Tom Paxton at a concert in 2007
|Birth name||Thomas Richard Paxton|
October 31, 1937 |
|Labels||Elektra, Vanguard, Rhino, Reprise, Flying Fish, Rounder, Mountain Railroad, Sugar Hill, Appleseed|
Thomas Richard "Tom" Paxton (born October 31, 1937) is an American folk singer-songwriter who has had a music career spanning more than fifty years. In 2009, Paxton received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Paxton's songs have demonstrated enduring appeal, including modern standards such as "The Last Thing on My Mind", "Bottle of Wine", "Whose Garden Was This", "The Marvelous Toy", and "Ramblin' Boy". Paxton's songs have been recorded by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, The Weavers, Judy Collins, Sandy Denny, Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Harry Belafonte, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Seekers, Marianne Faithfull, The Kingston Trio, the Chad Mitchell Trio, John Denver, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, Willie Nelson, Flatt & Scruggs, The Move, The Fireballs, and many others (see covers). He has performed thousands of concerts around the world.
Paxton's songs can be emotionally effective and cover a wide range of topics, from the serious and profound to the lighthearted and comical. "What Did You Learn in School Today?" mocks the way children are often taught lies. "Jimmy Newman" is the story of a dying soldier and "My Son John" is a moving song about a soldier who comes back home and cannot even begin to describe what he has been through. "Beau John" is a civil rights era song about taking a stand against racial injustice. "A Thousand Years" tells the chilling tale of Neo-Nazi uprising, and "Train for Auschwitz" is about the Holocaust. "On the Road from Srebrenica" is about Bosnian Muslims who were killed in a 1995 massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "The Bravest" is a song about the firefighters who gave their lives while trying to save others on September 11, 2001. Then there are Paxton's "short shelf life songs", which are topical songs about current events and things in the news. They include: "In Florida", about the 2000 election; "Without DeLay", a song about the former congressman; "Bobbitt", about John and Lorena Bobbitt; "Little Bitty Gun", which lampoons Nancy Reagan; "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler", about the federal loan guarantee to Chrysler in 1979 (which was rewritten in 2008 as "I Am Changing My Name to Fannie Mae" about the 700 billion dollar "bailout of the U.S. financial system"); "The Ballad of Spiro Agnew", and "Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation" (which became "George W. Told the Nation" in 2007).
Paxton was born on October 31, 1937, in Chicago, Illinois to Burt and Esther Paxton. His father was "a chemist, mostly self-educated", and as his health began to fail him, the family moved to Wickenburg, Arizona. It was here that young Paxton began riding horses at the numerous dude ranches in the area. It was also here that he was first introduced to folk music, discovering the music of Burl Ives and others.
In 1948, the family moved to Bristow, Oklahoma, which Paxton considers to be his hometown. Soon after, his father died from a stroke. Paxton was about fifteen when he received his first stringed instrument, a ukulele. He was given a guitar by his aunt when he was sixteen, and he soon began to immerse himself in the music of Burl Ives and Harry Belafonte.
In 1955, Paxton enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, where he studied in the drama school. It was here that he first found other enthusiasts of folk music and discovered the music of Woody Guthrie and The Weavers. Paxton would later note, "Woody was fearless; he'd take on any issue that got him stirred up ... and he became one of my greatest influences." In college, he was in a group known as the Travellers, and they sang in an off-campus coffeehouse.
Upon graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Paxton acted in summer stock theatre and briefly tried graduate school before joining the Army. While attending the Clerk Typist School in Fort Dix, New Jersey, he began writing songs on his typewriter and spent almost every weekend visiting Greenwich Village in New York City during the emerging early 1960s folk revival.
Shortly after his honorable discharge from the Army, Paxton auditioned for the Chad Mitchell Trio via publisher Milt Okun in 1960. He initially received the part, but his voice did not blend well enough with those of the group members. However, after singing his song "The Marvelous Toy" for Okun, he became the first writer signed to Milt's music publishing company, Cherry Lane Music Publishing.
