political interests and a baroque musical sense that turned his songs into some of the most adventurous music of the late '60s. Twelve tracks are too few to fully make his case, but songs such as "Pleasures of the Harbor," "The Crucifixion," "Rehearsals for Retirement," and "No More Songs" forgive a few omissions. "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends" was a brilliant novelty, a pointed jab at people's neutrality in the face of horror—in this case the murder of Kitty Genovese and the failure of the neighbors who witnessed it to call the cops. (It's done in a jaunty player-piano style.) A live version of "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" from 1970 brings his career full circle with a passionate performance of his early anthem.

Customer Reviews

Decent Place to Start

There are better Ochs compilations available (the import "American Troubadour" on A&M, for example), but for someone looking for a place to start, this will suffice. It's a good sampling from his late 60s A&M albums ("Pleasures of the Harbor", "Tape From California", "Rehearsals for Retirement" and "Greatest Hits"), and listeners will want to seek those out after hearing this. Whether you agree with Ochs's politics or not, his passion and total sense of commitment to the material is irresistable -- something sadly lacking in most of today's music. This is the work of a pure heart, and there's beauty in every song.

Phil Ochs is the Folk Singing Man!

This short lived artist was the BEST of the RELEVANT political activist song writers of the 60's. Dylan, Donovan, P,P & M, they all worshipped the ground this young and angry Irishman's feet trod upon...don't believe me??...ASK them, they'll be happy to tell you. A fixture of the post beatnik Greenwich Village NYC scene, Phil succumed to Herion & Politics...a bad combination in the J. E. Hoover era... His songs are even more relevant today than during his lifetime. If you're interested in the Folk Music Activisim of the 60's, this guy is the true Budddah! Enjoy.

Good place to start, but....

iTunes needs to get Rehearsals for Retirement, Pleasures of the Harbor and Tape From California, but since they don't. this will have to do. Ochs was one of the most amazing political songwriters ever, and even though some of his references might have dated the passion he showed in his music is still there.


Born: December 19, 1940 in El Paso, TX

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Phil Ochs is a figure both glorious and tragic who haunts the history of the 1960s folk revival and its aftermath. A topical singer and songwriter in the manner of Lee Hays, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie from the previous generation, he was forever in the shadow of Bob Dylan in terms of the recognition for his music; but unlike Dylan -- who, in retrospect, seemed to approach his work with overpowering facility and talent, but only occasional moments of definable dedication to the causes seemingly...
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