"Poison Ochs" CDR
Genres: diy pop, lo-fi, experimental rock
Dodge City KS
Aug 11 - 17 2003
never been a Phil Ochs fan. It's not that I don't like his
music, it's just that I never really listened to it. My entire
understanding of his music is comprised of hearing around three of his
songs. So when Poison Ochs, Wood Records' Phil Ochs
tribute album, came in the mail, I knew I was going to learn a thing
As is the case with all Wood Records releases, things start off
unusual right from the first track, which is Camper Van Chadbourne's
"I Kill Therefore I Am." Yep, Eugene Chadbourne! The
tune itself is a goofy junkyard of country, Celtic, and folk
influences all compounded together. Chadbourne's interpretation
of the track goes well with the lyrics, which are a political satire
of the way men are expected to act in our society. After Chadbourne's
track comes LAM's delicious space-surf rendition of "Half
a Century High" and Johnny J's surprisingly faithful
version of the infectious "Spaceman". Later, Linda Draper's
anti-folk "Flower Lady" will bring a tear to your eye; its
beautiful melody is only enhanced by Draper's adorable voice.
Even later, you get interesting experimental interpretations by Franck
Sinistra, MWF, and Ernesto Diaz-Infante. Lolwolf
composes a grand, shockingly articulate cover of "Floods of
Florence", Charles Fyant's take on "Another Age"
is typically spirited albeit off-key, and Mary Jane, Jr.
Grease Chiefs, and the Jon Thompson Orchestra all
contribute solidly melodic Ochs tunes. The album closes with
"Chords of Fame" as done by Daniel Johnston and Jad
Fair. It's a surprisingly melodic track for the Half Japanese vet,
although the guitar part isn't afraid to go typically off-tune every
once in a while.
All in all, this is a very successful DIY Phil Ochs tribute
album. It's often difficult to put together tributes because bands and
artists tend to be awfully picky about what they cover, although this
compilation sees everyone putting their heart into what they're doing.
Fun for both Ochs fans and just curious parties. As well, all
profits benefit Amnesty International.
[Vitals: 14 tracks, distributed by the
label, released 2003]