Paxton soon began performing at The Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village, where he became a mainstay. In 1962, he recorded a privately produced live album at the Gaslight entitled, I'm the Man That Built the Bridges. During his stay in Greenwich Village, Paxton published some of his songs in the folk magazines Broadside and Sing Out!, and performed alongside such folksingers as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Eric Andersen, Dave Van Ronk, and Mississippi John Hurt. Paxton met his future wife, Midge, at the Gaslight one night in January 1963 after being introduced to her by David Blue.
Pete Seeger picked up on a few of Tom Paxton's songs in 1963, including "Ramblin' Boy" (which Seeger performed at The Weavers reunion concert at Carnegie Hall) and "What Did You Learn in School Today?" Paxton increased his profile as a performer, appearing at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, which was recorded by Vanguard Records. A month after Newport in 1963, Paxton married Midge. He began traveling the country on the coffeehouse and small-venue circuit before returning to New York. Paxton became involved with causes that promoted human rights, civil rights and labor rights. In 1963, Paxton and a group of other folk musicians performed and offered moral support to striking coal miners in Hazard, Kentucky.
After returning to New York, Paxton signed with Elektra Records in 1964, a label which at that time featured a distinguished roster of folk musicians. He would go on to record seven albums for Elektra. As the folk revival hit its peak, Paxton began getting more work outside of New York City, including benefit concerts and college campus visits. In 1964, he took part in the Freedom Summer and visited the Deep South, with other folk musicians, to perform at voter registration drives and civil rights rallies. His civil rights song "Beau John" was written after attending a Freedom Song Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia, and the song "Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney" was written about the murders of three civil rights activists (Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney) in the summer of 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Numerous musicians of various musical genres began recording Paxton's songs as the 1960s progressed.
Of the songwriters on the Greenwich Village scene of the 1960s, Dave Van Ronk said, "Dylan is usually cited as the founder of the new song movement, and he certainly became its most visible standard-bearer, but the person who started the whole thing was Tom Paxton ... he tested his songs in the crucible of live performance, he found that his own stuff was getting more attention than when he was singing traditional songs or stuff by other people ... he set himself a training regimen of deliberately writing one song every day. Dylan had not yet showed up when this was happening, and by the time Bobby came on the set, with at most two or three songs he had written, Tom was already singing at least 50 percent his own material. That said, it was Bobby's success that really got the ball rolling. Prior to that, the folk community was very much tied to traditional songs, so much so that songwriters would sometimes palm their own stuff off as traditional."
In 1965, Paxton made his first tour of the United Kingdom. The tour was the beginning of a still-thriving professional relationship that has included yearly performances there. He met Bruce Woodley, one of the founding members of the Australian folk group The Seekers and they collaborated on the song "Angeline (Is Always Friday)" which The Seekers recorded and featured in their concerts, TV shows and a DVD. In 1967, the rock group Clear Light recorded a menacing and lengthy psychedelic version of Paxton's song "Mr. Blue" on their only album Clear Light. Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton's recording of "The Last Thing on My Mind" reached the top ten on the U.S. country singles charts in December 1967. Then in 1968, Paxton scored a Top 10 radio hit when The Fireballs recorded his song "Bottle of Wine". In the 1960s, Paxton licensed one of his songs, "My Dog's Bigger than Your Dog", for use in a Ken-L Ration dog food commercial. Not too fazed by the success of some of his songs, Paxton continued writing and performing. He was not interested in jumping on the folk rock (or, as he once joked, "folk rot") bandwagon though, and continued his folk singer-songwriter style on albums like Outward Bound (1966) and Morning Again (1968). On January 20, 1968, three months after the death of Woody Guthrie, Paxton and a number of other prominent folk musicians performed at the Harold Leventhal produced "A Tribute to Woody Guthrie" concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall.
