He came sporting a collection of his own songs including one he had written as an engagement present for his then new wife, Midge. It was My Lady’s A Wild Flying Dove, and it has remained one of his and his audience’s favourites ever since.
His other best known song is The Last Thing on My Mind, but at Poole’s Lighthouse Theatre the first and last thing was saying goodbye to his English audience. He cut his 2013 tour short to be with his ailing wife, and when she died last summer, Tom decided on one more concert series in the UK, not to let his fans down and to celebrate half a century of singing to us on home soil.
Now 77 years old, his voice is still unmistakably the same voice of his early recordings. He’s accompanied on this tour, which continues until 30th May at the Lowry, by his friend, the extravagantly talented guitarist and mandolin player Robin Bullock.
Tom has always tipped his cap to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger for his inspiration. He has tackled big issues like poverty, injustice, politics and climate change, along with the beautiful love songs. But the impish sense of humour shines through his live performances … this is not a man who takes himself too seriously, and the songs lose none of their impact from it.
The current set also includes There Goes the Mountain, Battle of the Sexes, Whose Garden Was This, My Pony Knows the Way, Central Square, Ireland and The Bravest – among many other new and old favourites.
At the end of the evening, to a standing ovation, Tom said this was not goodnight, but goodbye. He thanked English audiences for having given him and Midge “so much joy” over the years.
We’ll miss you, Tom, and thanks.