The Lost American Songwriter – Tom Pacheco

Back in the olden days before Camden Town turned into a cheap seaside and etsy version of itself..before coffee shops and beardy tattoo parlours there was an excellent record shop at 281 Camden High Street called Rhythm Records just before the canal on the right hand side headed towards Kentish Town.

I know because I used to spend my 1980s wages in there on a regular basis as at that time it was the best shop after Rock On for new American folk, country and blues lps. Indeed I preferred the basement there as I remember distinctly their wall displays of Tom Russell, Rosanne Cash, Terry Clarke, Christy Moore etc etc and lps like this.

The first Tom Pacheco Lp was on a fledgling Round Tower label out of Dublin financed by Clive Hudson of CBS apparently and he released ‘Eagle in The Rain’ recorded in Dublin and with a great Irish musical line-up which included Arty McGlynn and even included Uillean Pipes such was the Irish feel to it. At this period I was fast realising my ambition to be the UK Nick Cave was falling on deaf ears and I had discovered Texas Songwriters through Townes Van Zandt. Reading Folk Roots and Arthur Wood’s articles in Country Music People I avidly sought out any new post Dylan guy who could pen a literate toon.

Amongst these Mr Tom Pacheco stood out. Little did I know then that this dude had been there all the time actually releasing a self-penned ‘New Dylan’ Lp when just 19 years old. This is that LP…

Tom Pacheco – Turn Away Fom the Storm (1965)

So some 25 years later our Dylanite turns up in Dublin and produces a corker of a singer-songwriter LP the tunes of which I still know even though I not heard in many a year. Opener Roberta and Ramona is a almost talking blues with Springsteen overtones but is pure Pacheco. The sleeve art is out of Gram and Emmylou picture book and the overall tone is very left-wing almost Green Party before it existed fully. Pacheco’s father was a jazz musician and his brother played in the legendary gararge rock band The Remains. He was well-versed in rock mythology and also knew his post Guthrie dustbowl lineage. I think this LP appeared alongside Peter Rowan’s Dustbowl Children, Dave Alvin solo works and Butch Hancock’s Demon retrospective. He belonged in such company and of course Tom Russell and Barrence Whitfield were on the newly re-named Round Tower records.

Tom Pacheco – Eagle in The Rain (1989)

Now I confess I know I saw all of the above play but I cannot be sure if I ever saw Tom play which surprising. My feeling is I missed out. I left London in 1989 taking this LP with me and only returned in 1991 at which point I had deluded myself enough that I was Townes Van Zandt that I sent a tape to Round Tower after meeting the woman in charge in London at a Tom Russell gig.
She was talking to the legendary John Tobler who had already been a victim of my lo-fi tape extravanganza ‘Black River’. He said with a voice like mine I should write..wise words..

Shaun Belcher – Black River (1991)

Tom Pacheco was in that mix of influences by then and I guess I still have a craving to sound like a cool stateside songwriter but things do fade in time.

Now I really do write about it.

The lady at Round Tower kindly replied to my tape with a polite close but no cigar message and a pack of Round Tower cds which included Tom Russell and Barrence Whitfield and I believe the first of these cds Sunflowers which I have treasured ever since.

Years later in Oxford I met up with my friend Terry Clarke whose LP I had also seen in Rhythm Records and it all connected to Flyinshoes Webzine. There I interviewed a whole raft of similarly obscure songwriters from the states…

The Lost American Songwriter Review is what it should have been called.

So here I am 30 years later suddenly surprised by a whole set of Tom Pacheco cds in a charity shop some signed to Andy who I believe was a local Americana fan who passed away in last few years.
Tom P probably played the Maze at some point for my buddies at Cosmic American but I managed to miss him….I saw just about everybody else.

Maybe I should start a new webzine called The Lost American Songwriter Review because so many great talents like Tom have slipped from view. They were never under the radar let alone on it. People like James Talley and Tom Ovans who continued the Guthrie/Dylan tradition of protest onwards into the 70s and beyond.

