Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

The Ramblin’ Boy is Stopping Ramblin’

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Sep 13, 2015 @ 3:20 pm PST

Back in January, one of my favorite folk icons announced that he was stopping touring. After years upon years of making tens and tens of dollars in folk clubs, Tom Paxton was giving up touring. As he wrote in his January newsletter:

It’s going to be an extraordinarily busy year for me because I’ve decided to quit touring after playing The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA in November. The wear and tear are getting to be serious and you all know how awful travel is becoming for us all. So after the Birch, just the odd date here and there, songwriting, but no more touring.

I think another factor in the end of touring was the passing of Tom’s wife, Midge, although he hasn’t said as much.  Instead, he attributes it to the wear and tear of the road, as described  in another interview that I found:

It just became obvious to me that it was time for me to stop touring. I’ve been doing it for 55 years and touring has become very hard for me. Airports are just awful places for me now, they’re exhausting. And I’m just tired of the physical strain of touring. So in November I’m going to say goodbye to it. I’m not going to retire. I’m still going to perform, but it’ll be one-off deals. No more touring.

Luckily, he still plans to write and record:

Oh yeah, I’m still writing. There will be another album down the road. I’m going to be spending more time in Nashville. I have friends down there that I write with and I want to go and write with them some more.

At the time I got Tom’s retirement message, Tom’s only California dates were some dates with Janis Ian in Berkeley in late April. He had last been in LA in 2013. Luckily, he added more dates over the summer: in particular, for the last two nights he made his regular and final pilgrimage to McCabes (FB) in Santa Monica. We were lucky enough to be able to get tickets to his last performance on his last night.

A few general observations on the show itself, before I get into the set list. Tom made no mention of the fact that he was stopping touring, or that this would be his last performance at McCabes (although the announcer did). Tom’s focus was on his new album, Redemption Road, from which many of the songs came (and for which we helped Kickstart). For someone who doesn’t like to stare back, there was a fair amount of reminiscences about the early days of 1963 and the days at the Gaslight.

The show itself was a mix of some oldies, and many songs from the new album. He was accompanied, as he is often accompanied, by Fred Sokolow and Fred’s son, Zac Sokolow. The show consisted of the following songs (* indicates new for this year; ♫ indicates songs from Redemption Road):

Act I Act II
How Beautiful Upon The Mountain
Your Shoes, My Shoes
Time To Spare*
Battle of the Sexes ♫
There Goes the Mountain
Whose Garden Was This?
If The Poor Don’t Matter ♫*
My Pony Knows The Way
And If It’s Not True
Central Square ♫
Bottle of Wine
Virginia Morning ♫
Come Away With Me *
Buffalo Dreams ♫
Did You Hear John Hurt?
The Mayor of MacDougal Street ♫*
Susie Most of All ♫*
Ireland ♫
My Lady’s A Wild, Flying Dove*
Last Thing on My Mind
Ramblin’ Boy
The Bravest
Comedians and Angels
Redemption Road ♫

I’ll be sad to see Tom go off the road, but I understand the grind well — and how, at his age, he deserves some time to work on songs and not be running from city to city to city (to city). The life of a folk musician is hard, and Tom’s Kickstarter demonstrated there is an audience for his music willing to fund production. I wish him well in this phase of his career, and home that a special event might bring him back to this coast occasionally.

OK, McCabes (FB): The challenge is up to you. You now need to book some new favorites, such as the Austin Lounge Lizards (FB) or Blair Crimmons and the Hookers (FB).

