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Greatest protest singer of the sixties

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GUEST 28 Jan 00 - 02:59 AM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 00 - 04:37 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 28 Jan 00 - 08:18 AM
mthompso 28 Jan 00 - 08:32 AM
InOBU 28 Jan 00 - 08:37 AM
Gary T 28 Jan 00 - 09:14 AM
folk1234 28 Jan 00 - 10:22 AM
harpgirl 28 Jan 00 - 10:24 AM
Steve Latimer 28 Jan 00 - 10:40 AM
northfolk/al cholger 28 Jan 00 - 10:58 AM
Rick Fielding 28 Jan 00 - 11:11 AM
Hasek 28 Jan 00 - 12:13 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 00 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,paul 28 Jan 00 - 12:39 PM
Amos 28 Jan 00 - 12:54 PM
Steve Latimer 28 Jan 00 - 01:22 PM
Doctor John 28 Jan 00 - 01:29 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 28 Jan 00 - 03:29 PM
Troll 28 Jan 00 - 03:40 PM
catspaw49 28 Jan 00 - 03:52 PM
Bert 28 Jan 00 - 04:00 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 28 Jan 00 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Bobby Spencer 28 Jan 00 - 04:34 PM
Amos 28 Jan 00 - 04:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 00 - 04:38 PM
Amos 28 Jan 00 - 04:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 00 - 05:44 PM
DonMeixner 28 Jan 00 - 05:53 PM
Rick Fielding 28 Jan 00 - 06:05 PM
Amos 28 Jan 00 - 09:47 PM
JedMarum 28 Jan 00 - 09:51 PM
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GUEST,Rayvon 28 Jan 00 - 10:36 PM
Amos 29 Jan 00 - 01:44 AM
reggie miles 29 Jan 00 - 03:01 AM
wildlone 29 Jan 00 - 08:28 PM
Greg F. 29 Jan 00 - 08:44 PM
MarkS 29 Jan 00 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,Frank of Toledo 29 Jan 00 - 09:55 PM
bbelle 29 Jan 00 - 10:17 PM
catspaw49 29 Jan 00 - 10:42 PM
JedMarum 29 Jan 00 - 11:24 PM
GUEST,_gargoyle 29 Jan 00 - 11:50 PM
GUEST,Skip 30 Jan 00 - 02:51 AM
Greg F. 30 Jan 00 - 09:38 AM
Doctor John 30 Jan 00 - 09:42 AM
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Subject: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 02:59 AM

Who do you all think was the greatest protest singer of the sixties and why?


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 04:37 AM

Undisputed Winner: Dylan.
Reason: "Blowin in the Wind," "Masters of War," "Times They Are A-Changin."

I suppose the winner should really be Phil Ochs, but I think his influence was limited. Ochs could sure write a protest song, though - my favorite is "Draft Dodger Rag." Paxton wrote some good ones, too.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 08:18 AM

Joan Baez would have to be my choice. She had a good reason for protesting. Arlo Guthries "Alices Restaurant" is an all time classic, definatley worthy of consideration in my humble opinion...Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: mthompso
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 08:32 AM

And it's 1 2 3 what are wwe fightin for, Don't ask me I don't give a damn, Were of to vietnam, and it's 5 6 7 8 over them purly gates, Ain't got time to wonder why, Whoopie were all going to die.....


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 08:37 AM

I have to disagree with Joe and Dave (though Dave, with a lashing of rum pushed accross the focsle table to ye, aye... yarrrrrrr)
Phil Oachs, who I believe will have a long effect, as his songs are refound by generations seeking to understand the times in ways that, How many seas can a white dove sail? just dont speak to. I think I Aint Marching Anymore, is an anthem of our age, and, as Phill himself said, a protest song is defined as a song you dont hear on the radio, and theyll say they dont play it because the guy cant sing or the words or no good, while they play the shit they play these days... it all has to do with the process all raound the western trail, that includes the England and Frances and Canada,and America they have this media syndrom that controlls they way you think, that led us into the Vietnamese war and the Kennedy assasination but what can you do? here you are a poor soul, a helpless peice of flesh amoung these crule crule machines and heartless men, what can you do but turn away, and hope to build something new...
Larry


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Gary T
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 09:14 AM

I vote for Phil Ochs. Not as influential as Dylan, not as sweet-sounding as Baez, but lots of heart, soul, mind, and musicianship in his songs.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: folk1234
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 10:22 AM

I too agree with the likes of Dylan, Ochs, & Baez, but the ones I liked the best, and I still listen to, are done by The Chad Mitchell Trio. CMT had a unique way of having fun while protesting. They delivered a powerful message, but they were also very entertaining. You left their concert feeling good, not angry.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: harpgirl
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 10:24 AM

...definitely Joan Baez...no other performer was as dedicated to important social issues...non-violence...feeding the hungry, etc....supporting exploited workers....harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 10:40 AM

I wasn't really around for it as I am 40 now, but Dylan is the guy that said it best for me. CSNY had some good ones and so did Richie Havens.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 10:58 AM

Woody Guthrie died in 1967. Many of the nominees reportedly made pilgrimages to see him, even though he was way beyond being able to sing write or perform, I think he was still the most important folksinger of the sixties.

