When my son Zach was 10, he had a book with the poem " The Highwayman " in it and he was fascinated by the picture of the highwayman racing along the road on his horse. I then told him that I had that poem put to music by a folksinger I had admired and seen twice in concert named Phil Ochs. He listened to it over and over.
Well now he is about to graduate with a theatre degree and for his final project, he has obtained the script for a one man show called " the Ballad of Phil Ochs ". As you may know, Phil Ochs was manic-depressive and actually developed a second persona, calling himself John Train who was a very negative and abusive character. On stage in the 70's, Ochs would slide back and forth between these characters and this is the basis for the play. We all now know that Ochs hung himself in 1976 leaving some of the greatest social commentary folk songs ever written.
Zach does a very admirable job imitating Phil Ochs. He tricked me on the phone as he played the intro lick to " I Ain't Marching Anymore " and started to sing it. I was certain it was Phil himself. Zach intends to take this show to Canadian fringe festivals eventually. He has obtained from eBay, rare film footage of Ochs on TV shows and in small concerts that have made me appreciate how talented Phil Ochs really was and why I was drawn to him as a young man. Of course what is really cool is seeing my own son find that same passion for his music. Zach and I do some open stages together and he always includes an Ochs' tune.
How many of you have seen Phil Ochs live or have some remebrance of his life or music ?