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Meaning: Mr. Blue (Tom Paxton)

GUEST 24 Mar 18 - 02:17 PM
GUEST 24 Mar 18 - 02:20 PM
GUEST 24 Mar 18 - 07:22 PM
GUEST 25 Mar 18 - 01:05 AM
GUEST,Senoufou 25 Mar 18 - 04:13 AM
GUEST 25 Mar 18 - 04:24 AM
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Subject: Meaning: Mr. Blue (Tom Paxton)
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 02:17 PM

Hi folks - I've long been a fan of folk music, listened to a lot of Phil Ochs etc, though I'm not a English native speaker. Folk veteran Tom Paxton's songs are always simple and plain, easy to comprehend, but there are several songs I never got to understand.

Two of those are "Mr. Blue" (lyrics) and "All Night Long" (lyrics), both from 1968. I know that those two songs are both about politics, but really have no idea how and why they are about politics. A very similar one is John Prine's latest song, just out last week, "Caravan of Fools" (lyrics), which he said "accidentally" alluded to Donald Trump - but I really can't understand how the song has anything to do with him. (I'd thought that the song is about gambling if I didn't know it's about politics...)

Could anyone shed a light on this? Thank you very much.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Mr. Blue (Tom Paxton)
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 02:20 PM

Another one I can't understand is "Dance in the Shadows" (lyrics). Have no idea what the song is about, though I do like the melody.

And speak of John Prine, can anybody tell me why both "Donald and Lydia" and "My Own Best Friend" are about masturbation?? I don't find any reference... Yeah I'm dumb!


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Mr. Blue (Tom Paxton)
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 07:22 PM

My take only, your mileage may vary:

I don't think "All Night Long" is particularly about politics; it's about life in general, angst, doubt, self-doubt, and resolving to be one's own person no matter what life may throw at one. I'm quite fond of it.

"Mr. Blue" is Paxton's variation on 1984; Mr. Blue is choosing to express his individuality by thinking and dreaming for himself, and The Man, Big Brother, Fearless Leader, call him what you will, has sent some goons to give him a friendly warning that such behavior will not be tolerated. The band Clear Light did a heavy version of this song (two drummers!) that got a lot of FM airplay in the late 1960s, but Paxton's original carries a nicer tone of menace; you can see the big guys flexing their muscles and fondling the weapons concealed in their pockets as they smile and politely tell Mr. Blue that "we've got our eye on you."


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Mr. Blue (Tom Paxton)
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Mar 18 - 01:05 AM

Thanks so much GUEST. Your answer enlightened me all at once. The song is not hard to understand at all, and sadly, it's still perfectly relevant today here in my country. And maybe yours as well.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Mr. Blue (Tom Paxton)
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 25 Mar 18 - 04:13 AM

Am I imagining it, or did I see Tom Paxton perform at the Edinburgh Folk Club in the Sixties?


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Mr. Blue (Tom Paxton)
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Mar 18 - 04:24 AM

I believe he did perform a lot in the UK in the 60's and 70's, performed Isle of Wight 1969, befriended Ralph McTell, Mary Hopkin and John Lennon, and even lived in England for some years.


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