I think Pete Seeger followed close behind, because he had been blacklisted for years. Nothing proves your effectiveness more than when your enemy attacks you.

Then in no particular order, Arlo, Baez, Dylan,(pre-electric), Ochs, Havens, Odetta, Paxton, followed by the commercially successfull, PPM, electric Dylan, et al.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 11:11 AM

Gilles Vigneault's masterpiece "Mon Pays" was a rallying cry for thousands upon thousand of young Quebecers. The Quebec independence movement was artistically fuelled by that song.

I think however that John Lennon reached the most people.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Hasek
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 12:13 PM

Phil Ochs still gets my vote !!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 12:35 PM

Barry McGuire.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,paul
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 12:39 PM

IT HAS TO BE DYLAN NO QUESTION


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 12:54 PM

The question is a troll, beyond question. I doubt any of the great names that have been named here thought of themselves as in a competition, although they were all glad to earn a buck. They sure weren't racing against each other to pick a winner; they were driven by a different muse altogether.

The question also has too many possible interpretations -- you could vote in Ochs for passion, Dylan for breadth and rawness, Baez for her clarity and soulfulness, Odetta for her spiritual depths, and Buffy Sainte Marie for sheer gusto.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 01:22 PM

I forgot about John Lennon, certainly worthy of consideration. I have to agree with Amos though, these people were singing for a cause, not competition.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Doctor John
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 01:29 PM

Phil Ochs was way ahead of the others; he had the right mix of protest and humour just like Woody had. Some really beautiful stuff. I agree with Larry: "White dove...sleep in the sand...cannonballs banned" is just pure doggeral to me. Just listen to Phil Ochs's tribute to Woody and compare Dylan's tribute - the latter is just a few WG lines badly cobbled together. Tom Paxton used to be good too; used to be! Dr John


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 03:29 PM

Amos you have shown clarity of thought and taste. Buffy would be my third choice, what a composer of good music she is though! ..Melanie Safka was my favourite singer of the sixties, but would hardly qualify as a protest singer. Nope, despite sipping the nice rum Larry provided and mulling over the choices of the venerable Mudcat crew I stand with Joan Baez. I think we should have a competition amongst the crew here to choose the best protest song of all time...(judging by the characters here on this thread, it will be the longest contest ever held in Mudcat History) We should nominate three judges to be the final arbiters. What do you say mates anyone up fer it? Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Troll
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 03:40 PM

No Question Phil Ochs. You might not agree with him, but you couldn't ignore him.

troll


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 03:52 PM

Picking a greatest anything is about impossible. I've thought about this one since it started and as I read the postings, I really find nothing that's not expected. Everyone of these people have had a demonstrative influence. But the greatest? Hmmmmm.........

Ya' know perhaps the greatest protest singers were all of us who picked up the songs and sang them. Just a thought.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Bert
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 04:00 PM

I'd vote for Tom Paxton. 'Cos I like him and for consistency, he is still writing good political songs. Also songs with a little humor in them tend to be more effective.


Bert.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 04:29 PM

Hey guys and girls why dont we have a Mudcat competition to judge the best protest song of all time...nominate some venerable members as judges; and see if we can come up with the best protest song ever written..I'd be willing to bet that the competition would go on for quite some time. Yours,Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Bobby Spencer
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 04:34 PM

It just HAS to be Dylan. He defined the angst of the generation in a spectacularly special way. Take the music away and he's still the poet laureate of the generation. Poetry gets its power through metaphoric ambiguity and Dylan had truck loads of it.

After Dylan, I'd say John Lennon. When you're widely listened and accepted the influence and the power that your music has for change is so much the greater for it.

Very, very few songwriters (self included)have escaped the influences of the above mentioned, whether they know it or not.

Honorable mention should be given to Woody Guthrie though. Albeit, he mostly belonged to other decades, it all pretty much comes back to him more than it does anyone else. That's what I think.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 04:36 PM

The Universal Soldier, written by Ochs, I think, and sung by Buffy, or was it the other way 'round, is one of the finest pieces of anti-war music ever written. So, too, is "I Ain't a Marchin' Anymore", but on the rough-and-tumble side of the ledger, I could vote for "Ye Masters of War". I don't see anyway to calibrate all this opinion, though, Davey lad.

A.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 04:38 PM

I hate the term "Protest Singer". Woodie Guthrie never called himself a Protest Singer. Nor did most of the people mentioned in the thread. It's just a marketing label that tries to fit people into little boxes.

Everyone seems very geared to the American scene so far - if we'rer talking about where the most powerful songs about injustice came from, Ewan McColl and Christy Moore should be in there.

But I thionk Amos was right: "The question is a troll, beyond question." Sticking people in competitive lists like this is a bit of a waste of time.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 04:50 PM

Actually, the unknown (to me) minstrels who wrote the great Irish protest songs, such as Kevin Barry, the Irish Green (when I was a maiden....), and the Rising of the Moon, Roddy McCorley, Kelly the Boy from Killanne..and so many others I am sure...there are some great voices of protest, and no marketing needed!

