As Chosen by Vulture.
44. Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune (2010)
Bob Dylan used to poke fun at his fellow Greenwich folkie Phil Ochs for writing protest songs too specific to outlive their moment; but as Ken Bowser’s There but for Fortune explains, a strong connection to the times has its own value. Listening to those first few Ochs albums now is like reading an old newspaper, and getting dispatches from the front line of the emerging culture wars. Just as interesting are his later, rock-oriented records, which Bowser’s film describes well: as a noble attempt to come up with an entirely new sound that fused pop, classical, and traditional folk. Ochs packed a lot into a career cut short by suicide, and There but for Fortune picks up and follows his story’s many frayed threads.