Paxton decided to try some more elaborate recording techniques, including neo-chamber music with string sections, flutes, horns, piano, various session musicians, as well as his acoustic guitar and vocals, similar to what his labelmate Judy Collins and his friend Phil Ochs were experimenting with around this time. Paxton finally broke into the album pop charts with The Things I Notice Now in the summer of 1969, and also charted with Tom Paxton 6 in the spring of the following year. His song "Whose Garden Was This", an environmentalist anthem written for the first Earth Day, was later recorded by John Denver and became the title track of Denver's 1970 album. The diverse "Baroque Folk" experimentation on Paxton's recordings was basically short-lived though, and he tended to think that the music was becoming too overproduced and away from the more natural acoustic roots that he loved best. Regarding this time, he said, "the acoustic guitar has always been what I loved the most ... I know I didn't have that rock mentality or anything. I was still a kid from a small town in Oklahoma. And I just wanted to hear folk songs." Paxton continued to sing and perform his songs on acoustic guitar at his live performances, and it wasn't too long before his albums would once again generally reflect his original traditional-sounding style.
Paxton, his wife and their two daughters lived in Holland Park, London for about four years in the early 1970s. After a stay in England due to professional success and love of the country, Paxton and Midge went on a tour of New Zealand and China and even appeared on a Chinese talk show. Paxton released How Come the Sun in 1971. The album gave him his highest chart ranking in the U.S. but it only reached number 120 and his next album, Peace Will Come (1972), barely even reached the charts. He soon returned to New York and the Long Island town of East Hampton before moving to the Washington, D.C. area around 1977. After recording three albums for Reprise Records and a few for "an English label that didn't pan out well", Paxton signed with Vanguard Records, with whom he recorded a live album with Steve Goodman, New Songs From the Briarpatch (1977), which contained some of Paxton's topical songs of the 1970s, including "Talking Watergate" and "White Bones of Allende" as well as a song dedicated to Mississippi John Hurt entitled "Did You Hear John Hurt?" In 1978, Paxton released his album Heroes, which contained a song, "Phil", about his friend Phil Ochs, who had taken his own life in 1976. The album also includes the song "The Death of Stephen Biko", which details the brutal killing of anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko in South Africa.
Paxton's 1979 album, Up and Up, contains the song "Let the Sunshine", which addresses issues concerning environmentalism and solar energy. Paxton has also performed at the Clearwater Festival, an annual event, started by Pete Seeger, dedicated to environmentalism and cleaning up the Hudson River. His 1983 album Bulletin includes a song about Woody Guthrie entitled "They Couldn't Take the Music."
After recording for labels such as Mountain Railroad and Flying Fish in the 1980s, Paxton started his own label, Pax Records, in 1987. It was during this time that Paxton continued to suffer from an undiagnosed and deepening depression that affected his work. With some advice from Midge, he began to look for a solution and was eventually diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, for which he received ongoing treatment.
As the 1990s rolled around, Paxton began delving deeply into children's music, recording nine children's albums during the decade. In July 1994, Paxton was invited to perform at a folk festival in Israel, "Jacob's Ladder", and he played there and a series of concerts around Israel accompanied by folk guitarist and harmonica player Shay Tochner. Paxton recorded a live album in 1996 with his good friend Jim Rooney, and it contained some new comical songs about current events. Eric Weissberg, John Gorka, Robin and Linda Williams, among others, also performed; and the album was titled Live: For the Record. In the mid-1990s, Paxton also began to give more workshops in songwriting.
In 2000, Paxton once again began to write more of the topical songs for which he originally became known. In 2001, he released an album with Anne Hills entitled Under American Skies, and in 2002, he released an album of all new songs entitled Looking for the Moon (Appleseed Recordings). At the time of its release, Paxton was quoted saying that it might be his best album so far. Looking for the Moon contains the song "The Bravest", which is about the firefighters who gave their lives while trying to save others in New York City on September 11, 2001. Around this time, Paxton began writing and releasing his "Short Shelf Life Songs" about current events for free download on his website. Paxton wrote a number of topical protest songs that were critical of the Bush administration's actions. In 2007, he rewrote a song of his from 1965 entitled "Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation", about the escalation of the war in Vietnam, and transformed it into "George W. Told The Nation", about the surge in the Iraq war. In 2007, Tom Paxton became one of the founding members of the Copyright Alliance, whose purpose is to promote the cultural and economic benefits of copyrights.