A


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 05:44 PM

Of course we've all been assuming it's the 1960s we're concerned with.

Well, I don't know what kind of singer Julia Ward Howe was, but "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was a pretty powerful song.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: DonMeixner
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 05:53 PM

Buffy St. Marie wrote The Universal Soldier actually and to my knowledge Ochs didn't sing it.

My vote goes with Phil Ochs. I never felt that he was being cute or just string words and us along with bizarre and mumbled meaning. His love ballads were few but striking, Celia for instance. I always felt his meanings were clear as crustal. His satire was biting and rough. Only Paxton was his superior in satire. I won't play the sell out card on Dylan. I just never liked him particularily. although some of his tunes are favorites of mine.

Ochs gets my vote followed by Malvina Reynolds and then Paxton a virtual tie for second.

Don


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 06:05 PM

I'm chuckling a bit right now. Folks if you don't think Dylan, Ochs, Baez, P,P and M, and quite a few other fine "commercial" performers and writers were in SERIOUS competition with each other, you're very wrong. From long experience I would say that Pete Seeger was one of the VERY few writers and singers of anti-government material who tried NOT to be in competition with his peers.

These were dedicated caring performers, but everyone named became part of an entertainment hierarchy, which included limos, huge fees, extensive contract riders, mainstream celebrity friends and some of the most devious and greedy management practices imaginable. It's all documented in the many biographies of the aforementioned artists. I would hasten to say though, that in my mind it has never diminished the important work they did, in my eyes at least.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 09:47 PM

Well, RIck, I'll defer to your insight -- I imagine anyone who gets drawn up into that MOsheen ends up tallying perks. I like to think that in the first instance, though, they were drawing on something other than limos as their motivation.

A


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: JedMarum
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 09:51 PM

best protester? Phil Ochs (always had a sharp edge to grind)

biggest impact protest song writer? Bob Dylan (reached more people)

best songwriter who wrote some protest songs? Tom Paxton (hands down)


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: JedMarum
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 10:04 PM

can't leave this one alone; I hope the tin bit of thread creep is indulged.

I'm not a Phil Ochs fan. I know he was/is clever and found some timely topics, maybe drew attention to some issues - but neither his music nor his 'wisdom' ever struck a chord in me.

Dylan captured the interest and the hearts of a generation - for a large portion of the world. He made quality contributions to the music, poetry and politics of the day.

Paxton gave the world some jewells that will pass into generations. He may not have captured Dylan's marketshare, but Tom's best will ripple on generations beyond. His protest songs are clever and I appreciate their messages, but he has captured real beauty, love, joy and pain in several of his songs - and these gifts shine on beyond the protest.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Rayvon
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 10:36 PM

How about those guys who did "Dawn of Correction" for best anti-protest singers of the 'sixties?


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 01:44 AM

I am almost positive I heard Phil Ochs performing The Universal Soldier. But that was long ago and there were "certain nefarious elements" at work which may have scrambled my recollection, or the original perception...which shall remain nameless. So I won't swear to it, but I have a pretty clear image of him singing it in mind.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: reggie miles
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 03:01 AM

I think Dave Van Ronk's Luang Prabang wins my vote. I still love singing it every chance I get. Dave gets right to the meat of it with this one like no one else has.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: wildlone
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 08:28 PM

Pete Seeger, Joan Baez. Ewen McColl wrote some good ones. yet another case of personal taste.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 08:44 PM

Don't want to get into the 'greatest' or 'best' thing, but both Pat Sky (e.g. Jimmy Clay) and Richard Fariña(e.g.Birmingham Sunday) turned out some good material in a 'protest' vein. Ditto Eric VonSchmidt.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: MarkS
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 09:34 PM

Pete Seeger and song "The Big Muddy" gets my vote for the best of the anti-war songs of the era. Too bad it never got wider distribution.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Frank of Toledo
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 09:55 PM

I have to include Dick Gaughan in that group of protest singers........


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: bbelle
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 10:17 PM

Phil Ochs and Richard Farina, but I love Tom Paxton for ALL his writings ... moonchild


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 10:42 PM

Hey Greg...Thanks for mentioning Patrick Sky. I too know he wasn't as influential(except on me...I'm a Pat Sky jukebox), but if he ONLY wrote "Jimmy Clay" that would be enough to qualify him. What makes the song great today is that it speaks to the horror and waste without affixing blame.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: JedMarum
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 11:24 PM

right moonchild! we're kindred spirits!


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,_gargoyle
Date: 29 Jan 00 - 11:50 PM

Never thought to pay attention to the AUTHORS....perhaps records were available...but our miniscule monies went for the tantalizing albumns such as "Sergent Pepper"

But most everthing in the LA FREEP (with chords and tab) was prone to our interpretations(Los Angeles Free Press) of the late 60's....and the broadsides that went with it.

I.E.

