For May Day, a nifty primer from the AV Club (who are great at nifty primers) on Phil Ochs, as compared to his contemporary, Pete Seeger. (At 92, Pete has been the contemporary of about 5 generations of singers.) The last line below nails it. I loved Phil because of his indignation.
Folk music though had changed all around Ochs, following the lead of singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, who worked more in the vein of personal narrative and allusive poetry than of social protest. While the rest of popular culture in the early ’70s took on a grittier, more “relevant” tone, folk music became softer and prettier, taking its cues from Laurel Canyon instead of Greenwich Village. Ochs never got the chance to make his Court & Spark—or even his Blood On The Tracks. His pop albums were too idiosyncratic, and his politics too confrontational. He wasn’t made for mellow.