STEFANCOMMENTATEUR DU HALL D'HONNEURTOP 50 COMMENTATEURS le 13 février 2014
All the News that's Fit to Sing est le premier album de Phil Ochs, et porte bien son nom. Parce que Phil Ochs n'est pas Dylan mais plus un ménestrel de la protest song, il décline les faits divers, les évènements politiques de son temps (le Vietnam, la crise de Cuba, etc.) de sa voix franche d'honnête homme.
Ca ne fait hélas pas toujours de très grandes chansons, d'autant que l'instrumentation minimaliste, Phil à la guitare et au chant et Danny Kalb à la seconde guitare, ne supporte parfois que très difficilement le maniérisme mélodique Ochsien qui a une fâcheuse tendance de tout niveler. C'est donc un homme pas encore tout à fait au point, mais déjà prometteur, qui chante avec tout son caeur et tout son juvénile enthousiasme et, quelquefois, touche au but. C'est le cas sur les folk parlés Talkin' Vietnam et Talking Cuba Crisis, le tubesque Power and the Glory, la jolie ballade Celia, l'entrainant Automation Song, le dramatique Knock on the Door, le cowboy doux de Bound for Glory avec John Sebastian de Lovin' Spoonful à l'harmo qui va bien, ou le presque-marachien Bullets of Mexico. Evidemment, tous ceux-ci, et les autres !, auraient bénéficié d'une instrumentation plus luxuriante pour réellement prendre leur envol. D'ailleurs, on les entend presque ces arrangements, on les imagine plus proches de Scott Walker et de ses frères que du gros de la vague revival folk new yorkaise dont Ochs fait pourtant parti. Et d'ailleurs Ochs finira par glisser vers la pop, pas avec d'aussi bonnes chansons, hélas.
Ca ne fait pas un grand album, on ne le niera pas, mais tout de même un bon album et la genèse d'une nouvelle pousse ne demandant qu'à s'épanouir. Et puis, les premières fois sont tellement émouvantes...
Phil Ochs - first guitar, vocals Danny Kalb - second guitar & John Sebastian - harmonica on "Bound For Glory"
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Brilliant Beginning28 mars 2004
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Phil Ochs experienced a rather tumultuous career, and to the world at large, only after his death has his immense talent been recognized for its rich value. I was completely captivated the very first time I heard this album - all of less than two months ago. The voice wasn't a typically smooth, polished gloss of studio fabrication. There weren't huge orchestrations. But those ingenious words and infectious passion hurled notes from the speakers that insisted on holding my ears hostage. From the biographies that I've read, Phil Ochs was an extremely ardent man, and these songs are the proof in the pudding. "The Power and Glory" should, if it isn't already, be a staple of American folk music. The beginning guitar riff is simply awesome, like little sparks of magic that cast a spell over the listener. The words that follow are extremely patriotic, which may surprise some since many of the songs are quite anti-government. But that's the message: we don't have to agree with the government to appreciate the power and glory of our land. From the song, "Her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom. Her glory shall rest on us all." "Talking Vietnam" could be perceived as a folk rap song. Phil's wicked sense of humor and keen political opinions combine to produce a sharp commentary on our then involvement in Vietnam. Even if you don't agree with his politics, it's hard to argue that his words are not marvelously profound. An excerpt: "Sailing over to Vietnam, Southeast Asian Birmingham. Well training is the word we use, Nice word to have in case we lose. Training a million Vietnamese To fight for the wrong government and the American Way." A few verses later, speaking about then President Diem of South Vietnam: "He said: `meet my sister, Madam Nhu The sweetheart of Dien Bien Phu' He said: `Meet my brothers, meet my aunts With the government that doesn't take a chance. Families that slay together, stay together.' Said: `If you want to stay you'll have to pay Over a million dollars a day. But it's worth it all, don't you see? If you lose the country you'll still have me. Me and Syngman Rhee, Chiang Kai-shek, Madam Nhu. Like I said on _Meet the Press_ "I regret that I have but one country to give for my life." ' " Phil scored music to one of Edgar Allan Poe's most hauntingly beautiful poems, "The Bells," from 1849. The song is a perfect answer to those who claim that Phil was nothing more than a singing journalist. Amazingly, he propels his guitar to mimic bells. No doubt exists that Phil definitely did justice to Poe's spectacular poem. Poe would be impressed. From the moving tribute to the legendary Woody Guthrie in "Bound for Glory," to the working man's lament in "Automation Song," to the anti-war sentiment in "One More Parade," to the encomium to the US submarine "The Thresher (which tragically sank in 1963, taking the lives of all 129 lives onboard)," and eleven more songs that one biographer says comprise what Phil called a musical newspaper, this is, the first solo album that introduced Phil Ochs to the world outside of the intimate circle of Greenwich Village. It showcased a luminous talent who never received the recognition he deserved. Phil would later branch out as his musical talents grew, but if you're new to the world of Phil Ochs or simply hunger for a slice of nourishing Americana, this is a delicious treat.
