Posts Tagged ‘Phil Ochs’

Memorial Day, 2009

June 28, 2013

Originally posted May 25, 2009

It’s another Memorial Day, another day to reflect. We’ve been told that some of our soldiers will this year begin to come home. Let’s hope that’s true. We’ve also been told that more of our soldiers are required to fight elsewhere. Let’s hope that’s for a brief time. These are the same songs as last year and the year before; if that’s a disappointment, I’m sorry. These are the songs that remind me of those whom we are supposed to remember today.

“Requiem for the Masses” by the Association, Warner Bros. single 7074 [1967]

“I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore” by Phil Ochs from Rehearsals For Retirement [1969]

“War” by Edwin Starr, Gordy single 7101 [1970]

“Where Have All The Flowers Gone” by Peter, Paul & Mary from Peter, Paul & Mary [1962]

“One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)” by Coven, Warner Bros. single 7509 [1971]

“Universal Soldier” by Buffy Sainte-Marie from It’s My Way! [1964]

“Masters of War” by Bob Dylan from Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan [1962]

“Give Peace A Chance” by the Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon), Apple single 1809 [1969]

“2+2=?” by the Bob Seger System from Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man [1968]

“Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens from Mixed Bag [1967]

“Bring The Boys Home” by Freda Payne, Invictus single 909 [1971]

“All The Young Women” by the Cuff Links from Tracy [1970]

“Bring ’Em Home” by Bruce Springsteen from We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (American Land Edition) [live, most likely in Detroit, 2006]

As I’ve noted the past two years, times have changed enough since Freda Payne, the Cuff Links and Peter, Paul & Mary recorded their songs that we now need to also bring the girls home, and we need to grieve as well with all the young men who have lost loved ones.

‘One Last Cup Of Wine We Will Pour . . .’

October 13, 2011

Once more, I start with one idea and then go off somewhere else.

This morning, I was scanning the Billboard Hot 100 for October 15, 1966, and I was finding some nice bits and pieces for a Chart Digging post when I came to a record by Crispian St. Peters. Yeah, the fellow who had a No. 4 hit a few months earlier in 1966 with “The Pied Piper” and who passed on in June 2010 at the age of seventy-one.

His name, of course, wasn’t the Anglophilic Crispian St. Peters; he was Robin Peter Smith, which to my mind sounds English enough, especially as he came from Kent. (I’d think billing him as Smith From Kent might have sounded good, but then, I’m not a mid-1960s record executive.) The promotions and A&R men likely thought that calling him Crispian St. Peters would sell more records. I don’t know how his career went in the U.K., but on this side of the ocean, “The Pied Piper” was clearly his biggest hit. “You Were On My Mind,” a cover of the tune that was a 1965 hit for We Five, went to No. 36 in the summer of 1967, and two of his other three records in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles only reached the Bubbling Under portion of the Hot 100.

And the Crispian St. Peters record that caught my attention today is “Changes,” which was at No. 64 forty-five years ago this week and eventually peaked at No. 57:

It’s a pleasant record, and I knew I’d heard the song before, but I couldn’t place it right away.  Then I noticed the writing credit and I went digging.

I’ve never written much about Phil Ochs, who is often referred to as one of the tragic figures of the 1960s folk movement. A committed political activist who was also a gifted songwriter and performer, Ochs wrote some of the most hard-edged and sometimes caustic anthems to come out of that 1960s movement. The ones that come most quickly to my mind are “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore” from 1969 and “Here’s to the State of Mississippi” from 1965. He sold some records and got some attention, but as I understand it from a few sources, he also battled depression. He killed himself in 1976.

“Changes” was an anomaly for Ochs, a personal song from an almost perpetually political man. From what I can tell, it first showed up on an album titled Phil Ochs in Concert, a 1966 album that’s very likely not a true live album. It sounds very much like a collection of solo studio performances with applause grafted onto the beginning and end of the tracks. The version in the video below sounds like the version on that so-called live album with the audience sounds removed; it first showed up, as far as I can tell, on the 1989 anthology titled There But For Fortune. But no matter what version you find, “Changes” is a good song.

