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There But For Fortune

4.9 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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There But For Fortune by Phil Ochs

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 28, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: March 28, 1989
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra 0591
  • Run Time: 71 minutes
  • ASIN: B000002H6U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,770 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Phil came along shortly after Dylan in the mid-60's, and when Dylan went to rock, Phil stayed in the urban protest mode, pleasing those of us (alas, too few) who were not ready to follow Bob into electrification and non-political topics. I saw Phil in concert around l965, and he was wonderful. This disc has an excellent sampling of his most accessible and powerful songs. There are a few really good ones missing, but this is a fine collection to start with, or to have if you can only afford one item. Phil didn't have the best voice, or the best stage presence, or the best business sense of the 60's singers, but he wrote some wonderful things..."Power and the Glory" and "I Ain't Marching Anymore" and "Draft Dodger Rag" are excellent pacifistic promotions. "Here's to the State of Mississippi" has to be the most powerful put-down of an entire state ever written, and Phil isn't joking when he describes the tragedy of that area's racist culture of the time. "There But For Fortune" is one of his most famous and copied tunes, and will always be relevant and influential. I can go on and on...almost every selection here is high-quality. He didn't just savage right-wing white racists..."Love Me, I'm a Liberal" has plenty of bite as well. For a change of pace, "Changes" is just plain beautiful, and given the fact of his alcoholic-haze suicide when his career was over, the anthem "When I'm Gone" is heartbreaking...but a gem as well. Anyone interested in singer/songwriters as a class, and the 1960's in particular, has to own something by Phil. He is unfairly neglected now, and it is a shame.
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Format: Audio CD
Although I was born in the 80's, I find myself constantly drawn to the amazing artists of the 60's and early 70's, including this genius of a singer/songwriter, Phil Ochs. Some of his work may be dated, but each song displays such wit and sarcasm (my favorite kind of humor) that I find myself unable to let a day go by without listening to his music. His words are compelling (I surely learn more about America from him than from my history class) and his tunes are haunting (not to mention catchy). So many of the things he sang about are still current world issues (if he were here today I shudder to think of the way he would have ripped apart the presidential election!): he is in a class all by himself. If you are new to Phil Ochs (and I hope there are many of you), then this album is perfect to start off with, since it contains his truly greatest works. (of course, once you have played it to the breaking point, I would also recommend the three albums from which these song were taken). Play them, enjoy them: they will give you something to think about, and love.
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By A Customer on January 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I once saw Phil Ochs take 10 min. to tune his guitar, starting and stopping his song. He was obsessed with perfoming at his best. Sadly this was in the late 60's to a small crowd ,in a small town as the protest era was dying. Phil eventually had no outlet for his creativity. "Changes" is simply one of the greatest folk tunes of all time with haunting lyrics. Can you believe that my 20 year old son is now hooked on him and just sang " When I'm Gone" (sadly prophetic for Phil) at a coffee house recently ? "There But For Fortune" is my favorite sung in Phil's unique vocal syle. The other tunes on this CD represent his wit and sarcasm for the times but the 3 songs I have just described are timeless classics.
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By A Customer on July 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
If you're asking that question this CD is the perfect place to start, there is no better compilation. If you even hear a clip of Ochs' anthem "I Ain't Marching Anymore" which is a historical review of bloody American history and the men who fought our battles, you'll probably be hooked and looking for more. You're in luck because this CD also contains the songs, "One More Parade" and "Is There Anybody Here" which expand on the theme of the rich man's war, poor man's fight. Just to show how thoughtful and original Ochs truly was there are two civil rights ballads, "Too Many Martyrs" and the take no prisoners indictment, "Heres To The State Of Mississippi" which chronicals some of the most shameful chapters in American history. The late Phil Ochs ballads are neither sappy nor angry but rather gripping and stark, and very memorable. There is also comic relief with Ochs' witty "Draft Dodger Rag" and "Love me, I'm A Liberal". Any student would get a kick out of "I'm Going To Say It Now" with such lyrics as, "You've given me a number and you've taken away my name and to get around this campus why you almost need a plane!" Phil Ochs goes beyond being lumped into simply 'folk song' or 'protest music' with the haunting "When I'm Gone" which ends up this great album. The quanity and quality of material put forth by this very young artist is as staggering as is his early exit from the scene is regrettable. Buy it for yourself, and for future generations to listen to, think about, and enjoy.
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Format: Audio CD
'There But For Fortune' is an omnibus album of 18 tracks from three important Phil Ochs albums. Unfortunately, 'Pleasures of the Harbor', the album for which I always had the highest regard is not among them.

Ochs, along with Richard Farina is one of the two great pretenders to Bob Dylan's throne (inherited from Woody Guthrie), as the great American folksong singer / songwriter, after Dylan went electric.

Unfortunately, both Ochs and Farina died long before they were able to achieve their full potential. It is especially interesting with Ochs to imagine if he would ever outgrow his tendency to write songs which rapidly became dated. In this album, there is an odd mix of references and subjects which are probably totally unfamiliar to young people today, with some other songs, such as 'Cops of the World' which have become remarkably more relevant with recent events.

In contrast, Dylan's genius was in writing so many great songs which, like many of Guthrie's songs, have all the earmarks of enduring for a long, long time.

With some caveats, I agree with other reviewers that this is about as good as it gets for Ochs collections. Enjoy them often.
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