Ob. Disclaimer (for theatre — but I’m not a folk music critic either): I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I subscribe at three theatres:  REP East (FB), The Colony Theatre (FB), and Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals).  I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows: Next weekend brings two shows: The Four Clowns Present Hamlet at The Shakespeare Center (FB) on Friday, and “The Diviners” at REP East (FB) on Saturday. The following weekend sees us going down to La Mirada to see “First Date” at The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (FB). October was being held for the NoHo Fringe Festival (FB), but they haven’t put up the Fringe shows yet, so I’ve started booking weekends. The first weekend of October brings “The Baker’s Wife” at Actors Co-op (FB) in Hollywood. The second weekend of October brings “The Best of Enemies” at The Colony Theatre (FB). The third weekend of October takes us to Thousand Oaks for “Damn Yankees” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB). The fourth weekend of October brings “Uncle Vanya” at Antaeus Theatre Company (FB) in North Hollywood. Halloween weekend sees me at CSUN for Urinetown, and then both of us out in Simi Valley for “The Addams Family” at the Simi Cultural Arts Center (Simi Actors Rep Theatre (FB)). The following weekend sees us back in Simi for the Nottingham Festival (FB) on November 7. We then go out to Perris for “A Day Out with Thomas” at Orange Empire Railway Museum (FB) on November 11 (I can’t skip seeing my buddy Thomas and his friend Percy). The bookings for November conclude with Deathtrap at REP East (FB) on November 14; the rest of the month is currently open. December brings “Humble Boy” at The Colony Theatre (FB) the first weekend, followed by a mid-week stint as a producer, when we present The Nigerian Spam Scam Scam as the dinner entertainment at the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC). December also has dates held for “The Bridges of Madison County” at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) and “If/Then” at the Pantages (FB). There are also a few other interesting productions I’m keeping my eyes open for. The first is the Fall show at The Blank Theatre (FB), “Something Truly Monstrous”, sounds wonderful — however, it runs through November 8, so squeezing it in would mean a double weekend. The show at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (FB) also sounds like an interesting exploration of clutter —  but “The Object Lesson” only runs through October 4, and I’m not sure we can squeeze it in. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411.


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Music From the Heart

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Apr 19, 2015 @ 9:53 am PST

Noel Paul Stookeyuserpic=folk-artistsYesterday was National Record Store Day. Of course, that means today is National Rip the Records day. So guess what I’m doing while I write up last night’s show? That’s right, ripping “fings ain’t wot they used t’be“, an obscure Lionel Bart musical written before Oliver!. This is because last night we were on the Westside, and took the opportunity to celebrate the day by hitting Record Surplus. My love of music is such that Record Surplus has a high price of entry; a rarely get out without my wallet being much lighter.

Music has been a constant theme in my life. Even before I saw my first musical, I was listening to  Peter, Paul, and Mary and singing songs at camp. This weekend is a diversion back to those roots; there’s nary a drop of theatre this weekend. Last night was a celebration of folk music when Noel Paul Stookey (FB) made his annual visit to McCabes Guitar Shop (FB); tonight is a Jewish music concert featuring Rick Recht and Sheldon Low as part of the Songleaders Bootcamp at Temple Ahavat Shalom. The latter was informed by the former; I don’t think you would have the tradition of Jewish songleaders and music without the reinvigoration of folk music sparked by the Gaslight, Dave Van Ronk, PP&M, Tom Paxton, the Kingston Trio, and all the artists that came out of the folk music resurgence of the 1960s.

Noel Paul’s concert was a return to folk music of old — but only in style. As Noel noted during the show, folk music — at least folk music with a message — demands that we be in the present and not live in a nostalgic world. As a result, most of his songs were from recent albums; only two or three were from the PP&M catalog. That doesn’t mean they were new; I think every song was also in last year’s show.

As I noted last year, when I first got into PP&M my favorite artist was Peter Yarrow. Since then, however, my appreciation of the entire group and all of its members has grown. The recent fifty year celebration has led me to reconsider Mary’s role, and I’ve really grown to appreciate Noel Paul’s music and lyrics. I really enjoy Noel Paul’s show; if you haven’t explored his solo music, you should.

Well, enough introductory blather. Here’s the song list from last night’s show. There was only a single act for the 100 minute show as there was a second show at 10pm.

  1. Not That Kind of Music
  2. Nukes are Nuts
  3. Whatshername
  4. Capricious Bird
  5. Since You Went Away
  6. Be Real
  7. Cabin Fever Waltz
  8. Cue The Moon
  9. The Wedding Song (First Person Version)
  10. Imagine (modified) / Love Of It All
  11. Q&A Session
  12. One and Many
  13. Familia de Corazon
  14. Jean Claude
  15. America The Beautiful / In These Times
  16. April Fool
  17. If I Had a Hammer

As a side note: Artists like these are treasures and connections to the rich folk heritage. Those of you in the East Bay — you have a chance to hear that heritage next weekend when Tom Paxton and Janis Ian share the stage at Freight and Salvage. Tom has indicated he is stopping touring in November; this will be your last chance to see him. It looks like Saturday is sold out, but there may be tickets for Sunday. Go, and see an icon. I’ve heard rumors Tom may be down in SoCal in late Summer; with my luck, it will be when we are out of town on vacation.

