Phil Ochs, Patriot

Among the political left, there has long been a tradition of the radical folk song masked as a patriotic ditty. Paul Robeson sung “The House I Live In” and “Ballad for Americans”; Woody Guthrie sung “This Land Is Your Land”; Pete Seeger sung “If I Had a Hammer,” and so on.

Phil Ochs, who died 39 years ago last week, continued that tradition. “The Power and the Glory” was Phil’s stirring contribution to the genre. He was clever enough in constructing the song that it was covered by arch-conservative songbird Anita Bryant.

Phil’s anthem gets you out of bed Monday morning, saluting the flag, and stuffing The Communist Manifesto in your back pocket en route to the demo.

Click on the video for the song, and the words in English and Spanish, and an additional unrecorded final verse reportedly written by Theo Bikel.

RIP Phil.