Tom Paxton

One Million Lawyers and Other Disasters

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Tom Paxton writes beautiful ballads and sarcastic topical satires; this disc is devoted to the latter side. The songs here may sound a bit dated years down the road, but listening to the lyrics is like reading a newspaper from the early to mid-'80s, a newspaper published by some skewed skeptic skilled at condensing the issues of the day down to their absurd essence. The folkie melodies are all familiar, with the overall musical feel of the album straight out of the coffeehouse era of the early '60s in which Paxton got his start. "Yuppies in the Sky" is Paxton at his best, singing "condos for sale, condos to buy" to the tune of the cowboy classic "Ghost Riders in the Sky." The vanishing American family farm is lamented in "Who Will Feed the People," and the end of American manufacturing is chronicled in "Factory Whistle's Blowing." Paxton is hilarious in lampooning the importance (or lack thereof) of yacht racing in "The Day We Lost the America's Cup," and the sports history footnote in which the U.S. and U.S.S.R. traded Olympic boycotts is immortalized in "We Can Have the Olympics Over at Our House."

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