Folk music was utterly simple, based on three chords and a message, and it held the secrets that made our older brothers seem so cool. It was the tollbooth to Ginsberg and Ché and terrors about the draft, and just like punk rock it could instruct and incite and hold those in power accountable. I think this has been way overlooked: For many of us, Folk served as a gateway to punk as logically as the Stooges, the Seeds, or Nuggets did.
Even at age 14 or 15, I sensed that Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, or Tom Paxton were coming from the same place as Joe Strummer or Johnny Rotten (and I have written, on numerous occasions, that Ochs, with his peculiar and aggressive wit and desire to hold the hypocritical to the fire of truth, was the closest thing America ever had to Johnny Rotten).
Around age 13 I became almost obsessively enamored of Phil Ochs, a quirky, moody, sarcastic songwriter of extraordinary vision and sensitivity.
I now recognize that my deep love of Ochs was also my first entrée to the dark, sardonic, melodic poet singers like Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Scott Walker, and even (going a bit sideways) Nick Drake and Elliot Smith.
Ochs taught me the beauty that could be found in the most talented, troubled mind, and I was severely attached to his nearly savagely confessional later work, like Rehearsals for Retirement.
Read more at . . .Your Facebook Teenage ‘10 Albums’ Lists Matter More Than You Think
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