Song of the Day Revisited: Tom Paxton ... Leaving London
January 05, 2015
When I inflicted my limited vocal and guitar-playing techniques on folk club audiences all those years 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.
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 ...
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.
* 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.
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.
Posted by: Ian Evans | March 02, 2015 at 01:27 PM