In 2008, Paxton rewrote his song "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler", about the federal loan guarantee to Chrysler in 1979, as "I Am Changing My Name to Fannie Mae", about the 700 billion dollar "bailout of the U.S. financial system". He continues to perform yearly tours of the United States and UK.
Paxton performed his officially final touring concert (to date) at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia on November 14th, 2015, and has now entered "semi-retirement," though he has not foreclosed the option of one-off performances in the future.
Personal life and family
Paxton married his wife, Midge, in 1963. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Kate, and three grandsons. He has described his political views in the following way: "My own politics more or less resembled Will Rogers's politics. He had said that he belonged to no organized political party — he was a Democrat ... Being young and impassioned almost automatically put me over on the radical side of most issues. Being older, I find myself still more or less there, somewhat to my surprise." Midge Paxton died in 2014 after a long illness.
Awards, honors, and nominations
In February 2002, Paxton was honored with the ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award in Folk Music. A few days later, he received three Wammies (Washington, DC, Area Music Awards); as Best Male Vocalist in the "traditional folk" and "children's music" categories, and for Best Traditional Folk Recording of the Year for "Under American Skies" (2001).
Paxton has been nominated four times for Grammy Awards, all since 2002. He was first nominated in 2002 for his children's album, Your Shoes, My Shoes. The following year, Looking for the Moon received a 2003 nomination for "Best Contemporary Folk Album". Live In The UK (2005), received a 2006 Grammy nomination in the "Best Traditional Folk Album" category. Most recently, his 2008 album Comedians and Angels received a 2009 nomination, also in the "Best Traditional Folk Album" category. Paxton was honored with a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy, and the formal announcement was made during the 51st Annual Grammy Awards telecast, which aired on February 8, 2009.
In 2004, the Martin Guitar Company introduced the HD-40LSH Tom Paxton Signature Edition acoustic guitar in his honor. In 2005, Paxton received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at BBC Radio 2's Folk Awards at London's Brewery Arts Centre. In 2006, Paxton received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance. On January 22, 2007, Paxton was honored with an official Parliamentary tribute at the House of Commons of the United Kingdom at the start of his 2007 UK tour. On May 3, 2008, Paxton was honored with a special lifetime tribute from the World Folk Music Association, and a concert was held at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus, in Alexandria, Virginia.
Paxton's songs have been recorded by (among others):
List of works
- I'm the Man That Built the Bridges [live] (Gaslight, 1962)
- Ramblin' Boy (Elektra, 1964)
- Ain't That News! (Elektra, 1965)
- Outward Bound (Elektra, 1966)
- Morning Again (Elektra, 1968)
- The Things I Notice Now (Elektra, 1969)
- Tom Paxton 6 (Elektra, 1970)
- The Compleat Tom Paxton [live in June 1970 at the Bitter End nightclub, Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York] (Elektra, 1971)
- How Come the Sun (Reprise, 1971)
- Peace Will Come (Reprise, 1972)
- New Songs for Old Friends [live] (Reprise, 1973)
- Children's Song Book (Bradleys, 1974) (reissued in the U.S. ten years later under the title The Marvelous Toy and Other Gallimaufry (Cherry Lane / Flying Fish, 1984))
- Something in My Life (Private Stock, 1975)
