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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08lVu…
I hope you enjoyed the post and the song. Happy Sunday!