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Track 9—From When We Were Young (2011)

Last Thing On My Mind

Tom Paxton, EMI U Catalog Inc.


It's a lesson too late for the learning
Made of sand, made of sand
In the wink of an eye my soul is turnin'
In your hand, In your hand



Are you going away with no word of farewell

Will there be not a trace left behind
I could've loved you better

Didn't mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind


You’ve got plenty of reasons for going

This I know, this I know

The weeds have been steadily growing

Please don't go, please don't go (Chorus)

As I lie in my bed in the morning

Without you, without you

Every song in my breast dies of boredom

Without you, without you (Chorus)


I purchased my first guitar the day after I graduated from high school in 1974. I had wanted a guitar ever since I was a freshman, but my parents sternly said “No.” As I look back now, my parents were quite wise. Since I was an academic failure in high school and involved in most sports and extra-curricular activities, my parents realized that I didn’t need another distraction to make my grades go even lower.


Saving up $75 dollars I acquired a Goya twelve-string at a neighboring music store. It didn’t take long to realize that when you’re learning to play the guitar you don’t begin on a twelve string. Attempting to press down two strings at a time instead of one is not for beginners. Being left-handed, another great challenge that I faced was forcing myself to learn to play right-handed. I knew that it would be difficult to find and afford left-handed instruments so I disciplined myself to learn to play right-handed.


A friend showed me three chords (G, C and D) and I was pretty much on my own. After I took six of the strings off, it still took several months of struggle and pain to get my fingers to contort to the proper positions and to work on establishing the necessary calluses.


By mid-summer, Paxton’s “Last Thing On My Mind” was one of the first songs I learned to play all the way through.