Tuesday, June 18, 2019 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Phil Ochs (1940 – 1976)

Folksinger active in the civil rights movement and in opposition to the Vietnam War.
Phil Ochs
A protest song is a song that's so specific that you cannot mistake it for bullshit.
Ochs quotes
Show me a country where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins of buildings so tall
And I'll show you a young land
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I
You or I.
Leave the old and dying America and use your creative energies to help form a new America, which would be de-militarized, more humanistic, where the police are less hostile and closer to the community, where the wealthy are not given unleashed power for the exploitation of the people. And, mostly because it's now a matter of life and death, reassert an ecological balance with the environment, which means the people in the oil companies and the car companies and the space industry and all the other industries will have to be brought into account, so that there will be a new definition of government which has to be closer to the people and less close to special interests which are far more harmful than any revolutionaries.

Ochs Phil quotes
When they show the destruction of society on color TV, I want to be able to look out over Los Angeles and make sure they get it right.
Ochs Phil
In every political community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects. Ten degrees to the left of center in good times. Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally. Here, then, is a lesson in safe logic.
Phil Ochs quotes
I'm gonna give all I've got to give
Cross my heart, and I hope to live.
Phil Ochs
Does defending liberalism leave you friendless and perhaps wondering about your breath?
Ochs Phil quotes
Here is a land full of power and glory
Beauty that words cannot recall
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
Her glory shall rest on us all.
God isn't dead — he's just missing in action.
Ochs Phil
I watched my life fade-away in a flash
A quarter of a century dash through closets full of candles with never a room
For rapture through a kingdom had been captured.
And so I turn away from my drizzling furniture and pass old ladies
Sniffling by movie stars' tombs, yes I must be home again soon.
To face the unspoken unguarded thoughts of habitual hearts
A vanguard of electricians a village full of tarts
Who say you must protest you must protest
It is your diamond duty…
Ah but in such an ugly time the true protest is beauty
And the bleeding seer crawled from the ruins of the empire
And stood bleeding, bleeding on the border
He said, passion has led to chaos and now chaos will lead to order.
Oh I have been away for a while and I hope to be back again soon.
Phil Ochs
I just can't keep up with Phil. And he's getting better and better and better.

Phil Ochs quotes
And if there's any hope for America, it lies in a revolution, and if there's any hope for a revolution in America, it lies in getting Elvis Presley to become Che Guevara.
Phil Ochs
MR. KUNSTLER: Now, Mr. Ochs, have you ever been associated with what is called the Youth International Party, or, as we will say, the Yippies?
THE WITNESS: Yes. I helped design the party, formulate the idea of what Yippie was going to be, in the early part of 1968.
MR. KUNSTLER: Can you indicate to the Court and jury what Yippie was going to be, what its purpose was for its formation?
THE WITNESS: The idea of Yippie was to be a form of theater politics, theatrically dealing with what seemed to be an increasingly absurd world and trying to deal with it in other than just on a straight moral level. They wanted to be able to act out fantasies in the street to communicate their feelings to the public.
Ochs quotes
Yet she's only as rich as the poorest of the poor
Only as free as a padlocked prison door
Only as strong as our love for this land
Only as tall as we stand!
Ochs Phil
That was really Phil's strong point. The big rally. He was a topical singer. He sang a lot of songs about the news of the day. When he performed in that kind of venue, he was at his absolute best.
Ochs Phil quotes
Images of innocence charge him go on
But the decadence of destiny is looking for a pawn
To a nightmare of knowledge he opens up the gate
And a blinding revelation is laid upon his plate
That beneath the greatest love is a hurricane of hate
And God help the critic of the dawn.
Phil Ochs
So do your duty, boys, and join with pride
Serve your country in her suicide
Find the flags so you can wave goodbye
But just before the end even treason might be worth a try
This country is too young to die
I declare the war is over
It's over, it's over.
Phil Ochs quotes
The final story, the final chapter of Western man, I believe, lies in Los Angeles.
Phil Ochs
Before the days of television and mass media, the folksinger was often a traveling newspaper spreading tales through music. 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.
Ochs Phil
Smoking marijuana is more fun than drinking beer,
But a friend of ours was captured and they gave him thirty years
Maybe we should raise our voices, ask somebody why
But demonstrations are a drag, besides we're much too high.

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