Thursday, October 20, 2005

Even Freedom Will Not Make Free (and what's that got to do with me?)
I had PBS's The News Hour on in the other room tonight and every night they do the "honor roll" - saluting soldiers who died in our overseas misadventures. I've gotten a little jaded lately - I remember when every death was it's own news story and now it's just a blurb - Dow Jones down 400, 3 dead in Iraq, more after this.
But see - on News Hour, they don't read the names or do any profile. They just show the pictures and the names in total silence. So all the sudden I'm thinking "what happened to the TV" and it hit me - that many guys died over there.
Which is to say, I got to thinking about Phil Ochs. Phil Ochs wrote a lot of protest songs and some of them are dated, and some are a little condescending. But he nailed it on these tracks - they ring truer today than they ever did. These aren't the songs about flowers and wind you think of when one mentions 60's protest. War Is Over mixes hopefullness with heavy cynicism, and Pretty Smart On My Part is sung from the point of view of one of those paranoid militia types.
Ochs was more than just protest songs - on his last few records he really branched out into the personal. Most of it was pretty dark. His last album was considered career suicide and he followed that up with the real thing in '75.
Pretty Smart on My Part
War Is Over


Anonymous Em said...

Brav-oh, Rob. Thanks for introducing me to Phil Ochs. That photo of him on the album cover eerily reminds me of a young Mr. Formica circa 1998...

3:10 PM  

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