That idea is for another day..for now although thirty years late..I have a whole lot of Tom Pacheco to catch up on. Cheers Tom and wherever you are I wish you sláinte….And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead” a true Outsider..

For further Tom music try this for starters…what a cover..

Or visit his Adobe..

Finally Tom in his prime and that gig I seem to have missed!

Oh and Round Tower lable is a treat it started in 1987 and ended in 2000 but put out a lot of excellent recordings.

Pete Pawsey and Burnt Paw – JamCafe Nottingham 28th December 2017

I have not written a review in many years.

In fact the last attempt was the first blog post on this website back in October 2015 when I saw Ron Sexsmith play a lovely solo set at the Glee Club Nottingham.

Last Thursday an old music journalism friend Pete Pawsey was over from North Carolina and supported by Burnt Paw (Andrew Green) played a lovely set of traditional folk and blues material.

I celebrated this by getting my old reviews notebook out (see images below) this pretty much ended in 2004 when I passed Flyinshoes Review on to Rob Ellen and I pleased to say it still going strong 😉

This the Burnt Paw/ Pete Pawsey entry including Burnt Paw drawing which he gives out to audience at his gigs..


both performances were excellent and I have a video of Pete doing stirling renditions of Randy Newman’s ‘Birmingham’ and his own ‘Yesterday’s Clothes’ which I hope to post in due course with his permission.

Listen to more Burnt Paw here

His songs were arcane americana themed with a real feel for Jansch/Renbourn/Davey and lashings of Fahey but most of all he reminded me of a similar wandering spirit Michael Chapman.

Pete Pawsey and Radar’s Clowns of Sedation here   

Pete played some lovely Randy Newman and Tom Waits/Nick Cave covers interspersed with some well written own tunes especially ‘Yesterday’s Clothes’.

A few hours of backwoods mysticism in a chilly and almost dead post-Christmas Nottingham was a joy to witness.

Meanwhile here photos from the gig.

Joe South – Midnight Rainbows

Bargain of the year! This almost mint copy of Joe South’s second to last album from 1975 cost me 50p.

I have seen cover many times over the years but never investigated further.

Once I put it on the deck I realised it a keeper. There a very full and beautifully written eulogy to the man here: 

This says all you need to know about his career going back to the late 1950s. I never knew he played bass on Blonde on Blonde nor that he was such a rated guitarist and was experimenting with guitar techniques and hacks way back. A new hero.

The album is astonishing and indeed Nillson and Beatlesque in its depth and variety. He had spent four years ‘missing’ following the suicide of his brother and this album was some kind of a comeback. From the sitar playing on the famous Games People Play he had been an innovator but I still unprepared for just how good this LP is.

It made me pull out a See for Miles reissue of his first album Introspect. I also found a double CD rip of the two later albums Games People Play and Joe South. All highly recommended..Southern Roots at its best.

Here the man himself on youtube in 1969 TV appearance..



Eve of Destruction – Barry Maguire


Do not know where or when I picked this up. Probably bought for the cover and a little familiarity with the title track. Produced by Lou Adler on his own Dunhill Records which had bigger hits with the Mama and Papas and Carole King. We are firmly in ‘New Dylan’ territory and it not surprising that fellow folkie P.F.Sloan provides a couple of tracks alongside Dylan himself. The Dylan covers are polite and pleasant. The production pure Terry Melcher or CBS studio A Johnston . The stand out is this the title track. A cold war track of unending relevance even now sadly. Maguire found religion and became a major artist on The God and Jesus circuit long before Dylan found himself ironically. Overall a novelty record but worth it for a couple of nice tracks. I once had the P.F.Sloan greatest hits which overall a better album. I believe P.F.Sloan made a comeback recently just before he passed away in November 2015. Here’s the track..enjoy.

For more on Maguire see he a little less hair now…


P.F.Sloan OBIT: