In the spring of '76, Phil Ochs committed suicide at 35. He was a victim of inner demons such as alcoholism and depression, the decline of his songwriting gifts, changing tastes by former fans, failed attempts to become a different kind of singer, and sundry personal disappointments. Ten years earlier, I had attended a concert by him in central New Jersey in which he powerfully commanded the stage for two hours performing his best songs written in the first half of the '60's, on the topics of civil rights, military drafts, US foreign policy, poverty and personal idealism. A few of those songs are present on this disc, done live at the Newport Folk Festival. However, this one is weakened by the inclusion of three really long songs that just do not hold the attention of listeners: "Cross My Heart" and "Half a Century High" and "The Party" occupy 20 minutes, nearly half the program, but can't match the intensity and cleverness of his earlier songs "Medgar Evers" and "Birmingham Jam" and "Power and the Glory" and "Draft Dodger Rag" and "I Ain't Marching Anymore." Since Phil was a topical writer during one of the worst decades in American cultural and political history, some of his songs are outdated now, and more are just not understood by those too young to have remembered the events leading to their creation. So this CD is half great, half not. For a better sample of Phil at his best, try to find the Elektra CD "There But For Fortune." It has 18 tracks, only two of which are a bit under the quality of the other 16. He was never one of the world's best folk vocalists, registering a cut above Peter La Farge, and maybe Dylan, but way below Cisco Houston, Ed McCurdy or Logan English. Find the other CD, and listen to "Here's to the State of Mississippi" which is nearly six minutes of condemnation for the most violent anti-civil rights region of the country, but all too true. That one, along with the best on the disc from Newport, displays Phil's gifts well. Other great Ochs contributions include setting the Alfred Noyes' poem "The Highwayman" to music, along with Edgar Allen Poe's "The Bells." I like his personal anthem, "When I'm Gone", "Crucifixion" and the more famous "Changes." For the five years or so when Phil Ochs was one of the leaders of the urban folk protest "movement" he was a major influence on many fans. He faded fast, and fell far, but briefly, he was indeed a star.