…the lonely in disguise are clinging to the crowd

Dylan had gone electric; the Beatles had just released “Sgt. Pepper”. And the prolific, insightful, sardonic and poignantly tragic Phil Ochs wanted to make a record that reflected these trends and more.

So he hired a producer with a classical music background to help him to realize his vision. The result was his musically diverse (fourth) studio recording “Pleasures of the Harbor”.  Released in 1967,  it was his most ambitious album.

A fitting selection for a Saturday, the album’s elegiac title track was composed after Ochs saw a screening of John Ford’s 1940 film, “The Long Voyage Home”.  Listen carefully amongst the woodwinds, horns and strings. One of the session musicians on guitar was (“…send lawyers, guns and money, Dad get me out of this”) a 20 year old Warren Zevon.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Saturday 10 March 

Pleasures of the Harbor

And the ship sets the sail

They’ve lived the tale

To carry to the shore

Straining at the oars

Or staring from the rail.

And the sea bids farewell

She waves in swells

And sends them on their way

Time has been her pay

And time will have to tell.

Soon your sailing will be over

Come and take the pleasures of the harbor.

And the anchor hits the sand

The hungry hands

Have tied them to the port

The hour will be short

For leisure on the land.

And the girls scent the air

They seem so fair

With paint upon their face

Soft is their embrace

To lead them up the stairs.

Soon your sailing will be over

Come and take the pleasures of the harbor.

In the room dark and dim

Touch of skin

He asks her of her name

She answers with no shame

And not a sense of sin.

‘Til the fingers draw the blinds

Sip of wine

The cigarette of doubt

The candle is blown out

The darkness is so kind.

Soon your sailing will be over

Come and take the pleasures of the harbor.

And the shadows frame the light

Same old sight

Thrill has blown away

Now all alone they lay

Two strangers in the night.

Till his heart skips a beat

He’s on his feet

To shipmates he must join

She’s counting up the coins

He’s swallowed by the street.

Soon your sailing will be over

Come and take the pleasures of the harbor.

 In the bar hangs a cloud

The whiskey’s loud

There’s laughter in their eyes

The lonely in disguise

Are clinging to the crowd.

And the bottle fills the glass

The haze is fast

He’s trembling for the taste

Of passion gone to waste

In memories of the past.

Soon your sailing will be over

Come and take the pleasures of the harbor.

 In the alley, red with rain

Cry of pain

For love was but a smile

Teasing all the while

Now dancing down the drain.

‘Till the boys reach the dock

They gently mock

And lift him on their backs

Lay him on his rack

And leave beneath the light.

Soon your sailing will be over

Come and take the pleasures of the harbor.

And the ship sets the sail

They’ve lived the tale

To carry from the shore

Straining at the oars

Or staring from the rail.

And the sea bids farewell

She waves in swells

And sends them on their way

Time has been her pay

And time will have to tell.

Soon your sailing will be over

Come and take the pleasures of the harbor.

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