A Review of the Tom Paxton, Anne Hills & Bob Gibson aka Best of Friends CD
"Best Of Friends"

"Best Of Friends"
by Tom Paxton, Anne Hills and Bob Gibson

Copyright 2004
Appleseed Records
P.O. Box 2593
West Chester, PA 19380
ph: (610)701-5755

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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This is a 1985 Tom Paxton, Anne Hills and the late Bob Gibson concert performance turned into an unplanned CD. The genesis: a Rich Warren (WFMT - The Midnight Special) taped show of Paxton, Hills and Gibson, then known as Best Of Friends, performing at Holsteins, a Chicago folk music club.

Warren made the recording as part of his duties for WFMT and, in the vein of an urban legend turned real, folk fan memories of this short-lived 1980s band have been validated with this release, the only recorded evidence of the teaming up of this threesome.

Paxton and Hills continue to tour and produce music to this day but Bob Gibson died in 1996. Gibson, today the most obscure member of the trio (and certainly not to be confused with the Hall of Fame pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals), was an important figure who "owned" the Chicago folk music scene for many years and, according to the liner notes, assisted both Judy Collins and Joan Baez in finding their respective folk footing.

So, enough of the history. What about the music?

This is harmony singing, almost a 'lost art' in today's primarily singer-songwriter folk world. There are also songs of protest and social commentary with "The Death of Stephen Biko" (why have protest songs centered around individuals disappeared?), "Something's Wrong With the Rain" and "She Sits on the Table." A third element is the simple joy on display here in the intertwining of these three performers singing good songs.

So who and what is the target audience for this CD? Scratch such a crass question for this release isn't a commodity enveloped in the rollout of a pinpointed marketing campaign. This offering will certainly attract fans with long memories and appeal to those interested in a relic of relatively recent history. But aficionados of plain ol' unadorned and enjoyable folk music will also sup well at this musical smorgasbord.

Note: this is a live recording and audience applause follows the songs. In fact, there are periods of applause based just on the performers' announcements of some of the cuts.

Track List:

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