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience. I’ve been attending live theatre in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows: We have one more concert this weekend: the Rick Recht and Sheldon Low concert as part of the Songleaders Bootcamp at Temple Ahavat Shalom. After that we’re in Vegas for a week … and two shows are already booked: Menopause the Musical at Harrahs, and Penn & Teller at the Rio. Other shows that are possibilities are either Don Rickles at the Orleans or Jeff Dunham at Planet Hollywood, and Crazy Girls at the Riviera (before the Riveria goes away on May 4th) — the particular show depends on what shows up at Tix4Tonight.  Los Angeles theatre resumes in May with “Loopholes: The Musical” at the Hudson Main Stage (FB) on May 2. This is followed by “Words By Ira Gershwin – A Musical Play” at The Colony Theatre (FB) on May 9 (and quite likely a visit to Alice – The Musical at Nobel Middle School).  The weekend of May 16 brings “Dinner with Friends” at REP East (FB), and may also bring “Violet: The Musical” at the Monroe Forum Theatre (FB) (I’m just waiting for them to show up on Goldstar). The weekend of May 23 brings Confirmation services at TAS, a visit to the Hollywood Bowl, and “Love Again“, a new musical by Doug Haverty and Adryan Russ, at the Lonny Chapman Group Rep (FB).  The last weekend of May brings “Entropy” at Theatre of Note (FB) on Saturday, and “Waterfall“, the new Maltby/Shire musical at the Pasadena Playhouse (FB) on Sunday. June looks to be exhausting with the bounty that the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB) brings (note that all Fringe dates are holds; ticketing doesn’t open until 5/1). June starts with a matinee of the movie Grease at The Colony Theatre (FB), followed by Clybourne Park (HFF) at the Lounge Theatre (FB) on Saturday, and a trip out to see the Lancaster Jethawks on Sunday. The second weekend of June brings Max and Elsa. No Music. No Children. (HFF) at Theatre Asylum (FB) and  Wombat Man (HFF) at Underground Theatre (FB) on Saturday, and Marry Me a Little (HFF) by Good People Theatre (FB) at the Lillian Theatre (FB) on Sunday. The craziness continues into the third weekend of June, with Nigerian Spam Scam Scam (HFF) at Theatre Asylum (FB) and Merely Players (HFF) at the Lounge Theatre (FB) on Saturday, and Uncle Impossible’s Funtime Variety & Ice Cream Social, (HFF) at the Complex Theatres (FB) on Sunday (and possibly “Matilda” at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) in the afternoon, depending on Hottix availability, although July 4th weekend is more likely). The Fringe craziness ends with Medium Size Me, (HFF) at the Complex Theatres (FB) on Thursday 6/25 and Might As Well Live: Stories By Dorothy Parker (HFF) at the Complex Theatres (FB) on Saturday. June ends with our annual drum corps show in Riverside on Sunday. July begins with “Murder for Two” at the Geffen Playhouse (FB) on July 3rd, and possibly Matilda. July 11th brings “Jesus Christ Superstar” at REP East (FB). The following weekend is open, although it might bring “As You Like It” at Theatricum Botanicum (FB) (depending on their schedule and Goldstar).  July 25th brings “Lombardi” at the Lonny Chapman Group Rep (FB), with the annual Operaworks show the next day. August may bring “Green Grow The Lilacs” at Theatricum Botanicum (FB), the summer Mus-ique show, and “The Fabulous Lipitones” at  The Colony Theatre (FB). After that we’ll need a vacation! As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411.

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Such a Simple Song

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Apr 26, 2014 @ 6:49 am PST

Noel Paul Stookeyuserpic=folk-artistsAs I just wrote, this has been a crazy week, and next week doesn’t look much better. Luckily, I had a great stress relief valve last night: a concert at McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. Last night’s artist was Noel Paul Stookey, who is perhaps best known as the “Paul” in “Peter, Paul and Mary”.

