I Ain't Marching Anymore

I Ain't Marching Anymore

If one wanted to own just one album to represent the political-protest folk-song movement of Greenwich Village in the '60s, Phil Ochs' I Ain't Marching Any More is among the best representations of that time and place. Ochs' first album, 1964's All the News That's Fit to Sing, has moments of beauty, but its topicality may be tied too closely to the events of its era for modern listeners. Marching, on the other hand, is mostly still right on target—unfortunately so, in the case of "That's What I Want to Hear," where machines and outsourcing are taking jobs away. "In the Heat of the Summer" is a brilliant lament of the awful conditions that lead to riots. "That Was the President" eulogizes John F. Kennedy with an angry and heartbroken poignancy. "Iron Lady" sketches an ominous portrait of capital punishment, while a version of Ewan MacColl's "Ballad of a Carpenter" tells the story of Jesus' work among the poor. Yet, though the messages are strong, Ochs never forgets that these are songs; the melodies here are among his most enduring.

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