Phil Ochs Highlighted in Smithsonian Folkways Collection

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An article originally published in Broadside Balladeer Blog in appreciation of the recognition for Phil Ochs and Broadside Magazine editors Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen in the article titled “Peace Songs of the 1960s” by Ronald D. Cohen.

The article is about the Smithsonian Folkways Collection: “Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen launched “Broadside: The National Topical Song Magazine” in 1962, which soon featured numerous peace songs.

Links provided at the Broadside Balladeer Blog.

Where Have All the Poets Gone?

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Joe Hill“Back in the day” is a phrase which is usually employed by people who oppose change simply on the basis that it makes them feel old. This time though, it would be appropriate to use the phrase, simply on the basis, that things really were different back in the day.

Once upon a time, it was always the case that any kind of significant – and sometimes not-so-significant – rally or event would attract at least one angry young singer, prepared to thrust themselves to the forefront of the protest, often risking arrest or assault as they made their point. Phil Ochs, of course, was one such singer. Phil would travel anywhere for a cause he believed in, but where are the Phil Ochs’ of today?

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When Pete Met Phil

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Pete Seeger and Phil OchsJust as this site was coming back on line, the world – not “the world of folk” or “the world of music” but just “the world” – lost one of its finest sons.

Pete Seeger was a man who’d seen it all, and done most of it. He beat accusations of being “un-American”, he beat being blacklisted from the mainstream media, he even beat old age to the point where he was still performing into his 90s, but that’s not really what this article is about. There’s already been lots – lot’s and lots – written about Pete, both celebrating his life and mourning his death, and there’s not a lot I can add.

One thing that did get reported, and is worth commenting on, however, is the piece that appeared in the NYTimes. The piece talked about how Pete met Phil a few weeks before Phil killed himself, and how the burden of believing that he could have done more to help Phil weighed heavily on Pete’s shoulders for the remainder of his own life.

The very fact that this made the news at all, let alone in one of the biggest-selling newspapers on earth is quite remarkable.

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Some Site Changes

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Nearly ThereIn the rush to get the site back up and running, I had to cut some corners in the way of functionality. The biggest of these was a lack of support for mobile devices or, more specifically iOS devices.

Apple have always crippled iOS  by limiting certain functions and iOS 7 is no different. Because of this, any flash-based audio player is useless on apple devices. Actually, that’s not true, it’s really the Apple devices that are useless with flash-based elements*. Anyway, the audio player I had lying about was flash-based, but now it’s been changed to an HTML5-based player, which is much better anyway, and which means all devices can now play audio directly from the relevant pages.

This has come, however, at a temporary price, in that the downloads don’t work yet. You can download the full shows, as these are just zip files, but downloading from within the audio player isn’t quite there yet. It will be, very soon, so please be patient. If you are web/tech savvy, it’s easy enough to find the link to the files. If not, why not? It’s 2014 for heaven’s sake! [UPDATE 23 Feb: You can now download all the audio files from within the player on each page]

Also, uploads are, at present, throwing an error. This is also being looked at. [UPDATE: Uploads now work okay. You need to be logged in before uploading]

I’ll update this as soon as things are fixed.


*I’m not interested in a discussion.