- Saturday Night (MAM, 1976)
- New Songs from the Briarpatch [live] (Vanguard, 1977)
- Heroes (Vanguard, 1978)
- Up and Up (Mountain Railroad, 1979)
- The Paxton Report (Mountain Railroad, 1980)
- Bulletin (Hogeye, 1983)
- Even a Gray Day (Flying Fish, 1983)
- Tom Paxton in the Orchard (Cherry Lane Records, 1984)
- One Million Lawyers and Other Disasters (Flying Fish, 1985)
- A Paxton Primer (Pax, 1986)
- Folksong Festival 1986 (Pax, 1986)
- And Loving You (Flying Fish, 1986)
- Balloon-alloon-alloon (Sony Kids' Music, 1987)
- Politics Live [live] (Flying Fish, 1988)
- The Very Best of Tom Paxton (Flying Fish, 1988)
- In The Orchard [live] (Sundown Records, 1988)
- Storyteller (Start Records Ltd, 1989)
- It Ain't Easy (Flying Fish, 1991)
- A Child's Christmas (Sony Kids' Music, 1992)
- Peanut Butter Pie (Sony Kids' Music, 1992)
- Suzy Is a Rocker (Sony Kids' Music, 1992)
- Wearing the Time (Sugar Hill, 1994)
- Live: For the Record [live] (Sugar Hill, 1996)
- A Child's Christmas/Marvelous Toy and Other Gallimaufry (Delta, 1996)
- A Car Full of Songs (Sony Kids' Music, 1997)
- Goin' to the Zoo (Rounder, 1997)
- I've Got a Yo-Yo (Rounder, 1997)
- The Best of Tom Paxton (Hallmark, 1997)
- Live In Concert [live] (Strange Fruit, 1998)
- Fun Animal Songs (Delta, 1999)
- Fun Food Songs (Delta, 1999)
- A Car Full of Fun Songs (Delta, 1999)
- I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound: The Best of Tom Paxton (Rhino, 1999)
- Best of the Vanguard Years (Vanguard, 2000)
- Stars in Their Eyes (Cub Creek Records, 2000), duet with Mark Elliott
- Live From Mountain Stage [live] (Blue Plate, 2001)
- Under American Skies (Appleseed and Koch International, 2001)
- Ramblin' Boy/Ain't That News! (Warner Strategic Marketing, 2002)
- Your Shoes, My Shoes (Red House, 2002)
- Looking For The Moon (Appleseed, 2002)
- American Troubadour (Music Club, 2003)
- Best of Friends [live on 16 February 1985 at Holsteins folk club, Chicago, Illinois] (Appleseed Recordings, 2004) (originally taped for broadcast by WFMT's The Midnight Special radio show by its host, Rich Warren)
- The Compleat Tom Paxton (Even Compleater) [live] (Rhino Handmade, 2004)
- Outward Bound/Morning Again (Wea/Rhino, 2004)
- Live in the UK [live] (Pax, 2005)
- Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop [live] (Shout Factory, 2006)
- Comedians and Angels (Appleseed, 2008)
- Redemption Road (Pax Records, 2015)
Compilations and other recordings
- 1963 Newport Broadside [Compilation] [Live] (Vanguard, 1964)
- Broadside Ballads, Vol. 3: The Broadside Singers (Folkways, 1964)
- The Folk Box: Various Artists (Elektra, 1964)
- Folksong '65 Elektra 15th Anniversary Commemorative Album (Elektra, 1965)
- Tom Paxton: Tom Paxton (7-inch EP released in the UK)(EPK 802) (Elektra, 1967)
- Alive! Chad Mitchell Trio album (Reprise, 1967)
- Fantastic Folk: Various Artists (Elektra, 1968)
- Select Elektra: Various Artists (Elektra, 1968)
- Elektra's Best: Volume 1, 1966 through 1968: Various Artists (Elektra, 1968)
- Something to Sing About Various Artists (No label, circa 1968)
- Begin Here: Various Artists (Elektra, 1969)
- First Family of New Rock Various Artists (Warner Bros., 1969)
- 4/71: Various Artists: Elektra EK-PROMO 3 (Elektra, 1971)
- A Tribute to Woody Guthrie Part One [Live 1968] (CBS, 1972)
- A Tribute to Woody Guthrie Part Two [Live 1968] (Warner Bros., 1972)
- Broadside Ballads, Vol. 6: Broadside Reunion (Folkways, 1972)
- Greatest Folksingers of the '60s (Vanguard, 1972)
- Garden of Delights: Various Artists (Elektra, 1972)
- The Camera and the Song: Oklahoma Folk (BBC documentary soundtrack) (1976)
- Kerrville Folk Festival 1977 [Live] (P.S.G. Recording, 1977)
- Philadelphia Folk Festival [Live 1977] (Flying Fish, 1978)
- Bread & Roses Festival 1977 [Live] (Fantasy, 1979)
