Tape From California 1100


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    Tape From California 1100 Collectors' Choice Music

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Review Text On his fourth album, Pleasures of the Harbor, Phil Ochs broke from both his topical songwriting style and his acoustic folk music approach for an album of long, poetic songs set to elaborate, eclectic arrangements. For its follow-up, Tape from California, he combined his earlier and more recent styles, addressing such issues as war and union organizing along with more discursive efforts, and including a few more complicated arrangements mixed in with simple guitar accompaniments. There were some directly political efforts, but in the more poetic songs, Ochs seemed to be painting a portrait of a desperate, debased society and his own sense of personal decline. For example, the marathon "When in Rome" conflated images from slavery, the Nuremberg trials, and ancient Rome to compile a compendium of evil and decadence through the centuries, clearly implying that the present day was another such era. Ochs imbued his lyrics with his characteristic sense of irony, and the arrangements by producer Larry Marks, Bob Thompson, and Ian Freebairn-Smith complemented the songs wittily. But released in the middle of 1968, the most tumultuous year of the tumultuous '60s, Tape from California was often hard to listen to, because it was such a frighteningly accurate portrait of its times, eerily mirroring the point at which passionate argument over the direction of the country spilled over into violence and a widespread sense of absurdity. ~ William Ruhlmann

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Tape from California - 7:46
  2. 2. White Boots Marching in a Yellow Land - 4:32
  3. 3. Half a Century High - 3:50
  4. 4. Joe Hill - 7:19
  5. 5. War Is Over - 4:22
  6. 6. Harder They Fell - 4:55
  7. 7. When in Rome - 13:14
  8. 8. Floods of Florence - 5:53

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