Phil Ochs, The Tears Were Falling

 I woke up, expecting to have a not so exciting day. I had to work.  I did my morning meditation,hung out with my son, our dog and our chicken (who magically showed up two years ago ), and then got ready for work.

In addition to teaching yoga,I teach musical theatre at the Boys and Girls Club,I homeschool (since the broken arm), I write this fabulous blog (ha!) , I play ukulele, create healthy food, perform, garden, and  many other things. Typical Gemini!    Being a single mom, and all the tasks required, can really take it’s toll. I am exhausted alot.  Anyways, I  have another job too (of course I do). I work at the Lake Worth Playhouse in the box office. The Playhouse has been an amazing blessing in both my life and my son’s…. as it is for many.   The Playhouse, is family.  But I’ll write more about that later.

Anyways, I sometimes work on the weekend, if we have a show. We had a show this weekend.  The Songs of Phil Ochs, a tribute concert.

The songs of Phil Ochs

 I had heard of Phil Ochs, of course.  My friend Emilie loves the song, “Love me I’m A Liberal”… so much she has sung the whole song for me on at least two different occasions. She says “This song is so badass.”   And  It is. 🙂 So,  I knew of Phil Ochs. I knew he was a folk singer.  I knew he was a political activist.  I didn’t know he suffered from manic depression.  And I didn’t know he had commited suicide.

Anyways, back to the show-I was helping people to their seats when the first song began. I noticed Phil’s sister, Sonny Ochs, sitting on stage, and i was suddenly overcome with intense emotion. It is both a blessing and a curse to be an empath.  I started crying. A confusing kind of crying… I wondered “Why am I crying?  Am I sad or happy? Where is this coming from?”   I had no idea at the time…But I think it was the combination of both beauty and pain that radiates through his music and his memory.  

If you have ever loved anyone who suffers from manic depression (Bipolar), it can be heartbreaking. I have known lovers and dear friends who are  tormented by the disease.  When you love someone with any sort of severe mental illness, you are on the ride and you have no idea where it will go. It is very painful and confusing. Scary and totally consuming. You are helpless. Deeply scarred.

Seeing Sonny Ochs on stage singing along to her brothers songs, really struck a chord with me.  I was overcome with emotion, and I wasn’t getting my period!  Phil Ochs created brilliant, funny, and heartbreaking songs.  Songs written by someone who cared deeply.  Songs that are being kept alive through love.   Through pain and tragedy, our life often leads us down paths we never intended, but beautiful paths nonetheless.

The show was special.  It was part concert, part history lesson. His songs are deep. His songs are still relevant today. Changes, is one of my favorite songs. I am learning to play it on the ukulele.

 There was a reception between performances. I  felt compelled to talk to Sonny.   I had intended to merely thank her and leave, but I just kept talking. Gemini! We spoke of Phil’s music, then she asked about my son’s broken arm. We talked about mental illness. We talked about the awesome creativity, the deep dark depression, and  the psychosis, that comes with severe mental illness.  We spoke about how it had affected our loved ones. I cried again.  Damn emotions.

Me, my son, Sonny Ochs, and Joyce Brown

There is a documentary called Phil Ochs-There But For Fortune, available online on PBS. Amazing. It is a brilliant documentary and history lesson. The footage is incredible.

 Here is the link. Watch it. You will be glad you did.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/phil-ochs-there-but-for-fortune/watch-the-full-documentary/1962/

Thanks for the music Phil. And thanks to Sonny for keeping his music alive and sharing some time with me. 🙂 And of course thanks to everyone for making the event come to life! 🙂

 ~T

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2 thoughts on “Phil Ochs, The Tears Were Falling

  1. Pam

    The tv version of this documentary had eleven minutes cut for time. Please see the Netflix or DVD version to see the missing footage which includes his childhood and early adulthood.

    1. Yes, If you can see the original version, choose that for sure! 🙂 Pam, thanks for reading and thanks for the helpful information. I didn’t even think about the original version being longer. 🙂

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