Song of the Day Revisited: Oysterband ... Put Out The Lights
Song of the Day Revisited: Tim Hart and Maddy Prior - Dancing at Whitsun

Song of the Day Revisited: Tom Paxton ... Leaving London


UPDATED: well not really, just reposted on a day - a variation of 9/11 as someone else put it - when I'd rather put negative thoughts on the USA to one side and dwell on how much good comes from that country, too. While trying to give this post a little boost on Twitter, I came across this (from another Tom Paxton, I'm relieved to say, though fair play to him for 'liking' my tweet saying as much) ...

Happy New Year to all readers. You are part of a small but select band. I recently befriended Tom Paxton at Facebook when I came across him by chance and he quickly added me as a "friend", too, after we'd exchanged brief messages. I love this man's work - read on and you'll learn of someone else's failure to find a solitary bad song he's written - and his heart has always seemed in the right place. So the Song of the Day Revisited series makes its 2015 debut with Tom singing one of the songs that I especially liked. Here is how I introduced it for the original 2011 series ...

When I inflicted my limited vocal and guitar-playing techniques on folk club audiences all those ago, I did at least have a broad repertoire.

You might be unlucky enough to hear The Flower of Northumberland - all 430 verses, or so it seemed - and a quite dreadful instrumental based on Anji on the same night. Come back the next week and it could be High Germany and a David Campbell song about prostitution, Slightly Faded.

I also murdered Tom Paxton. Two of his songs in particular, The Last Thing on My Mind, and Leaving London, seemed especially suited to my few bits of fingerpicking, though nothing much could be done about the voice.

This is how Tom meant it to be sung, with due acknowledgement to Walker Johnson at the Facebook group, I Love Folk Music.

And this was the exchange at that group that prompted me to include Tom in the series:

Walker Johnson:



Can't find a single bad song this man ever wrote. This could be one of his least known but it is in my opinion one of his very best.

Me

I am surprised you say it may be one of his least known. I used to sing it - badly - in the folk clubs, and everyone knew the chorus back then. You have inspired me to include this or maybe another Tom Paxton piece in my series ...


Walker:

I still sing it in shows but those who just have a passing admiration for folk music think of Last Thing On My Mind or even the one the Fireballs covered..Bottle Of Wine when they think of Tom. Like I said he has yet to write one I don't like.


I have seen Tom a few times, as well as meeting him once, and would go along with Walker's assessment. A man and a singer I have found impossible to dislike.

Tompaxton * Buy Tom Paxton albums - including this box set, which contains Leaving London - and anything else that appeals to you at my Salut! Live Amazon link.

Comments

Ian Evans

I saw him at the Cambridge Corn Exchange last year on a joint bill with Janis Ian.

It was the first time I had seen him play live since my university days in 1966.

His singing and playing were as good as ever, coupled with a great sense of humour; he was genuinely funny.

The only disappointment was that he confessed he was feeling his age, so he played a relatively short set.

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