Phil Ochs John Berendt - Essay

John Berendt

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Ochs was known as the troubadour of the New Left. He was the most radically committed performer of the Sixties, several steps beyond Jane Fonda and about on a par with Dick Gregory. He wrote topical songs of protest and was as happy singing them at the barricades as at Carnegie Hall. They were, as he well understood, a form of political theater. They could stir emotions and, under the right circumstances, provoke action. This is what he deeply hoped would happen.

Ochs wrote songs with lyrics worth listening to. They were simple and direct and made their point whether with a heavy or a gentle touch. Bluntly honest, three of his funniest songs were actually directed at the hypocrisy of his own...

(The entire section is 557 words.)