Although I’ve been a fan of PP&M since I was in my teen, I’ve tended to favor Peter Yarrow over the other performers. But the last time I saw Peter solo (at AJU), his performance was rambling and wandering. I also discovered that Noel Paul was giving concerts at McCabes. We went last year, and we just loved the show, the music, the humor, and the man. So when Noel Paul showed on the schedule, I just went and ordered tickets.

Last night was a great show. Many of the songs were from Paul’s new album, “One and Many“, but there were a few old favorites (and lots of great stories). Here’s the playlist:

Act I Act II
Such a Simple Song
Music from the Heart
The Love of It All
Start a Revolution
One and Many
Cue the Moon
The Wedding Song
April Fool
Love Rules!
Virtual Party
Nukes are Nuts (new)
The Connection
Our Lives are Connected
Cabin Fever Waltz
Jean Claude
Una Famila de Corazon (new/instrumental)
American the Beautiful
This Land is Your Land/In These Times
If I Had a Hammer

In all, it was just a great show. Of course, I added an album to the iPod. Once of these days, I’ll get all my new music digested…

Upcoming Theatre and Concerts:  Today brings the Southern California Renaissance Faire. May brings “The Lion in Winter” at The Colony Theatre (FB), and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at REP East (FB), as well as “Hairspray” at Nobel Middle School. I may also be scheduling “Porgy and Bess” at the Ahmanson. June is mostly open pending scheduling of an MRJ meeting, but I will try to fit in as much of the Hollywood Fringe Festival as I can. July will be busy: “Ghost” at the Pantages (FB) on 7/5, “Return to the Forbidden Planet” at REP East (FB) the weekend of 7/12, “Once” at the Pantages (FB) on 7/19, “Bye Bye Birdie” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) on 7/26, and “Family Planning” at The Colony Theatre (FB) on 8/2. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411.

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A Folksinging Legend

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Nov 23, 2013 @ 11:16 am PST

We see Tom Paxton whenever comes to town. I’d say last night was his annual visit, but it’s actually been about 18 months since he was last here (April 2012). The venue, of course, was the same: McCabes in Santa Monica. It wasn’t completely sold out, but was close (tonight’s show is sold out). The show itself was great, although looking back, it was roughly the same program as in April 2012 (about 80% of the songs, although the order was slightly different), and was also similar to January 2011.Tom was accompanied last night by Fred Sokolow, another talented performer, on slide dobro, mandolin, and banjo. The show consisted of the following songs (* indicates new for this year; † indicates songs not yet on a Tom Paxton album; ‡ performed by Fred Sokolow):.

Act I Act II
How Beautiful Upon The Mountain
Battle of the Sexes*†
Your Shoes, My Shoes
There Goes the Mountain*
Whose Garden Was This?*
My Pony Knows The Way
And If It’s Not True
Central Square†
Getting Up Early
Virginia Morning*†
Over The Hill*†‡
Redemption Road*†
Buffalo Dreams*†
Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound*
Did You Hear John Hurt?*
Bottle of Wine
Last Thing on My Mind (Parody)
Last Thing on My Mind
Ramblin’ Boy
The Bravest
Comedians and Angels
Parting Glass*† (poem)

Tom indicated that he is working on a new CD, which is perhaps about 6 to 18 months from completion. Looking at the last 3 shows, songs that are likely for this CD are: Battle of the Sexes, Central Square, Virginia Morning, Redemption Road, Buffalo Dream, Ireland, and (from two years ago) He Couldn’t Lay His Hands On A Gun. It might also have Fred’s songs, Over The Hill and 10 Years (from 2011).

For you oldsters… Fred’s song was great. Here’s a video of Fred singing it. Give it a listen.

Upcoming Theatre and Concerts:  Tonight bring “Play It Again Sam” at REP East (FB) on Saturday, and the rescheduled “Miracle on S. Division Street” at the Colony Theatre (FB) on Sunday. Thanksgiving weekend brings Falling at Rogue Machine on Sat November 30, and may also bring the concert “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” at REP East (FB) on Sunday December 1 [I’m unsure about this — on the one hand, it supports REP East… but on the other hand, it’s Christmas music]. December will start with The Little Mermaid” at Nobel Middle School on Friday, December 6. We then leave for New Orleans and the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC). When we return we have an interesting play, “Sherlock Through the Looking Glass“, at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble (FB). December, as currently scheduled, concludes with “Peter and the Starcatcher” at The Ahmanson Theatre (FB). Looking into January…. nothing is currently scheduled, but it will likely bring “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change“, which is the first show of the REP East (FB) season, running 1/17 through 2/15/2014… and the end of the month will bring “Forever Plaid” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB). Of course, we look forward to seeing you at ACSAC for the wonderful training opportunities there. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, Musicals in LA and LA Stage Times, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411.


