The Honor of His Company

Last night, we went to see the early Tom Paxton concert at McCabes Guitar in Santa Monica. For many, many, many, many years McCabes has been holding concerts in their back room; Tom is a long-time regular.

For those unfamiliar with Tom Paxton, he is one of the greats in American Folk Music. Tom started in the 1960s folks scene with greats such as Pete Seeger, Ian & Sylvia, Peter Paul and Mary, and other “New Folk” performers, and is still going strong in his 70th year. I never pass up a chance to see him when he is in town. He is one of my favorite folk performers (he’s even starting to eclipse PP&M), and McCabes is one of my favorite venues (ever since I first saw Shep Cooke play there in the early 1980s).

Attending the concert with me were nsshere, ellipticcurve, and ixixlix (in gf_guruilla’s stead, as she was sick [she gave me the cold I have today]). After a wonderful dinner at Rae’s (see “Dining Notes” below), all but EC got on line at McCabes. EC joined us about 10 minutes before the show started.

On to the show, which consisted of a single act (as I recall, Tom’s last show was also single-act, although the show before that had an intermission). Note that I didn’t keep a formal playlist — song titles are from memory. Tom mostly did songs from his new album “Comedians & Angels” [indicated with *](which will be formally released in the US early next year — it isn’t even on Amazon yet). These are mostly slower love songs. Songs that I remember Tom doing during the show are:

How Beautiful Upon The Mountain* The First Song Is For You*
And If It’s Not True* I Like The Way You Look*
A Long Way From Your Mountain* Jennifer and Kate*
You Are Love* Comedians and Angels*
George W. Told The Nation Katy
Jennifer’s Rabbit Bottle of Wine
The Last Thing on My Mind Ramblin’ Boy
The Bravest  

As a result of the song selection, the show was much slower in tone; something I also remember from Tom’s last show at McCabes. I miss the heavily political Tom and the faster songs, but I also understand that song tastes and selection changes as one ages. Tom, as always, was in fine form, and was ably assisted by the ever wonderful Fred Sokolow.

Currently, there’s nothing up coming on the concert agenda. I am thinking about getting tickets to Peter Paul & Mary at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in March 2008. As our “New Folk” musicians age (and especially given Mary’s health problems), this may be the last time they are in the Los Angeles area. McCabes also has a few interesting concerts coming up, including Odetta and Holly Near, but I’m not sure if I’ll get tickets. This is McCabes’ 50th Anniversary year, so they should have a spectacular concert schedule (including a big concert in the fall at UCLA). Of course, if the Austin Lounge Lizards ever bothered to come to Southern California (they visit NoCal regularly, but haven’t been down here in almost 5 years), I’d snap up tickets in a minute!

Dining Notes: Dinner for the evening was at Rae’s in Santa Monica. Rae’s is an old-time diner, in business since 1958. Not a chain, but a small local hangout with a few booths and a counter, super-friendly waitresses, clean facilities, and super-cheap prices (cash only). I had the Chicken Fried Steak, and it was excellent… and everything, from the soup to the potatoes, was home made. ixixlix had the turkey with stuffing, and nsshere had a ham and cheese omlette… both of which were supposedly excellent. Rae’s is one of those top-notch dives, an homage to 1950s diners that is real, not manufactured (read “Mel’s Drive In”, which we ate at on Friday night).