Sit by my side, come as close as the air.
Share in a memory of gray,
And wander in my words, dream about the pictures
That I play of changes.

Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall;
To brown and to yellow they fade,
And then they have to die, trapped within
The circle time parade of changes.

Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind,
Visions of shadows that shine.
’Til one day I returned and found they were the
Victims of the vines of changes.

The world’s spinning madly; it drifts in the dark,
Swings through a hollow of haze,
A race around the stars, a journey through
The universe ablaze with changes.

Moments of magic will glow in the night.
All fears of the forest are gone,
But when the morning breaks they’re swept away by
Golden drops of dawn, of changes.

Passions will part to a strange melod,.
As fires will sometimes burn cold.
Like petals in the wind, we’re puppets to the silver
Strings of souls, of changes.

Your tears will be trembling, now we’re somewhere else.
One last cup of wine we will pour,
And I’ll kiss you one more time, and leave you on
The rolling river shores of changes.

So sit by my side, come as close as the air.
Share in a memory of gray,
And wander in my words, dream about the pictures
That I play of changes.

It also turned out, I think, to be one of Ochs’ most-covered songs. I have a few versions of the song, and – while it’s difficult at All-Music Guide to sort out the listings for Ochs’ song as opposed to other songs with the same title – I found a few more this morning.

Some of the performers that covered “Changes” are unsurprising: Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, the Pozo-Seco Singers and other folk interpreters of the mid-1960s. But there are some interesting covers: bluegrass musician Tony Rice included the tune on his 1988 album Native American, and former Byrd Gene Clark recorded the song – with help from Carla Olson – for True Voices, a 1995 benefit CD. (The video presenting Clark’s cover also includes his performance of “Silent Crusade” from his 1977 album Two Sides to Every Story.)

But the most interesting cover among those I listened to this morning come from an album that I long sought on vinyl, finally settling for a CD rip: Changes, a 1966 release by the folk/pop rock duo of Jim Glover and Jean Ray, who recorded as Jim & Jean. Their take on “Changes” has a Byrds-ish quality to it. A look at the album credits listed at AMG – and I’d guess that the credits are incomplete – shows Al Kooper on guitar and Harvey Brooks on guitar and bass, so I’m not sure who’s doing the Byrds-y thing there. But it’s an interesting folk-rock cover of one of Phil Ochs’ better songs.

Revised slightly and video placed December 21, 2013.

A Baker’s Dozen For Memorial Day 2008

June 29, 2011

Originally posted May 26, 2008

As I keep reading the same things in the newspapers and magazine and on the ’Net, and as I keep hearing and seeing the same things on television and radio as I did a year ago, it seems fitting to present here today the same things I did a year ago.

Maybe next year can be different.

“Requiem for the Masses” by the Association, Warner Bros. single 7074, 1967

“I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore” by Phil Ochs from Rehearsals For Retirement, 1969

“War” by Edwin Starr, Gordy single 7101, 1970

“Where Have All The Flowers Gone” by Peter, Paul & Mary from Peter, Paul & Mary, 1962

“One Tin Soldier (Legend of Billy Jack)” by Coven, Warner Bros. single 7509, 1971

“Universal Soldier” by Buffy Sainte-Marie from It’s My Way!, 1964

”Masters of War” by Bob Dylan from Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1962

“Give Peace A Chance” by the Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon), Apple single 1809, 1969

“2+2=” by the Bob Seger System from Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man, 1968

“Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens from Mixed Bag, 1967

“Bring The Boys Home” by Freda Payne, Invictus single 9092, 1971

“All The Young Women” by the Cuff Links from Tracy, 1970

“Bring ’Em Home” by Bruce Springsteen from We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (American Land Edition) [live in Detroit, most likely], 2006

As I noted a year ago, times have changed enough since Freda Payne, Peter, Paul & Mary, and the Cuff Links recorded their songs that we now need to bring the girls home, and we need to grieve with all the young men who have lost loved ones. The Springsteen track is a different version than a year ago.

