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The Parade's Still Passing By

This is a slightly perplexing song until you know that it was written as a tribute to fellow singer songwriter Phil Ochs.

Until I found this out I had heard none of Ochs' music except the wonderful version of There But For Fortune by Joan Baez. After hearing Harry's song I looked out Ochs' music and soon understood its power and beauty and just why Harry wrote this song.

Of all the great American songwriters I believe Ochs was the most overtly political. His biting satire and lyrics are straight and often to the point.

Sadly Ochs' frustrations was in never having been accepted and never having the recognition of somebody like Dylan.

He committed suicide. I think he would have been touched by Harry's memorial which intertwines the titles of some of Ochs' best songs.

Harry is heralding Ochs' work and saying that his music stood with the best. A memorial to another truly free spirit. Incidentally there are some excellent web sites on Ochs.

       I got the news today
       That you refused to play
       Cause you never made number one
       But it's not just the words
       It's the deeds that are heard
       When all is said and done
       Kings take their crowns
       They melt them all down
       Trying to get the gold out
       You went to hell and
       Even when you weren't selling
       You never ever sold out.

       You weren't no leader
       You were more like a bleeder
       Who was trying to cry for us all
       You weren't no sage
       But your sense of outrage
       Sounded like a trumpet call
       Fifteen years ago
       In the old folky show
       You were just one voice in the crowd
       But now with so few singing
       Your voice would have been ringing
       Out 'bout twice as loud.

       There but for fortune
       Say a small circle of friends
       Some may see the changes
       So few see the ends
       The pleasures of the harbor
       Have come to you at last
       You may not be marching anymore
       But the parade's still going past

       I'm not taking the blame
       That we killed you
       You know you did that to yourself
       But it was kind of a shame
       That you played that game
       Cause you were better than anyone else
       One shot of your bottle
       Got you full throttle
       It was the friend that was always there
       But your greatest gift
       And the curse you lived with
       Was that you could always care.
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