Various Artists

What's That I Hear?: The Songs of Phil Ochs

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Twenty-eight songs by Phil Ochs, covered by several generations of musicians, from Tom Paxton ("Draft Dodger Rag"), Peter Yarrow ("There But for Fortune"), Dave Van Ronk ("Outside of a Small Circle of Friends"), Eric Andersen ("When I'm Gone"), and Iain Matthews ("Flower Lady") to the Roches ("The Bells," which offers the best singing here), Agnelli-Rave and the Charmers ("Chords of Fame"), and Sid Griffin & Billy Bragg ("Sailors and Soldiers"). The quality of the performances is uniformly first-rate, and it's astonishing to discover the full range of admirers that Ochs' songs attract, as well as the sheer selection of songs, some of which Ochs never got to record officially -- few key bases are left untouched in the two-hour-plus collection, although it would have been nice if someone had covered released obscurities such as "Basket in the Pool." The notes are very thorough, personal, and affecting.

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