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Blues-iana in Santa Monica

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jun 29, 2013 @ 8:36 am PST

Maria Muldauruserpic=folk-artistsWe don’t always go to the theatre. Point in case: Last night saw us in Santa Monica (which was about 20° cooler than the 103° in Northridge) to see a wonderful singer, Maria Muldaur at McCabes Guitar Shop.

It is hard to categorize Maria Muldaur, other than “good”. She started out singing Jug Band music with her then husband, Geoff Muldaur, in the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. She hit the pop charts in 1974 with “Midnight at the Oasis“, but was part of the folk and jug band scene going back to 1963 and Greenwich Village. She had done 40 albums with a wide variety of musical styles, from New Orleans jazz to Blues to Big Band to Gospel. She was also part of the Grateful Dead as a backing singer (which explains the Deadheads at the show). I was first introduced to her in the 1970s when joined with Peter Yarrow on the song “Tall Pine Trees” on Peter’s first solo album, Peter. I was reintroduced to her when recording folk and blues album for my uncle, who had a few of her solo albums. I’ve since acquired a few more albums, so when I saw that she was going to be at McCabes, I got tickets.

Unlike Elton John, Maria’s performance was very simple. Maria (on tambourine), backed by her Red Hot Bluesiana Band (featuring someone whose name I’ve forgotten on guitar, Chris Burns on keyboards/bass, and Dave Tucker on drums). I didn’t record a formal song set, but here’s what I remember: (I Am) Woman • Me and My Chauffeur Blues • Long as I Can See You Smile • I’m Going Back Home • In My Girlish Days • He Calls That Religion • Don’t You Feel My Leg • Midnight at the Oasis • Please Send Me Someone To Love • It Ain’t The Meat, It’s The Motion • I’ve Done Made It Up In My Mind and Bessie’s Advice. Most of the stuff was from her first two albums and her two most recent albums.

In general, her vocal quality and performance quality was wonderful (although my wife noted that, in Midnight at the Oasis, she couldn’t hit the high notes that she used to be able to hit). Her voice has mellowed into a great blues voice, not as much of the pop voice it once was. Her backing group was great — I particularly enjoyed the keyboardist.

Maria is currently on tour in California: those in the Bay Area can see her on July 6/7 with the Jim Kweskin Jug Bag at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley.  She’ll also be in Sacramento.

Dining Notes: Discovered a new restaurant (to us) for when we go to McCabes: Lares Restaurant. Next to the classic Raes, Lares is an excellent Mexican restaurant, in walking distance to McCabes (meaning you only need to park once). We’ll be back the next time we go to McCabes.

Upcoming Theatre and Concerts:  Tonight bring Man of No Importance (Hollywood Fringe) at the Lillian.   July starts with a musical we had originally planned for Fathers Day weekend: Ionescapade” at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble. That will be followed by “9 to 5 – The Musical” at REP East on July 14, and “Legally Blonde – The Musical” at Cabrillo at the end of the month. July will also (hopefully) see us as OperaWorks at CSUN. August is currently completely open due to vacation planning, although we may see a show at the Lawrence Welk Resort in Escondido at the end of the month (depending on price), or at another venue in San Diego.

Continuing the look ahead: September may bring Sarah Ruhl’s In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play at the Production Company/Secret Rose and “Blue Man Group” at the Hollywood Bowl, as well as “God of Carnage” at REP East. October is open, but should the Cabrillo production of “Kiss Me Kate” somewhere, as well as “Dirty Rotten Soundrels” at Actors Rep of Simi. November will bring “Play It Again Sam” at REP East as well as ARTS’s Nottingham Village (a one-weekend ren-faire-ish market). The fall should also bring a production of “Carrie – The Musical” by Transfer Theatre. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open as the various theatres start making their 2013/2014 season announcements. Lastly, what few dates we do have open may be filled by productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411, or discussed in the various LA Stage Blogs I read (I particularly recommend Musicals in LA and LA Stage Times).