A Baker’s Dozen For Memorial Day

April 22, 2011

Originally posted May 28, 2007

There’s not a lot to say today. I think these songs speak for themselves.

“Requiem for the Masses” by the Association, Warner Bros. single 7074, 1967

“I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore” by Phil Ochs from Rehearsals For Retirement, 1969

“War” by Edwin Starr, Gordy single 7101, 1970

“Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” by Peter, Paul & Mary from Peter, Paul & Mary, 1962

“One Tin Soldier” by Coven, Warner Bros. single 7509, 1971

“Universal Soldier” by Buffy Sainte-Marie from It’s My Way!, 1964

“Masters of War” by Bob Dylan from Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1962

“Give Peace A Chance” by John Lennon, Apple single 1809, 1970

“2+2=” by the Bob Seger System from Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man, 1968

“Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens from Mixed Bag, 1967

“Bring The Boys Home” by Freda Payne, Invictus single 9092, 1971

“All The Young Women” by the Cuff Links from Tracy, 1970

“Bring ’Em Home” by Bruce Springsteen & the Seeger Sessions Band, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, June 23, 2006

(I should note that times have changed enough since Freda Payne, Peter, Paul & Mary, and the Cuff Links recorded their songs that we now need to bring the girls home, and we need to grieve with all the young men who have lost loved ones.)

Through The Junkyard Again

April 17, 2011

Originally posted February 23, 2007

As I didn’t get a new album posted today, and I wanted to do something, even at this late hour – it’s 11:09 p.m. as I write – I thought I’d so another walk through the junkyard, putting up a list of twenty-five songs selected by using RealPlayer’s random function:

“Heaven/Where True Love Goes” by Yusuf from An Other Cup, 2006.

“In The Beginning” by the Moody Blues from On The Threshold Of A Dream, 1969.

“I Must Be In Love” by the Rutles from The Rutles, 1978.

“Till I See You Again” by Derek & The Dominos from unreleased sessions, 1971.

“Our Very Own” by Nanci Griffith & Keith Carradine from Hearts In Mind, 2005.

“Sugar Blues” by Al Hirt from Cotton Candy, 1962.

“Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” by Hot Tuna from Splashdown, WQIV-FM, New York
City, 1975.

“Muleskinner Blues” by Tony Rice from Cold On The Shoulder, 1984.

“Big River” by Johnny Cash, Sun single 283, 1957.

“Bound For Glory” by Phil Ochs from All the News That’s Fit To Sing, 1964.

“The Hunter” by Albert King from Born Under A Bad Sign, 1967.

“I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” by Norah Jones, WFUV broadcast, New York City, 2002.

“Crossroader” by Mountain from Mountain Live: The Road Goes Ever On, 1972.

“When The Battle Is Over” by Aretha Franklin from Spirit In The Dark, 1970.

“Let Me Do It To You” by J. J. Cale from Troubadour, 1976.

“Miranda” by Fleetwood Mac from Say You Will, 2003.

“San Francisco Bay Blues” by Jesse Fuller, live at Newport Folk Festival, 1964.

“Legend In His Time” by Kate Wolf & the Wildwood Flower from Back Roads, 1976.

“Why” by Fleetwood Mac from Mystery To Me, 1973.

“You Got Some Inspiration” by Boz Scaggs from Middle Man, 1980.

“Allt Jag Behöver” by Lisa Nilsson from Himlen Runt Hörnet (Swedish), 1992.

“Something You Can’t Buy” by Rick Nelson from Intakes, 1977.

“Mary & The Soldier” by Lucy Kaplansky from Flesh and Bone, 1996.

“Travelin’ Blues” by Loggins & Messina from Full Sail, 1973.

“Strong Feeling” by Joe Haywood, Front Page single 1000, about 1969.

Once again, nothing from before 1960, and pretty light on R&B. But it gives another pretty good idea of what about ninety minutes of listening brings me.