“There’s no place in this world where I’ll belong, when I’m gone, And I won’t know the right from the wrong, when I’m gone, And you won’t find me singin’ on this song, when I’m gone. So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here” - Phil Ochs
PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE is a timely tribute to an unlikely American hero. Wielding only a battered guitar, a clear voice and a quiver of razor sharp songs, Phil Ochs tirelessly fought the “good fight” for peace and justice throughout his short life.
He rose to fame in the early 1960’s during the height of the folk and protest song movement. His songs, with lyrics ripped straight from the daily news, spoke to those emboldened by the hopeful idealism of the day. As prolific as he was passionate, Ochs released seven acclaimed albums and wrote hundreds of songs in his career -- songs that became anthems for the anti-war movement and still beautifully reflect the possibilities of those turbulent times.
Sadly, by the end of '60s the mood of the country had changed and Ochs took the failings of the protest movement to heart, sinking deeply into depression and alcoholism and finally ending his own life in 1976 at the age of 35.
By the time of his death, the FBI had a dossier on him that was over 400 pages long. They would argue that he had no respect for government policies and stood against his country in a time of war. Weaving together photos, film clips, historic live performances and interviews with an array of people influenced by Ochs -- from Sean Penn to Pete Seeger, Joan Baez to Tom Hayden -- PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE paints a very different picture. Kenneth Bowser's documentary enables us to understand that Ochs’ lasting legacy in both music and politics ultimately mirrored the complexities and contradictions of the country he loved -- and his life, sadly, reflects the arc of the times in which he lived.
Music Monday presentation, Mon, Feb 21 at Ritz. Encore Show March 2 (regular price)
Music Monday is sponsored by Austin's greatest music store, End of an Ear Records, and Austin's most essential vintage furniture and decor store, Room Service.