Tom Paley is one of the great survivors of the American folk and country scene. Sixty-two years ago, he played and sang with America's greatest folk hero Woody Guthrie, before going on becoming a founding member of that celebrated trio The New Lost City Ramblers, with whom he worked until the early 60s. Since then he has spent much of his time living modestly in London, and though he kept playing, he has been sadly overlooked until a group of Paley enthusiasts formed a co-operative to record this remarkably fresh-sounding album. He is in fine, easy-going voice on most of the songs, and his multi-instrumental work on guitar, banjo, fiddle and autoharp is still remarkable. No wonder that both Ry Cooder and Jerry Garcia once asked him for lessons. He's backed by a handful of musicians, including his son Ben on fiddle and Jason Steel on guitar, for a varied set that includes the traditional lament Green Grow the Lilacs, Blind Boy Fuller's Keep on Trucking, Mama, and Paley's own witty Beelzebubbles. He may be in his mid-80s, but this should revive his career.
Burgess Powers builds and designs web sites and applications for high availability