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Rehearsals for Retirement/Gunfight at Carnegie Hall Double CD

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 1980)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Collector's Choice Music
  • ASIN: B00004YL2J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,114 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Pretty Smart On My Part
  2. The Doll House
  3. I Kill Therefore I Am
  4. William Butler Yeats Visits Lincoln Park And Escapes Unscathed
  5. My Life
  6. The Scorpion Departs But Never Returns
  7. The World Began In Eden But Ended In Los Angeles
  8. Doesn't Lenny Live Here Anymore
  9. Another Age
  10. Rehearsals For Retirement

Disc: 2

  1. Mona Lisa
  2. I Ain't Marchin' Anymore
  3. Oakie From Meskogee
  4. Chords Of Fame
  5. Buddy Holly Medley: Not Fade Away/I'm Gonna Love You Too/Think It Over/Oh Boy/Everyday It's So...
  6. Pleasures Of The Harbor
  7. Tape From California
  8. Elvis Medley And Encore: My Baby Left Me/I'm Ready/Heartbreak Hotel/All Shook Up/Are You Lonesome...
  9. A Fool Such As I

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
"Gunfight at Carnegie Hall"? -well maybe, but I never took to this album that much. Medleys are ok in their place, but.... However, the "Rehearsals..." is another 'Can't live without' album, that has scorched itself forever in my mind and heart. "Pretty Smart..." sends up the redneck and unthinking brutality and mentality of contemporary America. Some of the other tracks lament the passing of free speech and action. Ochs was horrified when the troops marched on, gassed (and killed) young, unarmed protesting students. He didn't want to be an 'American' anymore, (-hence the tombstone on the cover). "Lenny doesn't live here..." is Phil's eulogy and tribute to Lenny Bruce, who was as committed to social change as Phil, and unfortunately also died by his own hand... "Another Age" has the chorus which, as he sings the refrain, also reads as "Another RAGE" 'cos Phil was downright (and justifiably) angry with the way things were. This track has lines in it that are still very relevent today, like; "The dogs are chasing chicken bones, across the (White House) Lawn, -if that was an election, -I'm a Vietcong!!; So I pledge allegiance AGAINST the Flag, and the fall for which it stands; -I'll RAZE it if I can!!" "The Scorpion..", well, I've never been totally sure what this track was completely about, but it's haunting beauty, and poetic images are etched indelibly upon my consciousness forever! And then "My Life", -another beautiful autobiographical note, tells also of the hassles Phil had, in taking an uncompromising stance against all that was corrupt and insane in the USA. (He sings here of suffering phone tapping by the USA government, who hated his firey, revolutionary oulook and songs.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Rehearsals for Retirement is a reasonably good LP which features Ochs experimenting with electric guitar and a backing band rather than his more usual acoustic guitar and shows an interesting phase in his development. many of the lyrics are in his traditional hard-hitting left-wing style. Gunfight at Carnegie Hall however is the recording of a concert where he alienated his audience early on and things go downhill from there on. In hindsight, it is clear that he was beginning to suffer from some of the mental health problems that eventually brought about his tragic demise.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9af75dec) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b37984c) out of 5 stars ROR 5 Stars w Gunfight as an entertaining curio 7 May 2005
By Tad Nastic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Rehearsals for Retirement" is probably Och's most personal album. Considering his demons, then, this may be somewhat harrowing an experience for some listeners. Owing to later events, one senses the "retirement" he's singing about wasn't only referring to a possible career change. The music, however, is the best of his career--ranging from beautiful to rocking. As for the lyrics, ROR captures his typical sarcasm, this time around dealing with the underwhelming results of the 1968 Democratic convention protests. Evidently, though, the event was life-changing for socially-conscious Ochs, and, thus, accounts for much of the disillusionment he also sings about here. Overall, I doubt fewer more significant "primal screams" have ever been recorded.

As for the gold-suited wearing Ochs' of "Gunfight," it's an entertaining as well as interesting concert to hear. In my opinion, it contains the best version of "Tape From California"--it rocks! Those who didn't like Ochs' wardrobe at the time, nor his choice of covers, were just short-sighted in my opinion, and missed the humor. In short, a good album and not quite the "beginning of the end" a lot of people read it as. How I understand it, Ochs' vocal chords were damaged shortly before he died and, thus, doomed his career more than any lack of interest on the public's part (though there was plenty of that, too, in 1976).

Too bad the movie was never made that was intended to star Sean Penn. Och's career deserves to be better known--"Rehearsals for Retirement" ESPECIALLY deserves a listen. Ochs, perhaps to his misfortune, was a performer who believed in the causes he sang about. And, of course, much of what he sang about is still relevant today. However, unlike Ochs, I still have hope (partially thanks to people like Ochs, ironically--not for his death [Gandhi and MLK serve as better martyrs for those who need one], but for his ability to capture a shared sentiment in song).

