To those of (ahem) a certain age – and a fair percentage of the audience came into that category – the name Tom Paxton conjures up memories of youthful years spent in peaceful revolt; non-violent protests against nuclear “deterrents” and the Vietnam war and marching in support of striking miners and equal rights for all.
For, along with contemporaries like the Seegers and Ewan MacColl, Paxton has been active in the civil rights movement and has stood up for his beliefs throughout his life. More than that, he provided a soundtrack to these years with songs that have stood the test of time and remain today the classics that they were then.
That’s not to say that his career is behind him – the night of this concert marked the release of his latest (62nd?) album “Boat on the Water” and the title track was just one of a well-received selection of new and recent material. But yes, most folk had come to hear once again songs they have loved for most of their lives, and they were not disappointed.
Not that Tom did this all on his own. Lined up either side of him were Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, long-time friends and musical collaborators, augmenting Tom’s guitar work with mandolin and banjo and bringing their beautiful harmonies to the songs. They opened the second set as a duo, too, to great effect.
And the songs? Yep, “Ramblin’ Boy” “Whose Garden Was This?” “Bottle of Wine” were all there, and “The Last Thing on My Mind”, which he introduced with the story of his younger daughter hearing it sung in a pub while she was in St Andrew’s. On telling the singer her father wrote it, she was “corrected” by the musician and informed that it was an old Scottish traditional song…ah well, if nothing else it proves how much it is embedded in our culture.
Thanks Tom, for a great evening, and for being Tom Paxton.
Our thanks to Jim Welsh of Radio Summerhall for stepping in at the last moment to review this show for us. Please note that Radio Summerhall do not use a star system on their reviews.
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