Tom Paxton: “The Last Thing On My Mind”

Paxton Last Thing On My Mind

Folksinger and songwriter Tom Paxton was born on October 31, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois. We celebrate today with one of his classic songs, “The Last Thing On My Mind.”

“The Last Thing On My Mind” first appeared on Paxton’s 1964 album Ramblin’ Boy. It has been covered by numerous artists, recently appearing on the soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) in a version by Stark Sands with the Punch Brothers.

In this video, Paxton introduces “The Last Thing On My Mind” as a love song, but it is also a song about loss. The singer’s lover has left him, and while he contemplates what he did wrong, he realizes it is “a lesson too late for the learnin’.” He realizes he could have loved the person better, and the last thing on his mind was being unkind.

We do not know what happened to the narrator and his former lover, but Paxton is still going strong. He recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for a new CD, Redemption Road, and he continues to tour around the country. Happy birthday Mr. Paxton!

What is your favorite Tom Paxton song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    NC Music Love Army Continues Music’s History of Protest

    Governor Pat McCrory

    I long have been a fan of Caitlin Cary‘s music that includes her days as part of Whiskeytown (with Ryan Adams) and her solo career. One of her latest projects finds her joining her musical talents with others to make a statement. In 2013, Cary and singer-songwriter Jon Lindsay co-founded NC Music Love Army. The group is a collective of musicians with a connection to North Carolina who wanted to make a statement about regressive politics in the state. The artists released an album of protest songs in 2013 called We Are Not For Sale: Songs of Protest.

    In 2014, as we approach election time, the group is releasing additional songs. Below, listen to Mary Johnson Rockers sing “Senator’s Lament,” a song about the land that sounds timeless while also being timely. After the song, you may listen to alternate versions on the player too.

    In “Dear Mr. McCrory,” Lindsay wrote a song directed at the governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory. On the song about voter suppression in the state and civil rights, Lindsay is joined by Cary and BJ Barham (of American Aquarium).

    In “Dear Mr. McCrory,” Lindsay asks a question we wonder about for many politicians, “When you were a young man did you wanna be / This person here before us today?” Check it out.

    You may download “Dear Mr. McCrory,” “Senator’s Lament,” and other songs through NC Music Love Army’s website. [October 29, 2014 Update: Check out the latest release through NC Music Love Army of "Train Coming" by Dasan Ahanu and Jrusalam.]

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    OK Go: “I Won’t Let You Down”

    OK Go Umbrella

    OK Go has released another one of their exciting videos, this time with the fancy umbrella work in the video for “I Won’t Let You Down.” The video is directed by singer Damian Kulash and by Kazuaki Seki.

    Check out the video for “I Won’t Let You Down,” which is from OK Go’s Hungry Ghosts album.

    If you are wondering about the motorized scooters that the band members are riding, they are called UNI-CUBs. Also, Rolling Stone has more about the making of the video.

    What is your favorite OK Go video? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Watch Sci-Fi Film That Promotes Real Rosetta Comet Mission

    European Space Agency

    The European Space Agency released a short science fiction film, Ambition, to promote its upcoming real Rosetta probe. The ESA hopes the unusual tactic will help explain to the general public the purpose of the mission, which is a study of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November, they will put a small robot on to the surface of the ice comet to analyze it.

    The film, which runs less than seven minutes, stars Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Aisling Franciosi. Check out Ambition and learn more about the Rosetta probe.

    Ambition was filmed in Iceland, and it initially screened in London on October, 24 2014 during the British Film Institute’s sci-fi program, Days of Fear and Wonder. For more on the making of the film, check out this video.

    Did the ESA come up with a good way to teach science? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Harry Shearer’s New Series on Richard Nixon

    Nixon Web Series

    Actor Harry Shearer, famous for his work in This Is Spinal Tap, Saturday Night Live, and The Simpsons, is tackling a new character with his YouTube mini-series, former president Richard M. Nixon. In the new series, entitled Nixon’s the One, Shearer portrays Nixon by following transcripts of actual audio recordings of Nixon. The results are both illuminating and funny.

    Shearer and Nixon scholar and author Stanley Kutler listened to Nixon recordings to find segments that reveal Nixon’s everyday life. Shearer explained to CBS that he always felt that portrayals of Nixon missed something about the man. Shearer sees him as “this strange, self-torturing, self-destroying guy who was, in my point of view, darkly comic.” These new episodes attempt to capture that tragic and comic part of Nixon.

    This segment of Nixon’s the One gives a hidden-camera view of Nixon talking to Henry Kissinger about John F. Kennedy.

    The following episode captures Nixon’s conversations as he prepares to give his speech to the nation announcing his resignation. As Nixon engages the reporters in small talk as he prepares to resign, the result is funny but also heartbreaking. Certainly, it captures the loneliness of Nixon at that moment. Check it out.

    It should not be too surprising that the man who does the voice of Mr. Burns would help us see another side of President Nixon. Check out other segments of Nixon’s the One on YouTube. If you want to compare the resignation video to the real thing, see below.

    Who is your favorite actor to portray Nixon? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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