The Last Thing On My Mind


Today’s post was written by Paul.


“The Last Thing on my Mind” is one of the most widely recorded folk songs of all time. It was written by Tom Paxton. The first time I ever heard this song, Glen Campbell sang it. I know that it was also done by Johnny and June Cash, John Denver, Doc Watson, and the amazing Glaser Brothers, just to name a few.

I read online that this song singly funded Tom Paxton’s career and made his living. It was just one of those songs with great, wide appeal.

The last verse I sing in the video below (the one about the subway) actually came from a British parody of the song that was released. The story goes that Paxton liked that verse so much, he incorporated it along with his original verses. I can see why he liked it. The parody was about meeting a girl in a pub, and I can see how the rhyme of “rumbling” and “tumbling” would have been funny in the context of the parody, but I can also see how the verse adds a sense of loneliness in the context of the real song.

We always referred to this song as “the Paxton song,” calling it by no other name. We sang this song many times but never captured a take that we were satisfied with. Part of the problem is that I chose the key of B flat, when we really should have done it in C or maybe even D. I went through a phase back then where I was hung up on trying to see how low I could sing. I probably also wanted to keep the song where I could play in the G position with a capo, but forcing Pap to sing his tenor that low was like forcing a thoroughbred to walk.

This video has a rare appearance of nephew Ben on guitar. Though he can’t be seen, I also hear nephew Mark lightly slapping rhythm on an A-model mandolin. And I believe the Pressley twins must have been just out of frame playing with bubble wrap (either that or weaving a chair out of bamboo, judging from the sound). 🙂 Anyway, we hope you enjoy this video. To see a really great performance by the author himself, check out:…


I hope you enjoyed the post and the song. Happy Sunday!


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  • Reply
    Leon Estes
    May 23, 2018 at 3:17 am

    I love the way your family records your music from your home! Paul, I enjoy your singing even better than mine! (I am not recorded anywhere, so I will not quit my day job!) Keep on singing!

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    May 21, 2018 at 2:17 am

    paul thanks for the music choice…I love hearing the harmony..and always enjoy the music and the little feet tapping along
    much love to you…have a great week

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    May 20, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    I was thinking, harmonious brother duos and trios are a dime a dozen, but I can’t remember a a single instance of a father and son who sang together.
    The only fault I can hear is the lack of a strong bass line. That must have been before Tipper began her four string flat top fling.

    • Reply
      Papaw Ammons
      May 20, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      You know I forgot about the Zolla Boys.Their dad sings with them sometimes. They are not on the radio or TV very often but that’s not a mark of excellence in my book anyway. Here is an example I found Dad doesn’t take center stage, as any good dad will do for his kids, but I like this father and son harmony.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    May 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    such a beautiful post also enjoyed the other songs i found will looking through some of your other post hpoe you all have a great week

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 20, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    And Paul, I liked today’s post and I could almost hear Porter and Dolly singing that song. Pap was probably the Best Tenor I’ve ever heard and along with Paul made an awfully good group. Ben and Mark are good too. But Pap’s granddaughters have that Special Sound that makes me Proud.

    Nearly every Sunday, after I comment the computer says “can’t find Server”. I’ve unplugged everything and turned everything off for about 30 minutes, but I don’t know if it’s Firefox, Yahoo, or Frontier, or one of my sources like BioDefender trying to prevent Scams. It sure makes one Ill as a hornet. …Ken

    • Reply
      May 20, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Ken-I wonder if your error is because Sunday’s are when I back up my site. I’ll change the time and see if that helps. So glad you like our music 🙂

  • Reply
    May 20, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Great song and music. I have no words for how it touched me! I had heard it before, but I had never listened to the words until now. Thanks so much Paul.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    AMAZING job, Paul! We enjoyed it so much, and we sure do miss Pap. The two of you had such a special, tight harmony, so similar to the Louvin Brothers. That is hilarious about the girls and the bubble wrap! Thanks so much for sharing this and the background information. We’ve been listening to it for years, too, but never knew the story. I think the first ones I remember hearing singing it (other than our family get-togethers) was Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton. Also, Tony Rice. He does a great job picking it, but no better than you all. God bless you!!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Nice to hear this song again. I’ve only ever heard Tom Paxton sing it, and I used to play and sing it about a hundred years ago when I was about Chatter and Chitter’s age. But I never heard the part about the subway.

  • Reply
    Paul D Certo
    May 20, 2018 at 9:35 am

    I have Tom Paxton’s first two albums, and Last Thing is on one of them. I don’t recall anything in the liner notes about a parody, but I will dig them out and check. The Subway verse has been part of the song since Paxton’s first recorded it, but someone else may have recorded it before he did. Peter, Paul, & Mary cut an early version, I believe. I am curious about where you heard this story?

    • Reply
      Paul D Certo
      May 20, 2018 at 9:49 am

      My mistake, Paxton only sings 3 verses. Now I am wondering where I learned the Subway verse, I have been singing that verse for over 50 years, before Cash, Watson or Campbell.

    • Reply
      May 22, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Hi, Paul.
      It may not be correct, but I believe I read that about the subway verse on Wikipedia. The best I remember, it didn’t say necessarily that Paxton ever recorded the subway verse but maybe that he began including it when he sang it live. Most of the folks I’ve heard sing the song didn’t include the subway verse. I learned it from Tony Rice’s version. The song was so popular, you’d think there would have been parodies, but I can’t say that I’ve ever heard any.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    May 20, 2018 at 7:47 am

    Always enjoy your Sunday music.

  • Reply
    dianna thomas
    May 20, 2018 at 7:14 am

    A beautiful song for a beautiful Sunday morning. Tanya Tucker is my all time favorite singer (just got to see her AGAIN in Pigeon Forge a month ago…awesome concert by the way!) anyways we all know that Glen Campbell was her lifelong true love. A sad, but intriguing love story & ending at that. Hope you have a great day & I also hope you got my post about the okra seeds. I would love to try them. Let me know if you didnt get it & I will send address! Thanx a bunch!!!!

    • Reply
      May 20, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      Dianna-thank you for the comment-so glad you enjoyed the song! I did get your address so be on the lookout for the seeds 🙂

  • Reply
    Steve Smith
    May 20, 2018 at 7:08 am

    Great post! I need to add that song to my repertoire; it is a great one!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 20, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Beautiful song, Paul, thanks. It sounded like chair weaving to me!

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