Martyn Joseph – Days of Decision

Album Review | Pipe Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson

There’s little doubt that Phil Ochs left the world too early, when he still had plenty to say.  When Bob Dylan stood down as the people’s protest singer in the mid-1960s, Phil Ochs was still only too willing to take up the mantle, still fired up and with something to say.  For Days of Decision, the noted Welsh songsmith Martyn Joseph selects fourteen songs from the Ochs’ canon and presents each one of them in its rawest and most stripped down manner, just a strummed acoustic guitar, a few simple keyboard strokes and a familiar and inimitable voice.

There’s a sense that Martyn Joseph enjoys performing such songs as “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”, “That Was the President” and the immortal “There But for Fortune” and judging by the intimate readings here, there’s some of the original passion associated with Ochs, but above all this, there’s a sense that the singer wants us to be more aware of this body of work, especially those new to the Phil Ochs repertoire.  Like many of those we have lost too early and who we seem to foist upon their legacy a sort of morbid and maudlin attachment, Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley spring to mind, the work deserves to be celebrated rather than mourned.  Martyn Joseph does this here, fourteen times over.

Choice Track: That was the President (NSV 494)