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Revisiting a Musical Friend

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Apr 01, 2012 @ 8:33 am PST

In addition to theatre, I’m a long-time folk music aficianado. So naturally, every time Tom Paxton comes to town, I’m out to see him. Last night was no exception: It was Tom’s second show at McCabes in Santa Monica. It was supposedly a sold-out show, yet there were a fair number of empty seats (I’d say the room was at 85%-90% of capacity) and the store was not as crowded as usual. It could be that the drizzily Saturday evening kept some folks in their homes.

The show itself was good, although looking back, it was roughly the same program as last year (this seems to be a common problem with artists–Erin noted that Bernadette Peters’ recent show repeated 80% of the show (including jokes) as her previous show two years before). Tom was accompanied last night by Zack Sokolow, Fred’s son, a regular performer in Los Angeles (he was out to do a Rockabilly show in Burbank after Tom’s show), and an instructor at McCabes. The show consisted of the following songs (* indicates new for this show):

Act I Act II
How Beautiful Upon The Mountain
Your Shoes, My Shoes*
Lament for a Lost Election
What Did You Learn In School Today?*
Getting Up Early*
Passing Through Tulsa*
My Pony Knows The Way*
And If It’s Not True
New Song – Central Square
Bottle of Wine
New Song – Buffalo Dreams*
New Song – Finding Ireland*
Jennifer’s Rabbit
Jennifer and Kate
Marry Me Again
Last Thing on My Mind (Parody)
Last Thing on My Mind
Ramblin’ Boy
The Bravest
Comedians and Angels

What was new this year was a collection of “Oklahoma” songs, starting with “Passing Through Tulsa” and going into songs from characters that just showed up in Tom’s notebook. This replaced the set of songs Tom did previously with Joe Frazier. In the second part of the show, there were some new songs that, to my knowledge, are not on any of Tom’s albums (“Central Square” is also new, but (a) Tom did it last year, and (b) it is available on an album by Geoff Bartley)

Upcoming Theatre, Concerts, and Dance: This coming weekend sees the beginning of April, as well as the beginning of Pesach. We may go to the Southern California Renaissance Faire on Easter Sunday (or perhaps the following Sunday). Friday the 13th sees us at the Pantages for Billy Elliot” and I”m hoping to get tickets for the new small-theatre production of “Spring Awakening” by Over The Moon Productions at the Arena Stage (curious to see this in a small production, runs 3/14-4/22) on that Sunday (they aren’t on Goldstar yet). The following weekend brings student-directed plays at Van Nuys HS (Erin is in one of them), plus I’m judging an ethics competitation at UCLA, and hoping to book tickets for the new production of “Working” at The Production Company in Hollywood (haven’t seen the show in years, opens 3/16). The last weekend in April sees us out in Thousand Oaks for “Once Upon a Mattress” at Cabrillo; I’m also hoping to book tickets for “The Heiress” at the Pasadena Playhouse on that Sunday (heard it on LA Theatre Works and it sounds good). May begins with “Dames at Sea” at the Colony.  It also brings the senior dance show at Van Nuys HS, the Spring Railfest at Orange Empire, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” at REP East, and it may also bring “Follies” at the Ahmanson. Oh, and May also has my daughter’s HS graduation. June is more open, but does feature both “Addams Family” and “Million Dollar Quartet” at the Pantages. As always, open dates are subject to be filled in with productions that have yet to appear on the RADAR of Goldstar or LA Stage Alliance.

Music: Je m’appelle Barbra (Barbra Streisand): Free Again

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Paul, Solo.

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Mar 05, 2011 @ 2:28 pm PST

Last night we went to McCabes Guitar Shop to see Noel Paul Stookey, probably better known to most folks as the Paul in Peter, Paul, and Mary. Now, we’ve seen Peter solo before and are very familiar with his music; we of course can’t see Mary solo anymore, but we are familiar with her solo works. I knew less about Noel Paul. I have his first solo album, and a small smattering of other solo works, but I’ve never seen him in isolation before.

My conclusion? Noel Paul’s an interesting fellow (and certainly doesn’t look his age – he’s 73!). He was originally a standup comedian, and that is still a large part of his personality. He loves to tell humerous stories to the audience and just make people laugh, making wry observations on society. But he’s also much more about the music as music. Peter is more the folkie, with a standard folk feel and a singalong style, and Mary was the more sensitive but strident singer. Noel Paul was a virtuoso on the guitar, coaxing amazing music from the guitar (although he had to keep constantly retuning his instrument). He would play extremely fine and complex music, which would combine with his lyrics to be extremely moving.

