Tom Paxton

Ramblin' Boy

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Tom Paxton's debut album sounds rather dated these days, as do many of the releases from the folk revival's army of singer/songwriters (Bob Dylan aside), and often for the same simple reason: nothing grows old faster than topical material. What keeps Ramblin' Boy from being just another period piece from the 1960s are a trio of songs in which Paxton swings away from trying to be relevant and brings a kind of restless and romantic self-analysis to the table. "The Last Thing on My Mind," "Ramblin' Boy," and "I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" all exhibit a classic, timeless appeal simply because they work to the positive side of emotional ennui. Being lost, confused, and uncertain out there on the Great Open Road is a scenario full of potential, because you're going somewhere whether you like it or not, but not quite yet, and that pause before motion or action is what Paxton captures so well in these songs. All three are classics of a special sort, but unfortunately the rest of the album has the feel of old headlines.

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