- The Perfect High Bob Gibson album (Drive Archive, 1980)
- CooP - Fast Folk Musical Magazine (Vol. 2, No. 1) First Anniversary (Folkways, 1983)
- Bleecker and MacDougal: The Folk Scene of the 1960s (Elektra, 1984)
- Fast Folk Musical Magazine (Vol. 2, No. 10) (Folkways, 1985)
- Storytellers: Singers & Songwriters (Warner Bros., 1987)
- A Tribute to Woody Guthrie (Warner Bros., 1989)
- Folked Again (Mountain Railroad, 1989)
- Ben & Jerry's Newport Folk Festival 88 (Alcazar, 1989)
- All-Ears Review, Volume 7: Still Amazing After All These Years (ROM, 1989)
- The Greenwich Village Folk Festival 1989-90 (Gadfly, 1990)
- Ben & Jerry's Newport Folk Festival, Vol. 2 (Alcazar, 1990)
- Newport Folk Festival (Vanguard, 1991)
- Smithsonian Collection of Folk Song America, Vol. 3 (Smithsonian, 1991)
- Troubadours of the Folk Era, Vol. 2 (Rhino, 1992)
- American Folk Legends (Laserlight, 1993)
- Put on Your Green Shoes (CBS, 1993)
- Animal Tales Bill Shontz album (Lightyear, 1993)
- Freedom Is a Constant Struggle (Songs of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement) (Folk Era, 1994)
- Folk Song America, Vol. 3 (Smithsonian Folkways, 1994)
- Folk [Friedman] (Friedman/Fairfax, 1994)
- To All My Friends in Far-Flung Places Dave Van Ronk album (Gazell, 1994)
- Never Grow Old Anne Hills and Cindy Mangsen album (Flying Fish, 1994)
- Christine Lavin Presents: Follow That Road: 2nd Annual Vineyard Retreat (Philo, 1994)
- A Child's Holiday (Alacazam!/Alcazar, 1994)
- The SilverWolf Homeless Project (Silverwolf/IODA, 1995)
- LifeLines Peter, Paul and Mary album (Warner Bros., 1995)
- Makin' a Mess: Bob Gibson Sings Shel Silverstein Bob Gibson album (Asylum, 1995)
- One More Song: An Album for Club Passim (Philo, 1996)
- Christine Lavin Presents: Laugh Tracks Vol.2 (Shanachie, 1996)
- Treestar Revue (Beacon, 1996)
- A Child's Celebration of Song, Vol. 2 (Rhino, 1996)
- A Very Cherry Christmas [Box Set] (Delta, 1996)
- Kid Songs Roth & Paxton & Young (Sony Special Products, 1996)
- Dog Songs (Disney, 1996)
- Vanguard Folk Sampler (Vanguard, 1996)
- Vanguard Collector's Edition [Box Set] (Vanguard, 1997)
- Christmas Treasures, Vol. 3 (Delta, 1997)
- Christmas Treasures [Box Set] (Laserlight, 1997)
- Christmas for Kids (Laserlight, 1997)
- Legendary Folk Singers (Vanguard, 1997)
- What's That I Hear? The Songs of Phil Ochs (Sliced Bread, 1998)
- Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger (Appleseed, 1998)
- Kerrville Folk Festival - 25th Anniversary Album (Silverwolf/IODA, 1998)
- Kerrville Folk Festival: Early Years 1972-1981 [Live] [Box Set] (Silverwolf, 1998)
- Generations of Folk, Vol. 2: Protest & Politics (Vanguard, 1998)
- Diamond Cuts (Hungry for Music, 1998)
- American Pie [Various Artists] (ZYX, 1998)
- Around the Campfire Peter, Paul and Mary album (Warner Bros., 1998)
- A Child's Christmas List (Delta, 1999)
- Sweet Dreams of Home Mae Robertson album (Lyric Partners, 1999)
- Best of Broadside 1962-1988 [Box Set] (Folkways, 2000)
- Follow the Music: Various (Elektra, 2000)
- Kerrville Folk Festival (Silverwolf, 2000)
- Soup Happens Hot Soup album (Souper, 2000)
- Philadelphia Folk Festival - 40th Anniversary [Live] [Box Set] (Sliced Bread, 2001)
- Vietnam: Songs from a Divided House (Q. Records, 2001)
- Kids, Cars and Campfires (Red House, 2001)
- Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom, 1950-1970 [Box Set] (Rhino, 2001)
- Radio Shows: Greatest Mysteries (Radio Spirits, 2001)
- Vanguard: Roots of Folk (Vanguard, 2002)
- Kerrville Folk Festival: The Silverwolf Years [Box Set] (Silverwolf, 2002)
- Celebration: Philadelphia Folk Festival 40th Festival (Sliced Bread, 2002)
- This Land Is Your Land: Songs of Unity (Music for Little People, 2002)
