In the last couple of months, I have reviewed a live Robbie Basho album, gone to see Ciaran Nugent, Ben Reynolds, Jack Rose and Michael Chapman and referenced John Fahey a surely illegal number of times. But too much is, as always, not enough, so I also reviewed this solo album from Max Ochs (Phil Ochs’ cousin)…follow the jump for actual commentary on the album. I took my sweet time getting going on this one.
Hooray for Another Day
Guitarist Max Ochs recorded the two tracks that bookend Vol. 1 of the Imaginational Anthem series – two versions of the composition that gave the series its name, one recorded in Och’s Takoma heyday in 1969, the other just before the album was released. Listening to them closely, it is hard to say exactly how Ochs grew or changed in the interim. Both cuts are lovely, haunting, but at the same time physically rigorous. You could hear his fingers sliding on the strings, scraping sometimes as they reached for another chord. And there was a swinging, swaggering rhythm to the whole thing, a sense that it might pick up and saunter off at any moment.
Here on Hooray for Another Day, Och’s first solo album in many years, there is yet another version of this song, and again, it is hard to draw a straight line from the old to the new. Said Ochs, when interviewed about the tune, “The Imaginational Anthem ….evolved taking many shapes like the Trickster before that recording day. And it still ain’t finished.” It was, he added, “a tribute to Fahey, a play on ‘National Anthem,’ a rhythm derived from ‘Put Another Nickel In.’ I was lovin’ the Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Blackbird.’”