Tom Paxton has a message that he's determined to spread, whether one happens to be three or 80. He's also determined to have a good time doing it. On Your Shoes, My Shoes he zeroes in on the young and young at heart, offering 16 selections that champion a wide range of liberal issues. The title cut takes the listener on a walking tour with Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks through the Civil Rights movement, while "The Kid Behind the Mirror" offers a positive spin on overcoming one's awkward years. Paxton also throws in a good bit of nonsense to keep the right-wingers off guard. "Barney Ate My Homework" may qualify as the worst excuse ever dreamed up for not having one's homework, while "C-H-I-C-K-E-N" lets one know how much fun it is to be a chicken. Things get even more bizarre on "The Pizza That Ate Chicago," a song that will remind one more of a B-horror film than folk music. Parents are sure to love "Somebody Burped" and "The Worms Come Crawling Underground," the first exulting the joys of drinking too much pop, the latter the pleasures that worms have as "they make their dinners, out of those poor sinners." Paxton is joined by a child or a group of children who sing along on most of the album. This works great on nonsensical pieces, but turns cloying on idealistic ones like "Peace Will Come." It isn't that the message is a turn off; just the fact of being beaten over the head with it. Overall, Your Shoes, My Shoes offers fun music, good tunes, and lots of idealism. What more could one wish for in a children's album?
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.