- Seeds: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Vol. 3 (Appleseed, 2003)
- A Beachwood Christmas (Beachwood, 2003)
- Bon Appétit! Musical Food Fun Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer album (Rounder, 2003)
- cELLAbration: A Tribute to Ella Jenkins (Folkways, 2004)
- Hail to the Thief II: Songs to Send Bush Packing (2004)
- Missing Persians File: Guide Cats Blind, Vol. 2 (Osmosys, 2005)
- Pop Masters: Early Mornin' Rain (Carinco AG/Digital Music Works, 2005)
- Christine Lavin Presents: One Meat Ball (Appleseed, 2006)
- Forever Changing: The Golden Age Of Elektra Records 1963-1973 (Rhino/Wea, 2006)
- Sowing the Seeds: The 10th Anniversary (Appleseed Recordings, 2007)
- Carolyn Hester released an album entitled Tom Paxton Tribute (Road Goes On Forever, 1999)
- Ramblin' Boy and Other Songs by Tom Paxton (music book) (Oak Publications, 1965)
- Tom Paxton Anthology (music book) (United Artists Music Co., 1971)
- Tom Paxton Folio of Songs (music book) (United Artists Music Co., 1972)
- Tom Paxton Easy Guitar (music book) (United Artists Music Co., 1975)
- Politics (music book) (Cherry Lane Music, 1989)
- I Can Read Now (sheet music) (Pax Records / Cherry Lane Music, 1989)
- The Authentic Guitar Style of Tom Paxton (music book) (Cherry Lane Music, 1989)
- Tom Paxton's Children's Songbook (music book) (Cherry Lane Music, 1990)
- A Car Full of Songs (music Book) (Cherry Lane Music, 1991)
- Wearing the Time (music book) (Cherry Lane Music, 1994)
- Ramblin' Boy and Other Songs (Music Sales Corporation, 1997)
- The Honor of Your Company (music book) (Cherry Lane Music, 2000)
- Aesop's Fables (William Morrow & Co, 1988)
- Belling the Cat and Other Aesop's Fables (William Morrow & Co, 1990)
- Engelbert the Elephant (William Morrow & Co, 1990)
- Androcles and the Lion: And Other Aesop's Fables (William Morrow & Co, 1991)
- Birds of a Feather and Other Aesop's Fables (William Morrow & Co, 1993)
- The Animals' Lullaby (Let Me Read, Level 3) (William Morrow & Co, 1993)
- Where's the Baby? (HarperCollins, 1993)
- Engelbert Moves the House (Let Me Read, Level 3) (Good Year Books, 1995)
- The Story of Santa Claus (HarperCollins, 1995)
- The Story of the Tooth Fairy (William Morrow & Company, 1996)
- Going to the Zoo (William Morrow & Company, 1996)
- Meet Tom Paxton - An Interview With Tom Paxton: Level 3 Reader (Good Year Books, 1996)
- Engelbert Joins the Circus (HarperCollins, 1997)
- The Jungle Baseball Game (Morrow Junior, 1999)
- Jennifer's Rabbit (HarperCollins, 2001)
- Tom Paxton In Concert (video) (Shanachie Records, 1992)
- Other appearances:
- Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest (TV show) (1965)
- BBC's Tonight In Person (TV show) (1966)
- Once More with Felix – aka "The Julie Felix Show" (Dec. 30, 1967)
- BBC's In Concert (TV show) (1970)
- The Mike Douglas Show (June 3, 1970)
- The Val Doonican Show (July 3, 1971)
- Tom Jones Variety Special #5 (July 15, 1971)
- Beat-Club episode #1.64 (1971)
- Soundstage: Just Folks with Odetta, Josh White, Jr. and Bob Gibson (1980)
- Chords of Fame (1984)
- Folk City: 25th Anniversary Concert with Odetta, Joan Baez, Eric Andersen, Arlo Guthrie (1987)
- The Folk Music Reunion (1988)
- The Story of the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem (1991)
- Peter, Paul and Mary: Lifelines (1996)
- This Land Is Our Land: The Folk Rock Years II (2003)
- Get Up, Stand Up: The Story of Pop and Protest (2003)
- Peter, Paul and Mary: Carry It On – A Musical Legacy (2004)
- The Ballad of Greenwich Village (2005)
- Pete Seeger: The Power of Song (2007)
- Let's Get Together: Highlights of the 20th Annual World Folk Music Association Benefit Weekend Concert (2008)
