Tom Paxton + Janis Ian – Live @ The Barbican
aaamusic | On 01, Apr 2014
Tuesday 25th March, London
Two of the USA’s finest folk singer songwriters, Tom Paxton and Janis Ian, well known for their controversial views, first met in Greenwich Village in the 60s. At this Together At Last performance they were on stage together in the UK for the first time and joined by international multi-instrumentalist Robin Bullock on mandolin.
Tom Paxton sings songs about love, humour, protest, conscience and children and they’ve been recorded by artists like Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Marianne Faithfull. He began with the inspiring ‘How Beautiful Upon The Mountain’ and sang about how ‘lucky’ he was to have two beautiful daughters ‘Jennifer and Kate.’ His classics included ‘Ramblin’ Boy’,’Bottle of Wine’ and ‘The Last Thing on My Mind.’
Janis’s platinum hit, the provocative ‘Society’s Child’, was a taboo breaking song about interracial romance that some radio stations refused to play when she wrote it aged 15. This was the peak of the American civil rights movement and she received some frightening death threats. Her bitter-sweet 70s hit, the emotional ‘At Seventeen’, won a Grammy Award and became her signature song. Janis also sang an amusing topical song about her relationship with her female partner. They had married in Toronto, but returned home to the USA to be ‘single’ still, as determined by the rules of the state they lived in.
Janis Ian and Tom Paxton succeeded with a warm, friendly and confident performance singing their much-loved lyrical ballads. It was an evening of nostalgic songs and good harmonies. Together they’ve probably created some of the best folk songs of the past half century.