This show was mostly new material for an upcoming album to be released in November. Some of the songs were simple, some were destined to be standards, and one, about two French children during the holocaust, were haunting. There were a few old standands (Virtual Party, Wedding Song, The Love of It All, Blowing in the Wind). Noel Paul’s voice has held up well; I could easily have seen him doing vocal standards, his voice is that smooth. It was interesting to contrast his audience style with that of Tom Paxton, who we saw in January. Tom has his stock routines, and pretty much sticks with them. You know what his jokes are going to be. Tom’s songs are pretty but workman. Noel Paul was joyful to be there, ecstatic to be performing for a small audience as opposed to a large concert hall (in opening, he indicated it reminded him of the days at the “Hungry i”). This made the show fun.

My one fear was that Noel Paul’s evangelicalism would come through too strong. Luckily, it didn’t. There were a few songs with Christalogical overtones I could detect, they weren’t the bulk of the show and didn’t detract from the night.

All and all, an enjoyable night.

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A Night of Folk at McCabes

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jan 22, 2011 @ 8:59 am PST

Last night, we celebrated my birthday by going down to McCabes Guitar Shop to see Tom Paxton. Now, Tom didn’t come to town just for my birthday (although it is nice to think he did), but it was nice synchronity. It was also one of the high points of a mostly poor birthday day (the day started with a 3am migraine, and ended with the headache coming back). Tom’s concert was a good one, and was reasonably upbeat. The concert also features the multitalented Fred Sokolow as Tom’s accompaniest. Tom was also joined on two songs by Joe Frazier, who was an original member of the Chad Mitchell Trio. The song set was a mix of old favorites, one or two new/unrecorded songs, and a few topical songs:

Act I

  1. How Beautiful Upon the Mountain

  2. I’m Changing My Name to Fannie Mae
  3. Lament for a Lost Election
  4. Sarah Palin
  5. There Goes the Mountain
  6. Whose Garden Was This?
  7. Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound
    (with Joe Frazier)

  8. One Time Only
    (with Joe Frazier)

  9. And If It’s Not True
  10. Central Square
  11. The Marvellous Toy
  12. Bottle of Wine
Act II

  1. It Only Took 10 Years (Fred Sokalow)

  2. Did You Hear John Hurt
  3. He Couldn’t Lay His Hands On A Gun
  4. Jennifer’s Rabbit
  5. Katy
  6. Jennifer and Kate
  7. Marry Me Again
  8. Last Thing on my Mind (Parody)
  9. Last Thing on my Mind
  10. Rambling Boy
  11. The Bravest
  12. Comedians and Angels

Upcoming Theatre: Next week brings a bunch of dance programs at Van Nuys High School, with a Dance Showcase on Thursday, and the Alumni Dance Show on Friday. Saturday is still pending ticketing, but I hope to seeLoving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein” at ICT Long Beach. February starts with “Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune” at Repertory East on February 4, and (pending a ticket switch)Dangerous Beauty” at The Pasadena Playhouse on February 5. The next weekend also brings two shows: “The Marvelous Wonderettes at Cabrillo Music Theatre on February 12, and “Adding Machine: The Musical at The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble on February 13. The third weekend of February is another with two shows: “Rock of Ages at The Pantages Theatre on February 19, and “33 Variations at the Ahmanson Theatre for February 20. February closes with “Moonlight and Magnolias” at The Colony Theatre on February 26. March is also starting to fill up. It begins with a Noel Paul Stookey concert at McCabes on March 4. “Dangerous Beauty” was originally ticketed for March 5 is , but I’m hoping to change that so I can attend the MRJ Regional Man of the Year dinner at TBH. March 12 is being held for “The Cradle Will Rock” at the Blank Theatre (pending ticketing). Lastly, March 26 brings “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Repertory East. April will bring the Renaissance Faire, “The Producers” at Cabrillo Music Theatre, “The All Night Strut” at the Colony Theatre, and (pending ticketing) Brian Stokes Mitchell at the new Valley Performing Arts Center.

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