Got a Letter From LBJ
Nancy Brown in the Hills of West Virginy
Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh
We Will<> And a Dozend More

Never noticed Paxton, or Ochs name connected to our favorites (until the DT/MC) in those days if it WAS played on main stream radio....(KPFK Pacifica was OK)we DID NOT play it....to be "hip" it had to be "underground"


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Skip
Date: 30 Jan 00 - 02:51 AM

Thanks everyone for all your wide ranges of thought and experience. What do we judge by -- "greatest protest singer"? Personally I put the emphasis on "protest." Phil Ochs' voice was the harshest, his songs the most like a knife into the depths of the system, his life the least compromised, and that uncompromising stance lasting longer than almost anyone's. I look back and say about everyone, including Dylan, they were songwriters who wrote some protest songs. Ochs was a protester who wrote songs. --my $0.02, thank you.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Greg F.
Date: 30 Jan 00 - 09:38 AM

Hullo, Spaw- Good to find another Pat Sky fan- he didn't get much play, really, 35 years ago & you don't hear of him at all these days... tho I believe he's still around. I note that "Jimmy Clay' isn't in the database- will try to post the words when I get a minute or two.

Cheers, Greg


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Doctor John
Date: 30 Jan 00 - 09:42 AM

Rick, I agree with your choice of Pete Seeger. Was the Broadside album by Sis Cunningham recorded in the 60's? If so, she must be high on my list. Just listen to "Sundown" among others on that recording, if you know it. If you don't, buy it! And here's a lady who is totally uncompromising and I think she taught Woody Guthrie a thing or two! Dr John


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: WyoWoman
Date: 30 Jan 00 - 12:03 PM

I remember sitting in my living room in Oklahoma with my parents when Pete Seegar sang, I think, "The Big Muddy," ("we're right in the middle of the Big Muddy and the big fool says to march on...") on the Smothers Brothers show. My father's face turned purple, he of the American Legion, Captain in the U.S. Army, and he raged against the "communist" who was trying to destroy everything he'd fought for. I was a kid at the time and thought it was completely awesome and courageous. It was certainly a line of demarcation in our family. And capsulized the great divide in our country.

For this and other reasons, I vote for Pete Seegar, even though there were others whose voices I liked more or whose songs propagated easier because they weren't so impassioned.

ww


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Willie-O
Date: 30 Jan 00 - 09:15 PM

Don't think Phil Ochs was commanding "huge fees", since I saw him at Le Hibou coffeehouse in 1973, two years before he killed himself. There was his gold lame suit album, though, the one entitled "50 Fans Can't Be Wrong".

When i saw him he was complaining that all the campuses had been taken over by "spiritual assholes." Tragic that he died, but I'd have liked to hear what he would have written about the so-called New Age.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 02:18 PM

Well...greatest protest singer of the 60's, eh?

For sheer personal dedication and idealism: Joan Baez

For lyrical and overall impact and depth of theme: Dylan

For singlemindedness: Phil Ochs (though I find him hard to listen to for some reason, probably because he's too literal for me...too singleminded)

For Native American themes and fiery intensity: Buffy Sainte-Marie

"The Universal Soldier" by Buffy is possibly the most effective antiwar song ever, for presenting a simple philosophical truth in a beatifully effective way.

The most subversive protest material was always Dylan's, because he protested on EVERY level, not just on the obvious ones. "Highway 61 Revisted" is protest all the way through, for instance, but it's not literal protest in the usual sense...it protests not just war or segregation, but everything.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 02:43 PM

Of the people mentioned so far, my favorite is Dylan, hands down. But I'm sure he would object to being characterized as a "protest singer," and I would agree with his objections. In fact, the term "protest singer" is such a confining category that I think any good songwriter would probably object to being put in that box. Most of Dylan's best stuff had little to do with politics, and some of his political stuff was pretty lame in my opinion (including some of the "big hits" like Masters of War, With God On our Side, etc.).

In this context I tend to think more of songs than of singers. Seeger's "Big Muddy" has to be on the short list of truly great political songs of the 60's, as do Tom Paxton's "Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation" and Joe McDonald's "Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag". But I don't care for very many overtly political songs from the 60's; in my estimation most fall short musically, or oversimplify the political issues, or both.

Just in case there's somebody left out there that I haven't pissed off, I also have to say that I've never heard anything by Phil Ochs that impressed me. I'll take it on faith that he was sincere, and I'm certainly sorry that he died as young as he did, but in my opinion he was not much of a songwriter, and a pretty middling singer.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 04:34 PM

I haven't heard much by Phil Ochs that impressed me either, but "Changes" is a great song.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 06:45 PM

I can't include Dylan or many of those mentioned above because they were so inconsistent with their politics. Dylan has been pretty apolitical for a couple of decades. Ditto with Baez--we hear more from Ronnie Gilbert than we do Baez. I think those mentioned were the most commercially successful artists doing political song in the 60s, but they certainly weren't the best in my book.

