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Pioneers: Phil Ochs

Mark Kemp, Texas Music, Spring 2009

WHEN CONVERSATION turns to the great lyricists of the '60s and '70s, Bob Dylan's name invariably comes first. Then maybe John Lennon, Neil Young, Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye. A name rarely mentioned in the Top 10 – or even the Top 50 – is Phil Ochs, who may well be the most important of them all. His steadfast fearlessness in the face of pressure from both government thugs and the music industry sparked some of the most button-pushing songs of the civil rights and Vietnam War era: 'Draft Dodger's Rag,' 'I Ain't Marching Anymore,' 'Power and the Glory,' 'Here's to the State of Mississippi.'

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