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  • Phil Ochs Archive Now Housed at The Woody Guthrie Center

    Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:26:55

    Phil Ochs Archive Now Housed at The Woody Guthrie Center - It's a protest music & folk treasure trove

    A folk/protest music treasure trove is on its way to The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, OK. The Center will soon house the Phil Ochs Archive consisting of Ochs' lyrics, posters, songbooks, photos, videos and more. The collection, donated by his daughter, will be unveiled at an event later this fall.

    "The topical songs that Phil Ochs wrote are still relevant today, just as the music of Woody Guthrie continues to address the struggles that we face in our society," said Deana McCloud, Executive Director for the Woody Guthrie Center. "We are honored to be the caretakers of the work that these advocates for social justice left, and we look forward to expanding our collection in the future to include more work that is empowering, gives voice to the voiceless and makes positive changes in our society."

    Ochs wrote hundreds of songs and released eight albums as a topical songwriter in the 1960s and '70s. Songs like "I Ain't Marching Anymore," "Changes," "Power and the Glory" and "The War Is Over" are among his most popular songs.

    "I lost my father at an early age, and I think I clung to his possessions because of that," said Ochs' daughter and donor of the collection, Meegan Lee Ochs. "When approached by the Woody Guthrie Center about donating the collection, it suddenly seemed so important for his journals and innumerable notepads where he captured small details alongside moments of genius to be available to those who might want to see and learn from them. I hope somewhere, Woody and my dad are smiling."

    Researchers will have access to tapes and videos of Ochs' TV appearances, scrapbooks, articles written by and about Ochs and countless photos. The collection will also include Ochs' gold lame suit, made by Elvis Presley's tailor and costumer Nudie Cohn. Ochs wore this suit on the cover of his albums Greatest Hits and Gunfight at Carnegie Hall, released in 1970. The Woody Guthrie Center will integrate items from the collection into future exhibits.

    "I am so thrilled that the Phil Ochs archives will sit alongside Woody's at the Woody Guthrie Center. Phil was one of Woody's closest proteges, a true 'son.' His music and life steadfastly responded to the toughest, and most controversial, issues of his generation," said Nora Guthrie, daughter of Woody Guthrie. "He was a uniquely fearless and outspoken artist, as was my father. Having their archives in one place is the absolute mother lode for scholars and historians covering the arts and the issues of the twentieth century."

    The Woody Guthrie Center looks to add more collections in the future to house alongside Woody Guthrie's memorabilia. For more information about the collection or donating to the Woody Guthrie Center, please call (918) 574-2710.

    Do you have a favorite folk artist?

    —Amy Sciarretto

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