?

Log in

No account? Create an account
bear by san

March 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
phil ochs troubador

the mad director knows that freedom will not make you free--



Here's to the State of Richard Nixon
For underneath his borders the devil draws no line
If you drag his muddy rivers nameless bodies you will find
And the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes
And the calender is lyin' when it reads the present time
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

And here's to the schools of Richard Nixon
Where they're teaching all the children they don't have to care
All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere
And every single classroom is a factory of despair
Oh, there's nobody learnin' such as foreign word as fair
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

And here's to the laws of Richard Nixon
Where the wars are fought in secret, Pearl Harbor every day
He punishes with income tax that he don't have to pay
And he's tapping his own brother just to here what he would say
But corruption can be classic in the Richard Nixon way
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

And here's to the churches of Richard Nixon (and Billy Graham)
Where the cross, once made of silver, now is caked with rust
And the Sunday morning sermons pander to their lust
All the fallen face of Jesus is chokin' in the dust
And Heaven only knows in which God they can trust
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

And here's to the government of Richard Nixon
In the swamp of their bureaucracy their always boggin' down
And criminals are posing as advisors to the crown
And they hope that no one sees the sights and no one hears the sound
And the speeches of the President are the ravings of a clown
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of



It's somewhat depressing how relevant that becomes if you file off a few serial numbers.

(Note: the song is a self-parody of Phil's own earlier song, "Here's to the State of Mississippi.)

I actually like some of his less political stuff a lot. He recorded a kickass version of "The Highwayman", for example. Though, on the other hand, it's hard to imagine a protest song more potent and also gorgeous than Crucifixion:

The Spanish bulls are beaten; the crowd is soon beguiled,
The matador is beautiful, a symphony of style
Excitement is ecstatic, passion places bets
Gracefully he bows to ovations that he gets
But the hands that are applauding are slippery with sweat
And saliva is falling from their smiles



***

Comments

Psst! Your link to "The Highwayman" is actually a link to "Crucifixion".

There's not supposed to be a link to The Highwayman.

Bizarre!
The first time I heard "Crucifixion," it was on the radio when we were driving and I was very small. That beneath the greatest love is a hurricane of hate / And God help the critic of the dawn . . . It terrified me.
It's a terrifying song. That orchestral opening, and the atonalities, and the way it soars and dips and snarls....

If he had never done anything else, that song would pay for all. It's as good and as terrifying and as awful as Leonard Cohen at his absolute best.

..and nevermind the lyrics.

If I could conjure in words what Phil conjured into that song, I would be a horror writer.

The child was created. To the slaughterhouse he's led.

It's for JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (originally JFK, but he later expanded the application.)

with the speed of insanity then they die.
It's for JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (originally JFK, but he later expanded the application.)

I hadn't known that last; I learned the song from There and Now: Live in Vancouver (1968), in which he dedicates it to all three. Thanks.
I think it was brilliant decision to make The Highwayman a more reasonable / singable length by pretty much omitting every other verse. Amazing how little difference to the story that makes. (There's probably a whole lecture in there about leaving in only the essential bits in your writing.) And that's one reason I like Ochs' version much better than Lorena McKennit's. I love the tribute album What's That I Hear? with other people singing Ochs' songs, which includes both The Highwayman and Here's to the State of Mississippi.
I assume you know that Billy Bragg parodied I dreamed I saw Joe Hill Last Night as I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night?

One of my favourite Phil Ochs songs is the gorgeous Jim Dean Of Indiana.

The late great John Peel played No Christmas In Kentucky at Christmas during the 1984 Miners Strike on the BBC. One more reason why so many of us miss him.

Thus the cut tag. *g*

I love "Jim Dean of Indiana." Wow. What a song.
Some of my favorite Ochs songs were never really published --- I have Vol.1 of the Folkways CD The Broadside Tapes. *Awesome* stuff. He sang into a tape recorder for the editor/publisher of a folk song 'zine (The Broadside), for lunch money. Song after song of penniless glory.
I remember Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was better than what we have now. He was a sick, paranoid, twisted sumbitch, with a chip on his shoulder the size of Milwaukee, but he didn't think poor people were bad just because they were poor, and he was willing to go to China. Not that he wasn't in charge of an Administration full of scumbags, thieves, and liars, but still--he's better than what we've got now. If that isn't scaring you, you can't be scared.

And because we need some happy thoughts in our lives (especially after considering Richard Nixon), it's possible to buy a small-size copy of this item from the great Hatch Show Prints (courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame):


Yes, I could shared this on your no-pants post, but I didn't.

The whole Hatch Show Print store site has lots of interesting items, some of which might make good icons, if there are cats that need waxing.


I actually like some of his less political stuff a lot.

I think I probably prefer his non-political stuff, if you can even draw that distinction. His stuff about dealing with depression, culminating in Rehearsals For Retirement is heartbreaking.
Are you likewise tempted to giggle when you hear "ghost stories by Joe Hill"?
Um. Yes.
Thank you.

So many favourites, but it's the sheer topicality of songs like Cops of the World that is most with me at the moment. And:
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 to young to die...

But that's where we came in.

She's a Rudolph Valentino fan,

And she doesn't claim to understand;
She bakes brownies for the boys in the band.

Thanks--reminded me to put "Pleasures of the Harbor" on my 'buy' list.

Re: She's a Rudolph Valentino fan,

oo, good choice.
Awesome. Yanno, I've long thought that The Power And The Glory should be our national anthem. Or at the very least it should trump God Bless America as the unoffical anthem. Because while it talks about what a great thing we've got, it's not mindlessly triumphal; it reminds us that we've got to keep working for it.
I like "America the Beautiful." Which is strikingly subversive. But yeah, TP&TG.