Tom Paxton

Politics Live

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Every five years or so, Tom Paxton returns to his roots as a topical satirical songwriter, releasing an album--usually live--of what he terms his "short shelf-life" material. 1989's POLITICS: LIVE AT OLD TOWN covers the latter half of the age of Reagan, with barbed and often hilarious shots taken at yuppie heartlessness ("On the Good Ship I've Got Mine"), government bailouts (an updated version of the well-known "I Am Changing My Name To Chrysler," with added lines about the savings and loan crisis), drug testing ("We're Filling A Bottle For Ronnie"), and people who should have known better ("The Ballad of Gary Hart"). Not all of the songs are funny; the moving "The Death of Steven Biko" is at least as emotionally powerful at Peter Gabriel's better-known and more oblique song about the martyred South African. However, the laughs tend to come hard and fast through most of this 16-track CD.

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