Phil Ochs

Chords of Fame

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Compiled by noted music archivist Michael Ochs (who was also Phil Ochs' brother and manager), Chords of Fame is a peerless overview of Phil Ochs' career in music, from his early days as a "singing journalist" penning topical numbers like "Draft Dodger Rag" and "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" to the deeply personal introspection of his later work, as typified by "No More Songs" and "Jim Dean of Indiana." The first (and still one of the only) Phil Ochs compilations that covers material from his albums for both Elektra and A&M, Chords of Fame includes most of Ochs' best-known songs (including "There But for Fortune" and "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends") as well as a handful of rare and otherwise unavailable cuts, such as an absorbing live take of "Crucifixion" and a version of "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" recorded with an electric rock band. Featuring a superb liner essay by poet and musician Ed Sanders, Chords of Fame was an obvious labor of love released only a few months after Ochs' suicide in 1976; sadly, it's fallen out of print and has never been reissued on CD, but anyone interested in Phil Ochs who runs across it at a library or used record store is well advised to pick it up and introduce themselves to one of the finest songwriters of his generation.

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