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I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound: The Best Of Tom Paxton

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Audio CD, January 19, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tom Paxton's recordings for Elektra made him one of the mainstays of the '60s Greenwich Village folk scene, but this is the first time those recordings have been anthologized! Includes tracks taken from his albums Ramblin' Boy, Ain't That News, Outward Bound, Morning Again, The Things I Notice Now, Tom Paxton 6 and The Compleat Tom Paxton Recorded Live , featuring such favorite tunes as The Last Thing on My Mind; Bottle of Wine; Goin' to the Zoo , and Ramblin' Boy . 26 songs!

There are few music fans who are not familiar with a Tom Paxton song--whether they know it or not. Paxton emerged from the folk movement of the 1960s and went on to pen a remarkable body of work that has been covered by literally hundreds of singers. Indeed, the songs on this collection, culled from the seven albums he cut from his start on through 1971, include what are now unarguably American standards in the rarefied tradition of Stephen Foster and Woody Guthrie. His lyrical charm and simplicity of melody informs children's songs ("Going to the Zoo," "Marvelous Toy") and hilarious social satires ("What Did You Learn in School Today," "Forest Lawn"). His most memorable songs, though, are the romantic ballads such as the title track, "Ramblin' Boy," and his signature apologia "The Last Thing on My Mind." This album is a perfect Paxton primer, the only quibble being over the songs left off. The breadth of Paxton's early work surely merits a double CD. --John Sutton-Smith

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
  2. What Did You Learn In School Today?
  3. The Last Thing On My Mind
  4. Daily News
  5. My Lady's A Wild, Flying Dove
  6. Goin' To The Zoo
  7. Ramblin' Boy
  8. The Willing Conscript
  9. Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation
  10. Bottle Of Wine
  11. Every Time
  12. Leaving London
  13. My Son, John
  14. One Time And One Time Only
  15. Outward Bound
  16. Victoria Dines Alone
  17. All Night LOng
  18. Forest Lawn
  19. Whose Garden Was This
  20. Cindy's Cryin'
  21. Clarissa Jones
  22. Now That I've Taken My Life
  23. Talking Vietnam Potluck Blues
  24. Jimmy Newman
  25. The Marvelous Toy
  26. Jennifer's Rabbit/I Give You The Morning

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 19, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B00000GC12
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,288 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jonker on February 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This disc has all of the "hits," if one may use such a term with this sort of music, from Paxton's phenomenal first three accoustic albums. If this is what you're looking for - and it is certainly something worth looking for -- this disc is the disc to get, clearly preferable to the Vanguard best-of collection. (For most of Paxton's best material on Vanguard, just get the Newport Folk Festival albums, which have so very much to recommend them in addition to Paxton's presence.)
The surprise here was the lesser known and harder to fine material from 68-71. Although his voice sounds a bit strained or hoarse at few points, some of the songs are astonishingly beautiful. Really. I even generally enjoyed the plush arrangements, which typically detract from singer-songwriter types. Perhaps that's due to another surprise: some real heavy hitters play on these sessions, including David Grisman, Richard Davis (!), and Hubert Laws.
Twenty-six tracks make this an attractive value, too. A good compromise between LP era collections that omit too much good material and expensive box sets that are overkill for casual fans.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Clark on February 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Tom Paxton is that rarity among folk-era singer/songwriters: some of his songs have become real folk songs. Performers who have never heard of him sing "The Last Thing on My Mind" and "Ramblin' Boy" under the implicit assumption that they're venerable songs of anonymous authorship, just like "Barbara Allen" and "I Ride an Old Paint." Good for him, good for all of us. Paxton has enriched American music as few have done, and it's wonderful to have the best of his early, classic Elektra recordings available at last on CD. Even the topical songs, though tied to events in the 1960s, still manage to tell us something about, or at least make us laugh at, the varieties of human folly. It seems to me, however, that Paxton's political views owe less to a "progressive" ideologue's sentiments (as Scott Alarik's liner notes would have us believe) than to the natural responses of a decent man to injustice or absurdity. One can argue that the neo-folk movement has generated technically more accomplished, more imaginative writers, but only a tiny handful have produced songs that have moved us as much over time. Paxton's songs will always sound fresh -- just like real folk songs. God bless him, and long may he and his songs be with us.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Louis Pierotti on October 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This treasure is one of three I have recently purchased. The other two being Tim Hardin, "Person to Person," and Taj Mahal's, "Natch'l Blues." For three entirely different reasons I have been powerfully reminded of the fertile ground out of which the most poignant and profound integrity of the sixties grew. I must confess that I bought this CD for the sake of "Talking Vietnam Potluck Blues," one of the most amusing and sardonic protest songs of the era, only to rediscover a wealth of vital contributions that Paxton has made to the world of music. The soulful and romantic refrains of "The last thing on my Mind" brings tears to my eyes everytime I hear it, in sharp contrast with the rally cry of "What did you learn in school today" this album explores the multi-faceted depths of Paxton's versatile and thought provoking poetry. And what a voice! Paxton is one of the most significant and enchanting mintrels of the 20th century. Hey, oldtimers, this CD will make you feel young again without making the 60's seem trite. It is nice to have such a dynamic and lasting reminder of the influences that made that era such a seminal part of who we are and whence we came. This CD is a very rich repository of human nature and a must for every seeker and collector.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patricia L. Wirth on January 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
After not listening to Tom Paxton for awhile, I purchased this album and have enjoyed both the music and the memories I've been given the chance to examine once more. I live in Texas right now, but I grew up in California, with Tom Paxton and other 60's folk music. Paxton's music has held up wonderfully through the years, and I still think "Jimmy Newman" is one of the most heartbreaking anti-war songs I've ever heard. I cherish this CD and recommend it to everyone. It has given me back something I had lost.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Cochrane on April 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Amazing compilation from Tom's first 7 albums. Sound quality is superb! The few live tracks were a pleasant addition. At 38, I've seen Tom in concert several times, and heard him play his standards, but the atmosphere was always that of smiling retrospection, before returning to the topical and/or funny songs in his set. Now I glean some insight into his moods when creating these gems. The montage of early photographs was another pleasant surprise. Everything about this album pleases. A great intro to Tom's work for new fans, and the CD to keep at work for us old-timers.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David A. Bede on February 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Four decades after the beginning of the 1960s folk music revival, Tom Paxton remains one of the most underappreciated voices from that era. He never really became a star as a result of the revival, but nearly everyone who did recorded at least one of his songs. It's unfortunate that his seven Elektra albums from that decade have been out of print for so long, but until and unless they're all reissued on CD, this collection is a great start.
All of the original versions of his best-known songs are here, and they're all well worth having. But for me, what really make this collection fly are the lesser-known sides, particularly the four selections from 1970's superb "Tom Paxton 6" LP. Like any performer, his style changed and evolved over the course of the decade, and the changes evident in the songs seen here are fascinating. One thing that didn't change, as the later and less famous songs also reflect, was Paxton's talent for biting satire and social commentary. The beginnings of his more recent forays into lovesongs and children's music are here as well.
Entirely too few of this era's songs make it into Paxton's concerts these days. That unfortunate fact just makes this collection that much more important. If you own a turntable, search out the original albums; but in the meantime pick this disc up as well. It's an excellent cross section of a catalog that deserves more attention than it gets.
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