“Outside of a Small Circle of Friends”-Phil Ochs

“There is an urgent need for Americans to look deeply into themselves and their actions, and musical poetry is perhaps the most effective mirror available. Every newspaper headline is a potential song.”-Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs is known to many in the folk music world, but that’s not such a huge world, “outside of a small circle of friends,” he is not nearly well known enough. He was born today in 1940 and unfortunately took his own life, but left us with such beautiful melodies and lyrics that are ever so relevant today and he had a beautiful voice.   Phil never got the recognition that Dylan got and according to rumor, was depressed over that as well as having other problems that would add to his depression.  I loved Phil Ochs…I still listen to his music…I still get inspired to do right. His sister, Sonny Ochs, Phil’s sister, has kept his name out there and has a site dedicated to Phil; concerts in his memory and she helps promote other folksingers.

You can watch the full documentary, “Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune” here.  

Let me get out of the way….just take a listen:






15 thoughts on ““Outside of a Small Circle of Friends”-Phil Ochs

  1. Thanks Ilene, Phil is another one I still miss. The documentary on his life is excellent, but so sad. It almost seems that he could never resolve his contradictory drives — the passion for artistic truth and progressive change, but also a wish for what we recognize as conventional “success” with his music. Still a toughie for artists, I think. – Linda

    And here’s a tribute to Phil’s work (set to a tune you may know) that I rather like –

    Wow. Wonderful line from a comment on the video –
    “Phil Ochs is about as close as I’ve ever come to having a hero. May he rebel in peace forever.”

    • Oh Linda, I”ve heard Billy Bragg do this…I just listened again, thanks so much. So true!!!!! His vision, his poetry was as good as Dylan and Ochs did want that success, but he was a very troubled man, unfortunately. You and I and others will always remember him and his music will live on. “Phil Ochs inspires us still.”-Billy Bragg

    • Gordon Friesen wrote an article about Phil’s last few years that appeared in Broadsides in late 1970s which presented an alternative view to what the documentary of a few years ago presented. For a video of a public domain eulogistic/biographical folk song about Phil from 1976, you may be interested in checking out following protestfolk youtube channel link:

  2. Beautiful voice and powerful messages. In his, “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” his words are ones I’ve agreed with since I was a teen: “It’s always the oldest that lead us to war … ” (and many of the hawks never served themselves). Thank you for sharing Phil Ochs’ music.

    • Yes, you must listen to his songs…I’m Not Marching Anymore, What’s That I Hear Now?, Power and Glory, When I’m gone, Here’s to the State of Mississippi, Love Me I’m a Liberal and so much more!!!!!

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