Thread: It's Folk week!
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
Gavin B.
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Kudos to Burning Dow for mentioning the great Phil Ochs song I Ain't Marching Anymore. Phil was an amazing songwriter & had the most beautifully expressive voice of any singer in his generation. Unfortunately Phil lived under the long shadow cast Bob Dylan & was never attained the same crossover success as many of his folk singing peers.

Part of the reason for Phil's lack of commercial success was his refusal to edit his songs to get airplay on Top 40 radio. He also refused to curtail his fundraising activity on behalf of controversial anti-war & civil rights causes. Phil Ochs was targeted by both the Nixon administration & the House Committee of UnAmerican Activities for his political activism & as a result he was blackballed from guest appearances from network variety shows & late night talk shows.

Years after his death, it was revealed that the FBI had a file of nearly 500 pages on Ochs. Much of the information in those files relates to his association with counterculture figures, protest organizers, musicians, and other people described by the FBI as "subversive". The FBI was often sloppy in collecting information on Ochs: his name was frequently misspelled "Oakes" in their files, and they continued to consider him "potentially dangerous" after his death

A Small Circle of Friends was Phil's near break-through hit in 1967. The song is about the murder of a young woman, Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed to death on the streets of Queens New York in 1964. As she was being stabbed to death Ms. Genovese repeatedly cried out for help from passersby & people gawking at the scene from the safety of their apartment stoops & kitchen windows. Not a single call to the police department was placed by any of the unconcerned citizens.

Phil's song was an outcry against cruel apathy of Queen's residents to the Kitty Genovese murder. A Small Circle of Friends got airplay on FM Radio for about two weeks & then FCC stepped in a demanded that the lines about pot smoking be removed the song & when Phil refused to do so, the A Small Circle of Friends was banned from radio airplay.

A Small Circle of Friends was Phil's finest moment

I always thought when he was younger, Robert DeNiro would have been a great actor to play Phil Ochs in a biopic. Notice the physical resemblance of Ochs to a young Robert DeNiro. Even if DeNiro has gotten to old to play Ochs, I hope a biopic about his life gets made some day. There's been a couple scripts about his life that have been floating around Hollywood for years but the film has yet to go into production.
There are two types of music: the first type is the blues and the second type is all the other stuff.
Townes Van Zandt

Last edited by Gavin B.; 09-24-2010 at 11:03 AM.
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