I have never forgotten Phil. I turned 14 in 1968--a precocious New York kid trying to figure out, and become, cool. I recall happening upon my older sister watching a local TV broadcast of Phil singing I Ain't Marchin' Anymore--probably at a peace rally in Manhattan or some such thing. "Phil Ochs," she said. I thought he and the song were the coolest things in the world.
I bought his three early Elektra albums--the records that were almost completely topical--and listened to them throughout that tumultuous year. I was eager to soak up "movement culture," and Phil became my benchmark. To this day, when I hear people ask if art can truly mold social beliefs, I remember that Phil's belief in humanism, pluralism and genuine democracy continues to shapes my political value system.
It was because of Phil that I learned of the sixties folk scare, which I'd missed due to my youth. It was because of Phil that I began to explore Dylan, then Van Ronk, then Gary Davis, then Doc Watson, then the whole gestalt.
You've been missed, Phil