In short: Buy this. I don't like the double package either--each album is strong enough to carry its own. However, from my own experience, I was grateful for the opportunity of hearing Gunfight for the first time, which was initially released only in Canada and was long out-of-print.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b37999c) out of 5 stars Great music, terrible packaging 3 Jan. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Why these albums are sold together I'll never know. Perhaps it's to punish those of us who managed to buy the edition of Gunfight at Carnegie Hall formerly sold by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. This seems to be a trend with Phil Ochs' music- those of us who bought Live at Newport were similarly taken when Vanguard decided to issue another CD (The Early Years) of some new material and all of the Newport recordings. I hope that Michael Ochs (or someone) can get the record companies to stop ripping off Phil Ochs fans- it doesn't help build fan loyalty.
Gunfight at Carnegie Hall is one of the best live albums of all time. While there may be problems with Phil's playing and his voice, the passion in his performance is clear. The gunfight title is apt, as there is clear tension between the audience and Phil at the beginning, but then his energy wins them over. Why there hasn't been a release of the entire concert is beyond me. (Although one can catch "School Days" on the American Troubadour CD.) Also, the sound quality on this CD is noticably inferior to that of the MFSL disc.
Rehearsals for Retirement is also very good. "Pretty Smart on My Part" is a real highlight. Since this is the first time the album has been available on CD, it's worth it to buy the set for this recording, even if you already have Gunfight. I just wish it hadn't been necessary to buy both albums!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b379a68) out of 5 stars Underrated classic/fascinating curio 9 Mar. 2001
By Adam K. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I stumbled onto Phil Ochs about thirty years too late, buying a discounted version of "American Troubadour", and have been hooked ever since. His later work, especially, touches and captivates me --- Leonard Cohen as sung by Buddy Holly. It was actually on the US election day that I walked into a shop in Soho, London, and found this cd release, and was thrilled beyond belief. It is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the great, underrated albums of the 60's, a bitter and reflective twist on the flower-power era. Still retaining something of his sense of humour, it's an elegiac epitaph for Phil and for his generation.
"Gunfight at the Carnegie Hall" is interesting, if only for its history, but it only reflects a fraction of the actual length, and fairly straightforward covers of rock n'roll standards are as ordinary now as they were baffling then. It still has a stunning live version of "Pleasures of the Harbour", but this can be found on "American Troubadour", anyway. I've tried listening to the comments shouted up from the audience, but they're very hard to hear, so you don't even get the combative atmosphere that you get from Dylan's "1966 Live" cd -- it just sounds like a show that didn't go down too well.
Still, this is well worth buying for "Pleasure of the Harbour" alone. SO BUY IT!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b379804) out of 5 stars I was at the gunfight at carnegie hall--a historic night! 2 Mar. 2007
By Robert Hodes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I don't know why people think the concert at Carnegie Hall was a failure of some sort. It wasn't. I was present at the late show which began at midnight. After the earlier show, Phil broke through one of the windows at the entrance when they woulnd't let him back in. I think he had stitches and he was pretty drunk but he played the second show anyway. And what a show it was! I can only tell you that after some resistance the crowd did get what he was doing and the show went on for hours. In fact everyone was dancing by the end, including the ushers. Even after management attempted to turn off the power the concert continued! (Phil said "Turn the power on-pass it back!" and within minutes the entire place was demanding more power and they did turn it back on.) I have been to a couple of hundred concerts over the years and this one ranks as one of the best, if not the best! It was an utterly legendary night! I miss Phil Ochs.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b3640f0) out of 5 stars An odd pairing, to say the least. 24 May 2008
By The Man On The Flaming Pie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First of all, I'll say that I think that the pairing of these two albums is kind of strange. The only thing they really have in common is that they're both among Phil's last albums. Stylistically, they're hardly similar. Gunfight At Carnegie hall would have been better paired with Greatest Hits, both having their share of Ochsian country and classic R&R. Maybe Collector's Choice thought that Greatest Hits was actually a greatest hits album and skipped over it--I don't know. But I digress.
Rehearsals For Retirement is possibly Phil Ochs' best album, certainly his most accessible ("My Life" should have been a hit), and most certainly his most emotional. After the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Phil's psyche was in turmoil. Frustrated with politics, he channeled his pain and anger and turned it into something beautiful: this album. You can hear his anger in the rockier tracks ("Another Age," "Pretty Smart On My Part," and especially "I Kill Therefore I Am"), his sadness and desolation in piano-laden songs such as "The Doll House" and the title track, and his trademark humanity in "William Butler Yeats..." and "The Scorpion Departs But Never Returns." There's also a glimpse of the Ochs brand of humor in a short piece at the end of the fourth track called "Where Were You In Chicago?" In short, Rehearsals For Retirement is a culmination of all the best elements from Phil's previous albums.
Gunfight At Carnegie Hall is an odd album in and of itself. Most people know the basic story behind Phil's ill-fated "gold suit" tour, especially this infamous concert at New York's Carnegie Hall, so I won't get too much into that. Unfortunately, this album amounts to just a few audio snapshots of that event. A&M, I believe, were going for a "NEW" Phil Ochs album, rather than a traditional live album, much of the included songs being Ochs material that was new to the public. Phil and his band perform a rocking (albeit shortened) version of "Tape From California" and a stunning, stripped-down version of "Pleasures Of The Harbor." Phil goes solo & acoustic for "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore," which gets the best response from the audience. (Reportedly, throughout the show, the audience would loudly cheer the vintage Ochs material and boo whenever the band walked onto the stage.) The Elvis and Buddy Holly covers may be a little too faithful to the originals, but I think Phil was more concerned with paying tribute to his idols rather than playing "his versions" of their material. Say what you will about the medleys, but where else are you going to hear Phil Ochs sing a song like "Are You Lonesome Tonight?!" However, it's Phil's (drunken) humor and his conviction to the material that really makes this set interesting. His between-song banter gives the listener a slight idea of what the show was like, from getting a hearty reception from the crowd when talking about revolution to responding humorously to the boos after announcing that he's going to play a song from the `50s. At the end of the show, the audience, finally won over by Phil's heartfelt stubbornness, doesn't want him to leave. "With a gun in one hand...with a guitar in the other," he at least tamed Carnegie Hall.
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