But then, as someone mentioned, Pete and I'd add Ronnie from above, and Sweet Honey in the Rock, Richie Havens, Gil Scott Heron, John Prine (the only musician, to my knowledge, who avoided the draft by going to Canada), Arlo fer sure (and my favorite by him in addition to AR is Clams Ahoy oh Clams-O!), Judy Collins, and many more who still make their politics known through their music and their activism.

But Dylan, Baez, and Ochs? Nah. They'd never win my vote.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: pastorpest
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 08:53 PM

My first thought was Dylan. But on second thought,the greatest protest singer of the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and still going with integrity and consistency is Pete Seeger.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Tedham Porterhouse
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 09:17 PM

Unnamed Guest, posting at 6:45 pm, referred to "John Prine (the only musician, to my knowledge, who avoided the draft by going to Canada)."

Fact of the matter is, John Prine is an army vet who was posted to West Germany in the 1960s.

There were many musicians among the draft resistors who came to Canada. The best known is Jesse WInchester.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: ray bucknell
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 09:24 PM

Phil Ochs, without a doubt. I agree that his voice wasn't the best, but his songs were consistently on target and he was always sincere in his sentiments. Tom Paxton, too, but I've always considered him more a topical songwriter than a protest singer (and I do believe there's a difference). Ray


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: sed
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 10:54 PM

Reading the post below made me think that, yes, the Chad Mitchell Trio and later the Mitchell Trio had fun while singing a protest song, like The Kingston Trio had fun singing anything, but it never seemed all that serious; it may as well have been Tom Lehrer making fun of himself up there on stage. I try to enjoy lots of different songs for lots of different reasons. Phil Ochs was a very complex man who wrote a big variety of songs for various reasons. I think he sincerely believed that it was possible to change the world with songs. (many of us did and some of us still do) The Mitchell Trio primarily seemed more like entertainers. But, yeah, I liked 'em all: Pete Seeger, Malvina Reynolds, Janis Ian, Ewen MacColl, Ernie Marrs, Sis Cunningham, Woody Guthrie, and too many to name. The Best of Broadside has some wonderful examples of great songs that still benefit the listener. I say let's stop worrying about who is/was the greatest and the best and just try to find the best song for the current dilema. The more songs and artists we know, the better choice of weapons we have. Or as Tom Lehrer put it in the "Folk Song Army" "Ready. Aim. Sing!"

-Singin' Steve Sedberry

Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties From: folk1234 Date: 28-Jan-00 - 10:22 AM

I too agree with the likes of Dylan, Ochs, & Baez, but the ones I liked the best, and I still listen to, are done by The Chad Mitchell Trio. CMT had a unique way of having fun while protesting. They delivered a powerful message, but they were also very entertaining. You left their concert feeling good, not angry.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: sed
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 11:05 PM

"Universal Soldier" was a hit for Donovan but was written by Buffy, if my memory serves me.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 11:31 PM

Correct, and Buffy does far and away the best rendition of it.

BTW, Baez "apolitical"??? What? I don't think so.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: simon-pierre
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 12:23 AM

Rick Fielding quoting Gilles Vigneault! I feel home at last! Rick, note that there's almost nothing strictly politic in this song, but it has the effect you mentionned. "Ti-cul Lachance" is one very great protest song.

But.. my vote goes to Dylan, for "It's all right ma" and "Desolation row"


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Francy
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 12:30 AM

Pete Seeger......Pete Seeger......Pete Seeger....Pete Seeger.....and everyone else a distant 2nd and 3rd and 4th and so on................Frank Of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 07:37 AM

Blush--thanks Tedham, I did mean Jesse Winchester.

Baez isn't/wasn't apolitical as you noted, Little Hawk. But I do think she was driven by the commercial success/competitive music business thing, which ultimately ended up killing her credibility (along with some really questionable political choices) in my book. She is a lovely singer, and has done some fine political work over the years, but hasn't been terribly consistent with either quality music or political wisdom, in my view.

But hey-vive la difference.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Donuel
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 09:04 AM

Phil.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,jaze
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 11:37 AM

Joan Baez. She put her money where her mouth was throughout the 60's and beyond. She has been consistent with her message of non-violence over the past 30-40 years. She could be immensely wealthy now if she hadn't donated much of her income to causes she fought for. Of all of them, she has been the most punished and shunned. Remember "We Are The World"? Most of the artists iinvolved were a joke when it comes to fighting for causes. Baez wasn't even considered. Love her I do and I take my hat off to her for her unwavering example of looking out for the other guy.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,jim
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 01:29 PM

The best protest singers of the 60s were actually a couple of bands into the early 70s. On stage Jim Morrison; but in lyrics and beat you can't beat Credence Clearwater Revival. Run through the jungle...Satan roars the game...don't look back.It ain't me...I ain't no President's son...some people are born, silver spoon in hand. Morrison and his arrests and his ostentatious melodramas were always news worthy connected to his lyrics style and voice had so many copycat teens who were Morrison impersonators that only Elvis ever had more.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 01:46 PM

jaze - Right on. I recommend to anyone to read Joan Baez's autobiography "And A Voice To Sing With". I have seldom seen or heard of a life more unwaveringly devoted to human rights and freedoms than hers. Buffy Sainte-Marie has also been a tireless fighter in social causes and an inspiration to many, right to this day.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 03:18 PM

John Prine's "Sam Stone" is the best ever written. Doesn't talk about any war in particular and no country either. Then I'd have to say for pure longevity Pete Seeger.

