Saturday, January 8, 2011

Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune

I firs heard Phil Ochs when Murray the K played his music on WOR-FM in the mid 1960s.  He had a very mellow voice but never quite had the mass appeal of his contemporaries like Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Pete Paul and Mary.  To me this film was worth a trip to the IFC Center in Greenwich Village.  The last time I remember going there was in early 1978 when it was known as Waverly Theater when I saw the Dylan film Renaldo and Clara.

I give the Director Kenneth Bowser credit for intermingling footage from the 1960s with  current interviews with Ochs contemporaries Joan Baez, Peter Yarrow, Tom Hayden, and Christopher Hitchens among others.  Ochs was still very political after others retreated into singing love songs.  Perhaps that is why he didn't attain much commercial success.  It was sad that he took his life in 1976 after battles with drinking and manic depression.

I recommend the film for folk rock enthusiasts who came of age during the turbulent 60s.

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