Paxton's song "Going to the Zoo" was included in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus entitled "It's the Arts (or: Intermission)" (Season 1, episode 13; aired January 11, 1970; recorded January 4, 1970). "Going to the Zoo" was also featured on an episode of Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show entitled "Zoo" (Season 1, Episode 9; aired, November 5, 1984). His song "Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation" was included in an episode of American Experience entitled LBJ (1991). "The Last Thing on My Mind" was included on Bravo Profiles Dolly Parton: Diamond in a Rhinestone World (aired September 6, 1999). A brief clip of Paxton was shown during the 51st Grammy Awards telecast on February 8, 2009, which announced his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He contributed original music for the short drama The Price of Art (2007; released June 5, 2009).
The Coen Brothers 2013 film Inside Llewyn Davis included a character named Troy Nelson who was played by Stark Sands. This was a satirical version of Paxton's period of traveling from Fort Dix to Greenwich Village on weekend passes to perform in Village clubs. Troy Nelson sings Paxton's "The Last Thing On My Mind" at the film's recreation of the Gaslight Cafe. Most of Paxton's fans found the portrayal of the stiff and self-satisfied Troy Nelson inaccurate. Many of the events that occur to Llewynn Davis in the film were drawn from the life of Dave van Ronk but most of van Ronk's friends and fans thought that the dour and resentful Llewynn was hardly an accurate portrayal either. In the film, Llewynn clearly dislikes Troy In reality, Dave van Ronk and Tom Paxton became fast friends early on. They were best men at each other's weddings, and in 2014 Paxton introduces a written tribute to van Ronk with the comment "he is still the best man".
- 2000: The Honor of Your Company; by Tom Paxton New York, NY: Cherry Lane Music Company ISBN 1-57560-144-3
- on YouTube
- Power Of Just Plain Folk, Tom Paxton Humbly Garners Life Grammy, J. Freedom du Lac, Washington Post, February 7, 2009, p. C01
- "Short Shelf-life Songs". Tom Paxton. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "Short Shelf-life Songs". Tom Paxton. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) p. 12.
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) p. 13.
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) p. 14.
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) pp. 14-15
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) p. 17.
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) pp. 18-19
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) pp. 20-21.
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) p.22
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) p.26
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) pp. 26-29
- Dave Van Ronk, The Mayor of MacDougal Street (2006) p. 197
- Tom Paxton, "Folk Rot", Sing Out! (Autumn 1965)
- Richie Unterberger Interview (2000) http://www.richieunterberger.com/paxton.html
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) p. 49
- ArtistDirect, Tom Paxton: Bulletin. Retrieved November 14, 2007
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000) p. 50
- Behind the Beat audio interview (2002) http://www.behindthebeat.net/artist.asp?sid=1&ar=320&al=315
- Short Shelf Life Songs; accessed June 12, 2014.
- "Tom Paxton's New Recording-Redemption Road". Kickstarter. 28 September 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- Tom Paxton, The Honor of Your Company (2000), p. 40
- "The Marvelous Toy and Other Gallimaufry – AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann". All Music. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "Tom Paxton – Best of Friends CD – Best of Friends CD music Product Description". cduniverse.com. Retrieved 14 October 2015.