Joe MacDonald was also one of my favorites (he served in the Navy during the war in Viet Nam).

The above has to be for pure impact on a community though. The best ever for anti-war writings are Holiday and Martin. A couple of Viet Nam combat Veterans that wrote songs I still am unable to listen to without crying. Even on my best days.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 03:51 PM

Here's the website of the tribute to "Doc" Holiday. He died last year.

http://members.aol.com/lilc22197/doc-hol.htm

Steve


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 04:38 PM

Englebert Humperdink without a doubt. The amount of protest he caused was immense. Well, by me anyway...;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Deckman
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 06:23 PM

For me, it's always been Tom Paxton. I've always liked his awesome ability to mix the subtle and the strong, as in "My Son John. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: ray bucknell
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 07:05 PM

In response to Singin' Steve and the much earlier post by Folk1234 he was referring to: Yes, the (Chad) Mitchell Trio were consummate entertainers who believed that they could get their point across far more effectively by using humor and satire than by employing more heavy-handed tactics. The fact that they are all excellent singers didn't hurt, either. Their programs were a mixture of political songs, traditional folk material, novelty stuff (Super Skier, The Story of Alice, etc.) and Tom Paxton songs. But they were also quite serious about the politics they espoused through song, and participated actively in the civil rights movement. I didn't list them in my earlier post because I never considered them to be protest singers. They were having too much fun.

Ray


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Hippie Lawyer
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 04:37 AM

Dear People:

I am writing this e-mail as someone who was there, and who has retained all the values I developed during that best-of-times/worst-of-times era.

If you want to talk about the greatest musicians of the 1960's who harbored counter-cultural values, and thus protestors' values, the obvious answer is The Beatles. They changed our society in numerous ways not remembered now. They challenged, or at least thumbed their noses at, almost every social icon. And, along with the indispenable help of their genius producer/classical musician/assistant songwriter, George Martin, they get my vote for the greatest musical force since Beethoven.

If you want to talk about the greatest songwriter who wrote antiwar and other protest songs FOR AWHILE, the clear answer in my opinion is Dylan. Nobody ever wrote a protest against the "sport" of boxing that could touch "Who Killed Davey Moore?" I have never heard a song about racial and economic injustice of my lifetime, not to mention judicial corruption, that comes close to "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll." I have hever heard a scarier song about nuclear war than "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall," nor a song which better captured the (blind) optimism of early-1960's activism than "The Times They Are A-Changin'."

But as I suggested above, Dylan only wrote protest songs for awhile, and not a very long while, at that. For that reason, I don't think he can seriously contend for the greatest protest singer/songwriter of that decade.

By the same token, the young Joan Baez had a better singing voice than any other protest singer I've heard, and she kept singing such songs when Dylan had stopped... BUT, she did not start writing songs until the end of the decade. "Sweet Sir Galahad," a song for her sister Mimi, was her first musical composition to be released, and while I rate it as one of her best, a protest song it ain't.

There are many others I could mention, and to whom great praise could go as protest singers: Buffy Sainte-Marie; Peter, Paul and Mary; Pete Seeger; Judy Collins; etc.

But if you are looking for the single individual or group who most tirelessly championed the military, political and social causes we progressives lived for--the guy who started very early in the decade and was still going strong until its end, albeit not for much longer than that--there is only one answer.

And his name, may his soul rest in the peace he never knew in this world, was Phil Ochs.

Like young David Rovics today, only with far more talent, Ochs released album after album after album filled with protest songs he had written. The Vietnam War and the horrors of racist brutality in the American South were his two pet topics, but he wrote about everything: the A.M.A.; coal miners; America's complicity with Franco's fascist Spain; the persecution of journalist William Worthy, who traveled to New York at some personal peril to hear Phil sing "The Ballad of William Worthy" (can you imagine the mutual respect in the coffee shop that night?); the corruption of the 1968 Democratic Convention and the fascist barbarism of the police riot outside it; and more other things than I could begin to recite.

The definitive song about 1960's chickenhawks is, without any doubt whatsoever, Phil's "Draft Dodger Rag." The song which the antiwar movement adopted as its anthem, more than any other, was "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore." Phil was the archetypal 1960's protest singer/songwriter, driven by relentless, and ultimately tragic, forces.

Dylan's best efforts were better, but they were so enormously outnumbered by Phil's that I can see no case for selecting Dylan over Phil as the decade's greatest protest singer/songwriter. The same goes for Peter, Paul and Mary, and a lot of others.

There simply was nobody who, despite the radio stations' total blacklisting of his protest songs, so ceaselessly churned out a steady diet of iconoclastic, in-your-face protest songs--some of them funny as hell, others tragic. And yes, I know, it eventually destroyed him. He never really recovered from what happened at the 1968 Democratic convention--although he still wrote some great songs after that, including my favorite Ochs song, the painful "No More Songs." And his eventual descent into alcoholism, hopeless depression and ultimately suicide are all well documented.

