Tom Paxton

American Troubadour

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Tom Paxton may well be the most unsung songwriter to emerge from the so-called folk revival of the 1960s. His clear, pleasant voice and simple, leisurely melodies belie an often deeply satirical base, although he's no stranger to satiric romantic honesty, either, as his best-known song, the beautiful "The Last Thing on My Mind," aptly demonstrates. American Troubadour collects songs recorded in the mid-'80s to early '90s, a time when most of Paxton's early catalog was out of print. Paxton is a deceptively simple writer, and at his best he produces songs that seem to have existed forever, for example the album opener "Hobo in My Mind" and the traditional-sounding "My Ramblin' Boy." "Did You Hear John Hurt," a song for the legendary blues songster, is a clear highlight, as are the dignified readings Paxton gives two old folk songs, "The Foggy, Foggy Dew" and "The Golden Vanity." His 1960s recordings probably have the slight edge, but this is a fine compilation of an American treasure.

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