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Comedians & Angels

11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 19, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the most reliable of folk-rooted singer-songwriters...Paxton's voice is still supple...he's singing with total conviction. ****" -- Montreal Gazette

"A very nice album that's relaxing and genial yet thoughtful, and absolutely archetypal Paxton: reason enough to celebrate, I'd say." -- NetRhythms, January 2008

"Paxton's songwriting here is deep and affecting, touching the heart ever deeper with repeated listening. (4 out of 5 stars)" -- All Music Guide

About the Artist

Despite more than four decades of recording and performing, the only sign that Tom Paxton may be slowing down a bit is that his past is catching up to him. In 2005, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at BBC Radio 2's Folk Awards in London. The following year, he was the recipient of a 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance, honoring "those who have devoted their life's work and talent to the advancement of folk music and dance." And in January 2007, the British Parliament paid official tribute to his life and work, in which Lord Neil Kinnock described Paxton, a perennial UK favorite, as "one of the great folksingers. His is the real voice of America; he speaks for decent Americans."

In the 45 years since Tom started performing regularly in New York's Greenwich Village, he's earned his place as one of the great "singing journalists" in the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs and the early Bob Dylan; as a pioneer in the early-'60s transition from performing traditional folk songs to original, personal compositions; and as one of our finest contemporary songwriters. Although his own records have never sold in the quantities they merited, Paxton originals such as "The Last Thing on My Mind," "The Marvelous Toy" and "Ramblin' Boy" reached a wider public through cover versions by more "commercial" folk acts - the Chad Mitchell Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary, and the Kingston Trio. The Fireballs had a Top 10 hit with Tom's goodtimey "Bottle of Wine" in 1968. As early as 1969, Paxton's status as an underappreciated craftsman was noted in Lillian Roxon's seminal Rock Encyclopedia: "The trouble with Tom Paxton is that he's been too good too long and people take him for granted . . ."

But sometimes good things do come to those who wait. In addition to the recent honors mentioned above, Paxton has enjoyed much long-overdue appreciation in the 21st Century. In 2002, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers (ASCAP), and three "Wammies" (Washington, DC, Area Music Awards) as "Best Male Vocalist" in both the "traditional folk" and "children's music" categories and for "Best Traditional Folk Recording of the Year" for Under American Skies, his duo CD with frequent collaborator Anne Hills on Appleseed. His 2001 CD Your Shoes, My Shoes was a Grammy finalist in the "Children Music" category, and 2002's Looking for the Moon was a Grammy finalist as "Best Contemporary Folk Album ."

Born in Chicago on Halloween in 1937 but transplanted with his family to tiny Bristow, Oklahoma, at age 10, Paxton caught the music bug for R&B, classical and folk music in junior high school. Although he entered the University of Oklahoma as a drama major, his attraction to folk music blossomed and he acquired an acoustic guitar as a sophomore. "By the time I got out of college . . . I loved this music so much that I had to try it. . . ."

As a fresh-faced Army reservist stationed at New Jersey's Fort Dix, Paxton was within commuting distance of Greenwich Village, sleeping on friends' floors and performing in small "basket houses" for change. After his six-month stint in the reserves ended, Paxton became a Village fixture by mid-'62, one of the first of the new crop of folksingers to write original material, helping to open the floodgates of the singer-songwriter movement, alongside Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Fred Neil, Dave Van Ronk and others.

In 1964, Paxton was signed to Elektra Records, the flagship label for creative folk music, and recorded Ramblin' Boy, his first of an estimated 40 or more albums. The following year, Paxton made his first of many annual tours of Great Britain. At the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival in the UK, Paxton's performance stole the show from the most popular rock bands of the day and solidified his English fan base. He lived in London during the early '70s, collaborated with various British folk stars, including Ralph McTell and Danny Thompson, and recorded his first of many albums of children's songs in 1974.

After returning to the States, Paxton became a beloved constant on the folk circuit, acclaimed for the depth and wit of his songs and the humor he brought - and still brings - to his dozens of yearly performances. Tom is a delightful storyteller with or without a guitar in his hands, and since 1987 has written the text for more than a dozen children's books. Whether Tom sings of love, as on Comedians & Angels, of topical events (in his ongoing series of "short shelf-life songs" frequently posted for free download on his website), of toys and measles and holidays (on his children's CDs), or of the everyday lives and world that surrounds him, what's left of the "real" America couldn't have a better spokesman..


