I downloaded all I could from Spotify and played the music while cooking or cleaning or driving, waiting for something to catch my attention.

These are my top 5


  1. Buddy Holly Medley

The first song that really did stand out was Buddy Holly Medley. I have loved Buddy Holly since I was little and Ochs’ medley was a perfect tribute to the singer. His voice was so close to Holly’s and you could tell that the singer heavily influenced Ochs. There was something about it I can’t put my finger on, a passion or love for the music was apparent throughout the performance.

2. I Ain’t Marching Anymore

I added this as number 2 because I feel it’s an essential Phil Ochs song and should be included on any Ochs playlist. It seems to be the one he’s best known for and kinda sums up his career as a protest singer.

3. Ten Cents a Coup

The line “I dreamed that Nixon died of a suntan” is what really caught my attention on this one. In my head I changed the names to the current administration and it seemed to fit, to my amusement. Although in the case of the current U.S. president I think he would die from inhaling fake suntan spray rather than the actual sun itself. Politics aside this was a fun song, light and playful.

4.  Cross My Heart

This song struck me from the very beginning. The music tries to be hopeful and upbeat as do the vocals and lyrics but there is an overtone of sadness throughout. The singer is trying to stay upbeat in attitude by promising to give everything he has but ends the chorus with “and I hope to live” which is the opposite of optimism. His voice is haunting and beautiful in this song.

5. Ballad of Medgar Evers aka Too Many Matyrs

This song is dark and laments the deaths of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers among countless other. “Too many martyrs and too many dead,  Too many lies too many empty words were said, Too many times for too many angry men, Oh let it never be again”. This song was written in 1964 and yet 54 years later we could replace the names in this song with countless other people of color who have been murdered in recent years. That is heartbreaking.