A Phil Ochs Playlist For Your Liberal Love

Most protesters and activists, regardless of their passion for social justice and making a change in the world, is afflicted and driven by a little thing called “love”. In order to dedicate your life and your craft to deep issues that pain our country, there has to be a large emotional devotion to the art that you make.

The case for Phil Ochs may be different, he married only once to Alice Skinner, with whom he had Meegan Lee Ochs. However, his songs are filled with snapshots and chronicles of people and some insight into his view on love.

I decided to craft a playlist with some of Phil Ochs’ most emotional songs that talk a little bit about love, which you can dedicate to your liberal sweetheart, wrap it up in a bow, and say to them: “Love Me, I’m a Liberal”

(side-note: “Love Me, I’m a Liberal is not included in the playlist because it would make it too cliche)

I chose the following songs, which I will accompany with the specific lyrics in them that earned them a spot on the playlist.

The playlist can be found at the end of the post.

“Hills of West Virginia”

I started the playlist out with this track because Phil Ochs sings about a trip out to West Virginia with someone, watching all the natural wonders and the people as they travel on the road. It’s as though the entire universe and hills of West Virginia are personified to cater to their enjoyment as they travel the world.

Lyric to listen out for:

The Virginia people watched as we went riding by
Oh, proud as a boulder they were standing
And we wondered at each other with a meeting of the eye
When we drove thought the hills of West Virginia


Lyric to listen out for:

So many years were stolen, so many years are gone
And the vision of my Celia make dreams to dream upon
Each hour is a day filled with memories
Oh, when will Celia come to me?

I wake each morning and I watch the sun arise
Wonder if my Celia sleeps, wonder if she cries
If hate must be my prison lock, love must be the key
Oh, when will Celia come to me?


Lyric to listen out for:

Your tears will be trembling, now we’re somewhere else
One last cup of wine we will pour
And I’ll kiss you one more time, and leave you on
The rolling river shores of changes

Sit by my side, come as close as the air
Share in a memory of gray
Wander in my words, dream about the pictures
That I play of changes

“Flower Lady”

This one isn’t really a love song, but it talks about the lack of love in the world and how we need to buy more flowers to keep the flower lady filled with hope, which I think carries a lot of good sentiment, and is a nice way to follow-up “Changes” in the playlist.

Lyric to listen out for:

Lover’s quarrel, snarl away their happiness
Kissed crumble in a web of lonliness
It’s written by the poison pen
Voices break before they bend
The door is slammed
It’s over, once again
But nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady

“Gas Station Woman”

This track is for when things are going right, but you want it to work out.

Lyric to listen out for:

I cannot face another girl, I believe I’ll turn to drink

“Cross My Heart”

Again, a really nice follow-up to “Gas Station Woman”

Lyric to listen out for:

But I’m gonna give all that I’ve got to give
Cross my heart, and I hope to live

“I’ve Had Her”

In my perspective, this song can either be a testament of true love despite temptation or the kind of song you listen to when things completely went down the drain and you’re trying to make yourself feel better. I’ll let you be the judge. Regardless, I think it might be on of Ochs’ most mythical and allegorical songs, which carries a lot of beauty to it.

Lyric to listen out for:

The vision of the seven veils are racing down the road
Signs are slow
The signs are slow
But beauty is the mistress and the beauty you’ve been told
You’d speed the route for her
You’d speed the route for her


One thought on “A Phil Ochs Playlist For Your Liberal Love

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