But this post specifically talks about "the sixties," and if you're not just talking about the most beautiful voice (Baez or Collins), or the best writer of a select few protest songs (Dylan), but rather are asking who was the ceaseless foe of oppression and champion of protest singer/songwriters, there is only one answer. To my great regret, he ain't marchin' anymore, but when he did, he was the best. And none of us who loved him then will ever forget him.

Thanks, Phil.

Jim Fahey


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 05:21 AM

Got to agree with Hippie Lawyer, Phil was totally dedicated, according to Jerry Rubin Phil NEVER turned down a good cause to sing for.

His songs remain great songs, and he's still missed.

eric


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: breezy
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 05:25 AM

Pete Seeger because he has that enviable ability to communicate with the wider public/audience and convey the message in the song.


He is way ahead of all the others mentioned in this thread, including Baez, as most of them were writers suchas Dylan and Ochs and as with most cases with these writers they are very seldom the best interpreters of their own songs.

Pete Seeger, - like many aspiring folk singers and some very good ones e.g.possibly Mike Aranoff USA and Martyn Windham-Reid U K - successfully gleaned songs from all writers and perform them with a naturalness that can only be explained away as being part genius.

many writers have been mentioned but none can hold a candle to the greatest ever interpreter of contemporary 'protest' song as the one and only, the unique, the much maligned , Pete Seeger.

And he was nifty on banjo and guitar too.

As for Dick Gaughan, well he needs an interpreter.

Pete Seeger.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 07:45 AM

Dozens of posts over 5 years and no one has mentioned Leon Rosselson...


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: erinmaidin
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 08:51 AM

I believe Eric Bogle deserves honourable mention in this category...Hell...he even protested Bob Dylan! (check digitrad for his
songlist)


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 09:20 AM

Charlie Drake My Boomerang won't come back
(summed up the frustration of an entire generation)
Rolf Harris - I've lost my Mummy
(few remained indifferent to this song of woe)
Terry Scott - don't jump off the roof Dad
(summed up neatly the generation gap)
Joe Brown - Three Hats for Lisa
(made us view this talented artist in quite a different way)


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: breezy
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 07:05 PM

Leon Rosselson does not communicate like Pete Seeger and Eric Bogle wrote and performed after the 60 s

Roy Bailey may deserve an honourable mention

hello Paul when am I coming to shennanigans next?

that guy from Wimborn is all hot air


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: number 6
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 07:45 PM

Joan Baez .... her cause came from her heart, and of her perseverance with 'the cause'.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: breezy
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 04:40 AM

too classical, not ethnic in her sing style and came over as being aloof from her audience.

Couldnt see her sing little boxes though she may well have done

She looked up to Pete Seeger

A diva in todays terms


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 06:46 AM

Joan Baez a diva? A muff diva?


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: JJ
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 08:33 AM

Yes, but she left that part out of her second autobio. And if Joanie ain't ethnic, what is?


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Sidewinder.
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 08:42 AM

Edwin Starr.

Regards.

Sidewinder.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Hippie Lawyer
Date: 17 Mar 05 - 02:26 PM

Dear Erinmaidin and All,

I'll be less verbose this time, or at least try to.

I'm writing in response to Erinmaidin's post about Eric Bogle. It is my understanding, too, that Bogle made his biggest impact in the early 1970's, not the 1960's. However....

He wrote several antiwar songs I like and cherish, and he wrote one I consider THE greatest anti-war song ever: "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," a relentlessly brutal, realistic account of the carnage at Gallipoli, and of the mindless flag-waving patriotism which impelled Europe into what is now called World War One. I'm not sure, but I believe more SOLDIERS died in WWI than in WWII, though obviously the total death count was much worse in WWII. And Gallipoli was probably the war's most bloody, brutal disaster, one which seemed to end the political career of a 40-year-old man largely responsible for the disaster: Winston Churchill.

If any of you have not heard the song, you simply must buy someone's version of it. My personal favorite is John McDermott's beautiful rendition, accompanied by a small chamber ensemble. Folk "purists" may prefer the versions of Bogle, or Makem & Clancy [sp?], because they contain more traditional folk instrumentation. But the 8:06 version of "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," which appears on McDermott's album "Battlefields of Green," feels like watching mass executions or a filmed recreation of Stalingrad or Okinawa, set to something like the 4th movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

I presume anyone reading these posts is, at least in general, opposed to war. Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier" is probably my favorite antiwar song from an intellectual standpoint. But from an emotional standpoint, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is easily the anti-war song I love most. I heard Joan Baez, prior to her singing it up here in a 1998 or 2000 concert, call it the greatest anti-war song SHE'S ever heard.

Need I say more?

Jim F.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Mar 05 - 04:31 PM

"...And if Joanie ain't ethnic, what is?"

The last adjective I'd use to describe Joan Baez would be "ethnic," which I take to mean down-home, funky, ragged-but-right. She is an important figure and a beautiful singer, but she sure ain't no Big Mama Thornton.