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. How Beautiful Upon The Mountain 4:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Out On The Ocean 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. What A Friend You Are 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. When We Were Good 3:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. The First Song Is For You 3:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. And If It's Not True 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Bad Old Days 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Reason To Be 4:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. I Like The Way You Look 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. A Long Way From Your Mountain 3:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Home To Me (is Anywhere You Are) 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Jennifer And Kate 3:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Dance In The Kitchen 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. You Are Love 4:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Comedians & Angels 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 19, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Appleseed Records
  • ASIN: B00104WCRO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,453 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lori L. on April 19, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's hard to listen to this album without a smile spreading across your face. Tom Paxton doesn't feel like he has to bring darkness and despair into the lives of his listeners to balance out the appreciation and wamth he conveys. It's as though he were gathering you (the listener) under his arm and saying, "After all, it's been a pretty good time, hasn't it? And there's always a little bit of hope in the hole that yesterday's tragedy blew into life, and a little new love where your heart used to hurt so bad." This CD is a musical hug for my generation (40++)to enjoy--but also for my eight-year old, whose favorite CD has been one of his kids' recordings from an early age. Carry on, Tom!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on May 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The whole CD is filled with a quiet kind of joy that's a relief among the protest songs and cause driven folk. Yeah, sometimes you just want to kick back and relax and enjoy good music and this is the CD for those times.

Tom Paxton's enjoying himself performing these songs and you're going to enjoy listening. I started out this morning with a headache. Half an hour of listening and my head's feeling better and I have a smile on your face. Oh yes, music has healing powers!

Just a sample of what you get:

"Oh How Beautiful on the Mountain" quotes Isaiah and talks about what it's like to do good work.

"Out on the Ocean" is a peaceful song about just going out sailing and enjoying yourself.

"Home to me is anywhere you are" is pretty descriptive of what the song is. It's a gorgeous love song.

"Jennifer and Kate" is a love song to his daughters. How many Dads wish they could sing something like this for their girls?

And yes, Paxton's generous. He's given us 15 songs at over 52 minutes instead of the generic 9 or 10. All worth listening to and thoroughly enjoyable.

Rebecca Kyle, May 2009
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Walter J. Mahoney Jr. on April 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a bit of a retrospective, with Tom looking back and appreciating the people in his life. The song writing is crisp and moving, the voice shows a little wear and tear, but it is good to hear from this fine musician, who has the respect of his fans and of his collaborators as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David A. Bede on December 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Comprised of roughly half new songs and half re-recordings from his huge back-catalog, this is, in Paxton's own words, "made of songs of love." He is one of the best in the business at those, and this shows it.

Paxton also writes in the liner notes that "my definition of love songs is broader than I once would have found it to be". This is reflected beautifully in the CD's first and last songs, "How Beautiful Upon the Mountain" and the title track. Rather than conventional love songs, they're tributes to his friends and heroes from the protest-song era - but they are definitely songs of love all the same. Expressing love for what they accomplished and wistfulness for those whom we have since lost - and Paxton pays tribute to some of them by name - both are the sort of song that could only come from someone like himself who has been at the craft for over 40 years and was there to see the golden era for himself. They just might be the two best songs he's given us since the 1960s, and every fan owes it to him- or herself to hear them - they're that good and that important.

Most of the other new songs are above average, and a few are truly great. "And If It's Not True" and "Out on the Ocean" are a couple of other standouts, about vacations real and imagined. Your enjoyment of the re-recorded songs probably depends on whether or not you're familiar with the originals. There are three songs updated from 1996's Live: For the Record album: "A Long Way from Your Mountain," "Dance in the Kitchen" and "You are Love." The new versions, while not bad, lack the sparkle and intimacy of the live versions - but of course, if you don't know the live versions, you'll probably love these.

Only one song gets a real thumbs-down from me.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By IrishFinn on August 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Tom Paxton's since 1968.
His voice has improved with age. This CD is brilliant!
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By ken fogelman on September 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Some familiar songs and some nuances make this worth a listen. The voice and some new lyrics are not what Tom was at his best, but listening to this American treasure is still worth the time. He was recently inducted into the Folksingers Hall of Fame, and it's certainly well deserved. Do yourself a favor and get some recordings from the earlier years to really appreciate his contribution.
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