Tom Pacheco in the Press:
March 2008 Maverick Magazine 5 star review!
"Under-appreciated songwriter with 2 CD retrospective set
Tom Pacheco has been involved with music for the best part of his life. His late father Tony was a notable jazz guitarist who, before the war, toured extensively throughout Europe and played with the legendary Django Reinhardt. Tony Pacheco encouraged his son to take up guitar when he was around 10 years of age, and he tutored him.
Tom, an avid reader, was influenced by the work of early Beat Generation writers, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Cassidy and before long he too became something of a compulsive writer. The inspiration for his own writing came from diverse sources; newspaper headlines, radio and tv news programmes, history books, listening to first hand stories from friends-and total strangers, some humerous, some tragic, his own acute observation of people and events and, of course, a fertile imagination and the God-given gift of words.
He recorded his first album at the age of 19. Teaming up with Sharon Alexander, the duo recorded for CBS Records in 1971. By 1976 his talent as a writer and performer was recognised by Paul Nelson of Mercury records who wanted to sign him to the label, but although he failed to achieve that, he was instrumental in getting Tom a deal with RCA records, for whom he recorded two
1986 found Tom in Nashville where he was offered a writing contract with a major publisher but on reading the terms of his contractTom realised he would never be able to conform to the demands which would be placed on him to write for others and he turned his back on a deal which could have put more money in his pocket than he had ever seen before. The following year Tom embarked on what was intended to be a 6 week tour of Ireland, a 'tour' which stretched into a decade during which he wrote and recorded quite prodigiously.
So let no one imagine that Tom Pacheco has not paid his dues. He has always remained true to himself and is one of the genuine troubadours of our time but one who has consistently failed to earn the widespread recognition he has more than deserved.
Is he bitter about this? Not at all. Tom Pacheco has always been aware that there is little that is fair about the music business, but he doesn't begrudge anyone the commercial success which may come their way, and whatever his personal feelings may be, you will never hear this gentle, philosophical man speak ill of any fellow artist.
His current release, a double CD comprising 31 tracks, is subtitled with a typical Pacheco irony, the Secret Hits. All but one of the tracks have appeared on various albums dating back to EAGLE IN THE
RAIN, his first release on Ireland's Round Tower Label in 1987. His depiction of characters, both real and fictitious is masterful. Take for example, Jessica Brown, a fictitious name bestowed on a shadowy figure reputedly involved in the assassination of the Kennedy brothers.
Pacheco, a friend of Pete Seeger, consulted at length with the latter and Ramblin' Jack Elliott who accompanied Woody Guthrie on his last tour across America before his lengthy hospitalisation, in order to piece together the events of that period in the absorbing Woody and Jack. He pulls no punches in his d**ning indictment of the career of Wood Roosevelt although he treats Che Guevara's role as revolutionary more sympathetically in the lengthier Che.
Among the tracks all selected by Pacheco himself one will encounter a fascinating gallery of characters, the imaginary killer of Jack the Ripper, the star crossed Robert and Ramona, Juan Romereo the Mexican hotel worker who idolised the Kennedys, the protagonist in the redemptive Cell Block One, the black humour of an aging lady who grows marijuana in her back garden and a personal friend-the tragic Angel.
through this particular selection, those not too familiar with Pacheco's work will come to discover his concerns with social, political, and environmental issues all of which he confronts with forthright conviction, and whether one agrees with his views or not there can be no doubting his sincerity and the articulate manner in which he presents his case.
So we have story songs, supplications, expressions of disappointment with the way life has changed over the past couple of decades, the highlighting of injustices and the plight of the underdog, potent protest songs and an optimistic view of the future.
The one exception mentioned earlier is A Woman Like You a song Tom recorded shortly after arriving in Ireland but which was recorded as a demo for potential promoters.
Only a couple of hundred copies were made on cassette only so this is something of a bonus for long standing fans. All the tracks have been painstakingly enhanced although nothing has been added to the original recordings.
THE BEST OF VIL 1 will be enjoyed by all, of existing admirers but could also prove to be an excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with the work of this talented and sorely under-valued singer-songwriter