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Pat Wictor | This Is Absolutely Real

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Folk: Singer/Songwriter Folk: Political Folk Moods: Type: Lyrical
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This Is Absolutely Real

by Pat Wictor

The brilliant melodies and lyrics of Phil Ochs, given new life and creatively reinterpreted.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Scorpion Departs
4:20 $0.99
2. There but for Fortune
4:22 $0.99
3. Lincoln Park
4:27 $0.99
4. Knock on the Door
5:35 $0.99
5. First Snow
2:55 $0.99
6. City Boy
4:35 $0.99
7. I'm Tired
2:22 $0.99
8. Celia
4:02 $0.99
9. The Trial
2:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Phil Ochs, best known as a writer of topical and political songs, was also a brilliant composer of enduring melodies and lyrics of startling poetic power. This collection consists entirely of songs that he wrote. Some songs look outward at the workings of power in the world, and others look inwards at the workings of the heart. Most of the songs do both, and masterfully. In the search for the emotional core of each song, I've taken musical liberties - most of these versions range a long ways from Phil's own performances and arrangements. But I believe the versions here have stayed faithful to Phil's spirit and intent. If this recording serves to introduce a few more folks to the music of Phil Ochs, I'll have done my job.
- Pat Wictor, Brooklyn, NY

I'm so glad that Pat Wictor has created this CD, which brings Phil's music to a different level.  He has come up with some very strong and creative interpretations of Phil's songs.   It's neat to hear some of Phil's better known songs  ("There But For Fortune", "Celia", and "The Scorpion") together with songs that most people may not have heard before ("City Boy", "The Trial", "I'm Tired" and "First Snow”).  Thank you, Pat!
-Sonny Ochs, WIOX, Roxbury, NY

This new album sounds unlike anything Pat Wictor has done before, either with Brother Sun or as a solo artist. These Phil Ochs songs, many of them unexpected choices, are rendered with impeccable production that gives added urgency to lyrics that still resonate today.
-John Platt, WFUV, Bronx, NY

By choosing some of the deeper tracks from Phil Ochs song book, Pat Wictor reveals both the beauty and depth of Ochs’s artistic achievements while adding to his own impressive accomplishments as a creative musician.  Known for his exceptional slide guitar, Pat complements his arsenal with impressive electric guitar to create fresh new sounds for these Phil Ochs gems. This welcome collection celebrates two outstanding voices – the iconic Phil Ochs as well as contemporary folk music’s standard-bearer, Pat Wictor.
-Ron Olesko, WFDU, Teaneck, NY

To the best of my knowledge, there have been only a handful of albums devoted exclusively to the songs of the late Phil Ochs. Aside from a various artists compilation in 1998, the handful of other albums by single artists or groups have travelled familiar territory, staying with Ochs’ better known songs.

Pat Wictor is no stranger to the songs of Phil Ochs. He recorded Ochs and Bob Gibson’s “That’s The Way It’s Gonna Be” on a solo album, “When I’m Gone” with Brother Sun (the vocal trio of Pat, Joe Jencks and Greg Greenway), and has been an integral part of Sonny Ochs’ Phil Ochs song nights for many years.

With this album, he carves out new territory in interpreting Ochs’ songs. What is so refreshing about This is Absolutely Real: Visions and Versions of Phil Ochs is that most tracks are lesser known gems harvested from the Ochs catalogue with Wictor recasting the musical settings, making them sound incredibly fresh and very contemporary, indeed.

Aside from “There But For Fortune,” (by far the most familiar Ochs song on this new album), Wictor has gone to Ochs’ very first release for Elektra records to craft brilliant versions of “Celia” and (the still unfortunately timely) “Knock on the Door.” He has also updated the lyrics of the latter song to include a reference to the “war on terror” in a sonically- magnificent setting of this little-known Ochs song from 1964 that is a standout track on this album.

Two of the songs (“The Scorpion Departs and Never Returns” and “William Butler Yeats Visits Lincoln Park and Escapes Unscathed”) initially appeared on Ochs’ Rehearsals for Retirement, the 1969 album he released following the turmoil at the 1968 Democratic Party convention in Chicago. Both of these songs receive outstanding musical treatments by Wictor with the assistance of a group of superb musicians including percussionist Cheryl Prashker.

Rounding out the collection are four songs that may be obscure even to those very familiar with Ochs’ studio albums: these are songs recorded for the most part in the early and mid-1960’s, only appearing many years later in posthumous collections. Wictor employs doo-wop harmonies for “I’m Tired” and has electric guitars blazing in a full-fledged rocker setting for “The Trial.”

This is an exceptional album serving not only to remind us of Ochs’ songwriting excellence but also to highlight the work of Pat Wictor, a true musical craftsman, in staging impressive new settings for these songs.
-Charlie Backfish, WUSB, Stony Brook, NY



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