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Phil's best folk album.....19 octobre 2007
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This is my favorite of Phil Ochs's early, folk albums. While some of the songs are dated (he was a protest singer, after all), many have stood the test of time and are just as beautiful and moving today as they were all those years ago. Here, Phil offers many of his signature songs, such as Power and the Glory, which some have said suggested should be the new National Anthem. The song Celia is one of Phil's most uplifting and moving songs. Bound for Glory is a great tribute to Woody Guthrie, and despite being a bit dated, the Ballad of William Worthy is really funny (the song is about a man who was arrested for travelling to Cuba, which is still illegal, but there's a line in there about the dictatorship in Spain. Spain was under the rule of Francisco Franco when Phil wrote the song. Spain is a vibrant democracy today.). The political song What's That I Hear is still vibrant and vital, and I love the adaptation of The Bells. Phil took the famous Edgar Allen Poe poem and put it to music (another example of this is Phil's masterful song The Highwayman, which is on Phil's 2nd album I Ain't Marching Anymore. It is a poem by Alfred Noyes that Phil set to music).
Sometimes political stuff can date, especially if its too explicit and topical. Some songs do that here (and on Phil's 2nd album), but there is enough great music here to make up for this minor trangression, and Phil isn't shrill and preachy like many political artists/entertainers. He eventually stopped writing political material, and his last 4 albums are much more ambiguous and mysterious than his early work. This is the best example of his protest phrase, even though that phrase simplifies this album, which is about much more than politics. I miss Phil. I feel that politics eventually destroyed him. While his later work wasn't political, he still was actively engaged as late as 1972. But he eventually gave up music, politics, and life, and the rest of his life was a complete mess. He eventually hung himself. It was a true tragedy, as he was a great artist.
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A Masterpiece of Protest19 novembre 2011
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Phil Ochs/ All the News That's Fit to Sing: The cuts on this album are the very definition of Protest Songs (with a couple of love songs thrown in). At a time when Bob Dylan was leaving the directness of "masters of war" to paint profound pictures with his lyrics, Phil Ochs sharpened his own words into direct and savage weapons against the wrongs he saw in the world. Far from apologizing for his directness, he would go on to make yet another Classic album ("I Ain't Marching Anymore") which would be even more direct than this one. "All the News That's Fit to Sing" is a Masterpiece and belongs in the collection of every music fan worthy of the title.
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Phil would go up from here.26 juin 2012
Casey D. Graham
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It's pretty much impossible for me to write objectively about Phil Ochs and his music. I have such a deep esteem for the man and his genius. That said, I'll try to review his first Elektra release, 'All the News That's Fit to Sing.' He technically recorded an earlier album, called 'Camp Favorites,' but he's uncredited on it and none of the songs are his. I sometimes wonder how many of Phil's contemporaries were aware of that record.
I hesitate to give this album five stars, so I'm sticking with four. First of all, there has to be room to go up for the later albums - I don't think you can listen to the next three albums Phil released ('I Ain't Marching Anymore,' 'Phil Ochs in Concert,' and 'Pleasures of the Harbor'), at least, and say that this one is on par. The writing is young, very young, some of them written when Phil was only twenty years old in 1961, before he even came to New York City in the winter of 1962.
The songs that stand out most, unsurprisingly, on this album are the most timeless. Only two of the songs lasted long in Phil's repertoire, "Power and the Glory," a patriotic but socially conscious number, and "The Bells," a re-working of the Edgar Allan Poe piece. There are several very funny songs - "The Ballad of William Worthy" and the two talking blues numbers. Some of the most topical material is quite dated, like "The Thresher" and "Lou Marsh." I'm a huge fan of Phil's, but I really don't care to ever listen to those songs. Some of the other topical songs can last a bit longer, like "Too Many Martyrs" and "Celia," primarily because the latter is a statement of love. You don't even have to know the historical story.
The instrumentation is fairly typical of the period. It's Phil's guitar joined by Danny Kalb of the Blues Project, a setup that was rightfully scrapped for the next album. Phil was never too good at playing with others and the two instruments together get muddled and prevent Phil from changing tempos in order to stress and unstress words, which really takes away from the songs.
The rhyming is often very simple, a sign of a writer who hadn't found his lyrical niche and who still hadn't grasped the relationship between image and narrative and how to intertwine the two. Phil would begin to figure this out in due time. But it's that immaturity as a writer that holds back 'All the News That's Fit to Sing.' When you consider that he wrote these songs before he turned twenty-three, though, it's nonetheless an impressive statement of the times that he lived in and a great zeitgeist of the topical song movement of the early 1960s.
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Quietly Extended22 mai 2011
Donald S. Handy
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Format: Album vinyle
Originally, I had hoped to get the CD of this album, even though I worried about a lower sound quality, because there was a bonus song on the CD. "Bullets Of Mexico" was originally mistakenly added to a few original pressings of the album, in place of the song "Knock On The Door." I am happy to report that it has been added as a bonus track to this vinyl album as well, so it's the best of both worlds: the superior sound of analog-recorded songs on vinyl, as well as the relatively rare bonus track.
I already had about 1/2 of the album, both on the compilation collection "There But For Fortune," as well as on the boxed-set "Farewells and Fantasies." However, whoever picks-out the songs for inclusion on collections don't necessarily pick-out the best songs. I've been singing three songs in particular to myself ever since I discovered them, due to their memorable melody: "Celia," "Knock On The Door" and "Lou Marsh." Therefore, if you already have some of the songs, you'll be doing yourself a great favor by adding the entire album to your collection.
Great care has been taken in reproducing this album, which was manufactured by the good folks at Rhino Records. I would have preferred it had it been in mono, but Electra didn't engage in the severe separation of instruments that harms other stereo folk recordings, such as on the posthumously-released Phil Ochs album "A Toast To Those Who Are Gone."
Any and every Phil Ochs fan should own this album.