Her sincerity is certainly not in question, and her style can certainly be characterized as "unadorned," which makes her in some sense partake of the simplicity which is part of what the term "ethnic" implies, but her approach is so pristine and so careful that I find her far too high-culture, too academic, to classify her as "ethnic."

Of course, strictly speaking, the word "ethnic" means nothing more than "pertaining to some [unspecified] tribal or national group." In practice, we usually understand it to imply some connection with out-of-the-mainstream nationalities and groups. Joanie just ain't there; while she does not represent the WASP aristocracy, she certainly seems to personify the upper-middle-class artsy/bohemian culture. (That's not a criticism; it's a group I would gladly join, if I only had the money!)


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Hippie Lawyer
Date: 17 Mar 05 - 05:54 PM

Actually, yes, I need say one thing more:

Do not buy Joan Baez' version of the song. For reasons unfathom-able, she deleted the first half of the second verse, the second half of the third verse, and all of the fifth verse (except the coda). I own about 40 Baez cd's and can stand with anyone in my admiration of her, but if I've persuaded you to buy "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," get one of the other versions I've told you about, not Joan's.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 18 Mar 05 - 07:15 AM

Ken Dodd. I used to protest every time I heard him.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 18 Mar 05 - 09:22 AM

Well, I've never been the greatest anything but I'm the most consistent: whenever I sing (whether in the 1960's or more recently) everyone immediately protests.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: thespionage
Date: 18 Mar 05 - 02:54 PM

I believe the most talented and poetically prolific songwriter of protest songs of the 1960s was Bob Dylan (apologies to Phil Ochs's memory). Joan Baez was the best performer of Dylan's material. But my favorite political composer/performer of the '60s would be Pete Seeger. He's the main reason I took up banjo.

Russ


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 18 Mar 05 - 06:16 PM

OK, get real.

Victor Jara.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 02:48 AM

I think I'd like to change my vote - to the SNCC Freedom Singers.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 04:18 AM

Dylan wrote some great protest songs, but was he a great protest singer? There has always been a question over Dylan's commitment. For example, at the Dylan tribute concert, where Sinead O'Connor was booed by the audience for her "protest" stand ( against certain attitudes of the Catholic Church), Dylan should have bounded to her defense and berated the audience. Had it been a Phil Ochs' tribute concert, Phil would have really laid into the audience.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 May 20 - 07:35 AM

it all depends what exactly you mean by great


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 30 May 20 - 01:51 PM

Lately I am reading old posts that I remarked in many years ago. I am surprised how often I would post differently and how often I wouldn't.

In the years I have been away or posted very little my mind has changed some. As far as this post goes I haven't changed my mind.

Phil Ochs, Malvina Reynolds and Tom Paxton.

But I am also going to say that early on we only considered English language music. In my case, since I am not bi-ligual, I have no other experience. Were there Cuban protest singers? Iranian? Chilean? Pakistani? Other people, with voices, in peril?

I wish I knew.

Don


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 30 May 20 - 02:10 PM

Dylan never referred to himself as a 'protest' singer. He wrote songs that projected a different light on how he saw things. Phil wrote songs that were often harder hitting, many of which have been mentioned previously. When Pat released 'Songs That Made America Famous' most people didn't see the songs on it as protest. Buffy wrote many beautiful songs and some carried an anti-war spirit, Universal Soldier being the most well-known I think. Collins did a few also. Baez and her brother-in-law Richard did their share, and so did Odetta, Seeger, et.al. However, many of the people I see who have mentioned them have failed to explain what the term 'protest singer' means, so I suppose we could mention Perry Como too.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 May 20 - 02:25 PM

I see above that somebody mentioned Victor Jara (1932-73) of Chile in 2005. I didn't know anything about Jara then, but I learned a lot about him when we included several of his songs in the Rise Again Songbook in 2015. Many of his performances are available on YouTube, and they are truly remarkable. Powerful songs, and an absolutely beautiful voice.!

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Neil D
Date: 30 May 20 - 09:10 PM

Curtis Mayfield: "Keep On Pushing"; "People Get Ready"; "We're a Winner". "Keep On Pushing" was the favorite sing-a-longs of the Freedom Riders and often used by MLK Jr at his rallies. His activism continued into the 70s with stark portrayals of the dark side of ghetto life ("Freddie's Dead") and the anti-war album "Back to the World".


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Jeri
Date: 31 May 20 - 09:29 AM

Starship, let us not forget Johnny Cash.

The cruise I go on annually (and hope to again, one day), this most recent one feature Mavis Staples, and she has lost absolutely nothin'!

You're Not Alone - Accoustic
You're Not Alone - the recorded version

(Written by Jeff Tweedy)


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: Jeri
Date: 31 May 20 - 09:34 AM

And to keep wit the literal subject, "of the sixties". Youtube seems to favor fluff.
When Will We Be Paid - Staples Singers.


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Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 31 May 20 - 11:58 AM

Yeppers, Jeri.


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