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Lots of Folks Love Phil Ochs

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By Barbara Manners, First Fridays, New Haven

Lots of Folks Love Phil Ochs: CT Folk’s First Fridays Concert Series Presents a Tribute to the Man and his Music

If you lived through the 60’s and had even the slightest awareness of the war raging half way across the world, you would remember Phil Ochs. Whether you supported or opposed the Vietnam War at the time, Ochs was the smart, satirical, and musical embodiment of the anti-war movement.

With songs like “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” “Draft Dodger Rag,” “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends,” “Changes,” and “Love Me, I’m a Liberal,” Phil was unafraid to skewer the hypocrisy he saw on the right, on the left, and in the center. He received enthusiastic acclaim at venues like the Newport Folk Festival and Carnegie Hall despite the informal blacklisting treatment he received from TV and most commercial radio stations. Along with Joan Baez, he became the singing voice of the anti-war movement as he appeared at major rallies from coast to coast.

To J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, who kept an extensive file on him, he was anti-American. To many he was a truth-telling hero whose early and tragic death in 1976 left us bereft, wondering if there would ever be another songwriter who could transform the topics of the day into timeless message that transcend any particular era.

The songs of Phil Ochs should be part of your life. Whether you remember the man himself or want to get hip to him now you’ll enjoy and embrace his songs on Friday, Apr.

9, when Phil’s sister Sonny Ochs presents “Phil Ochs Song Night” at First Fridays, New Haven located at First Presbyterian Church. The evening, which begins at 7:30 pm, features a number of today’s most prominent “topical” songwriters singing a collection of Phil Ochs’ songs and their own originals. All of these songs are driven by politics and timeless truths. Artists will include Pat Wictor, Kate McDonnell, Kim & Reggie Harris, Greg Greenway, John Flynn, Nancy Tucker, and Magpie.  Tickets are $16 in advance, $12 for seniors and students at www.ctfolk.com, and $20 at the door. For further information call 203 431-6501.

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Lots of Folks Love Phil Ochs