Music Review: Tom Paxton’s ‘New Songs from the Briarpatch’

Tom Paxton's New Songs from the Briarpatch

With Phil Ochs gone and other writers having moved on to different subject matter, Tom Paxton basically has the political singer-songwriter genre all to himself for the moment. That fact makes his work seem all the more refreshing, but I think he would stand out even among a large field of competitors.

This live-in-the-studio recording isn’t Paxton’s first or even second concert LP, and there’s a reason why: he blossoms in front of an audience, as you’ll hear when you listen to such highlights as “Mr. Blue/White Bones of Allende.” In addition to that scorcher, which couples vintage Paxton verse with a high-powered attack on Henry Kissinger, the set includes “Born on the Fourth of July,” which was inspired by the moving book of that name, and the melodic “Did You Hear John Hurt?”

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