15 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By 1964, Bob Dylan was moving away from topical folk songs just as Phil Ochs—his only legitimate creative threat on the Greenwich Village folk scene—was mastering the art form in ways that pleased the politically minded audiences and fellow folk singers of the civil rights movement. This was only natural, for politics and a sense of justice were on Ochs' mind, and the ways of the world would eventually doom Ochs and his idealism. With this set, modern listeners who aren't politically and socially aware of the names and places of 1964 may find songs about Lou Marsh, William Worthy, and even the Cuban missile crisis and the Vietnam War a bit beyond their reach. But any ears attuned to acoustic music should find Ochs' take on Edgar Allan Poe ("The Bells") and his tribute to Woody Guthrie ("Bound for Glory") to be touching and true. Where Dylan had a tough, cutting rock 'n' roll heart, Ochs had a stronger grasp on melody and more baroque taste in arrangements. Even here on his debut album, it's obvious just how great a singer Ochs really was.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By 1964, Bob Dylan was moving away from topical folk songs just as Phil Ochs—his only legitimate creative threat on the Greenwich Village folk scene—was mastering the art form in ways that pleased the politically minded audiences and fellow folk singers of the civil rights movement. This was only natural, for politics and a sense of justice were on Ochs' mind, and the ways of the world would eventually doom Ochs and his idealism. With this set, modern listeners who aren't politically and socially aware of the names and places of 1964 may find songs about Lou Marsh, William Worthy, and even the Cuban missile crisis and the Vietnam War a bit beyond their reach. But any ears attuned to acoustic music should find Ochs' take on Edgar Allan Poe ("The Bells") and his tribute to Woody Guthrie ("Bound for Glory") to be touching and true. Where Dylan had a tough, cutting rock 'n' roll heart, Ochs had a stronger grasp on melody and more baroque taste in arrangements. Even here on his debut album, it's obvious just how great a singer Ochs really was.

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