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Phil Ochs
Vanguard Records
Phil Ochs
The Early Years
2000, Vanguard

Whereas Dylan brought Shakespearean electricity to contemporary folk music, Ochs leveled a passionate journalist’s gaze upon the scene. More than mere reportage, The Early Years is a thumbnail intro to Ochs' melodic and long lasting activism. From the resonate and probing "William Moore," through the populist rhetoric of "There But For Fortune," "What Are You Fighting For" and the anthemic "I Ain’t Marching Anymore" Ochs single-handedly informed a generation of the ills being thrust upon it in the name of equality, freedom and democracy.

Vanguard has made this twenty song compilation special by including twelve tracks culled from live performances in 1963, ’64 and ’66 at the Newport Folk Festival. Live tracks include "Links On The Chain," "Draft Dodger Rag," "Talking Vietnam Blues" and the poetically haunting "Pleasures Of The Harbor." Though it’s a bitter irony that Ochs took his own life in 1976, it’s more bitter still that many of the ideals his audience once clung to have now been willingly and voluntarily sold-out to Wall Street.—Mike Jurkovic

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