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Lunchtime Music – Phil Ochs – Flower Lady from Pleasures of the Harbor

Pleasures of the Harbor

So for whatever reason, maybe it was that I read yesterday that the 1968 Democratic National Convention started on August 26th, or maybe it’s just that lately I’ve been thinking about folksingers from the Sixties, but last night I listened to The War is Over: The Best of Phil Ochs. Phil’s music made a big impact on my world and political views in the Sixties and into the 70s, as he did on many of us long-haired types! Probably the first song of Phil’s that caught my attention was “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends”, but I quickly learned to love them all from “Here’s to the State of Mississippi” to  “Rehearsals for Retirement”. Phil’s music always seemed to be with me. The album includes several tracks from his albums on A&M records like Pleasures of the Harbor and Tape From California. Here’s some background from Wikipedia about the album Pleasures of the Harbor:

Pleasures of the Harbor is Phil Ochs’ fourth full-length album and his first for A&M Records, released in 1967. It is one of Ochs’s most somber albums. In stark contrast to his three albums for Elektra Records which had all been basically folk music, Pleasures of the Harbor featured traces of classical, rock and roll, Dixieland jazz and experimental synthesized music crossing with folk, in hopes of producing a “folk-pop” crossover.Continue Reading

At Allmusic the album is an album pick and reviewer William Ruhlmann writes:

Going into the studio after Dylan’s move into rock accompaniment and Sgt. Pepper’s vast expansion of pop music, Ochs wanted to make a record that reflected all these trends, and he hired producer Larry Marks, arranger Ian Freebairn-Smith, and pianist Lincoln Mayorga — all of whom had classical backgrounds — to help him realize his vision. The result was Pleasures of the Harbor, his most musically varied and ambitious album, one routinely cited as his greatest accomplishment. Though the lyrics were usually not directly political, they continued to reflect his established points of view. His social criticisms here were complex, and they went largely unnoticed on a long album full of long songs, many of which did not support the literal interpretations they nevertheless received. Read More

So here’s some lunchtime music from Phil, one of my all time favorites, “Flower Lady” Phil on a live recording said this during the intro to the song “Unlike politics and TV you have to listen to the words”. I say yes, because create the images!! From Wikipedia:

“Flower Lady” was a six-minute narrative about contrasting characters in the city, with each anecdote having one thing in common; everyone ignores the poor woman trying to sell her flowers.