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Ramblin' Boy

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Album Review

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.


Born: 31 October 1937 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tom Paxton proved to be one of the most durable of the singer/songwriters to emerge from the Greenwich Village folk revival scene of the early '60s. In some ways, he had more in common with the late-'50s generation of folksingers such as Dave Van Ronk (who was 16 months his senior) and even older performers than with the new crop of singer/songwriters with whom he tended to be associated, such as Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs (both of whom were several years his junior). But like Dylan and Ochs, and unlike...
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Ramblin' Boy, Tom Paxton
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