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Joan Baez


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Folk, some rock influence. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Status:

Most recent release, How Sweet The Sound (CD/DVD compilation, 2009); most recent release of new material, Day After Tomorrow (2008)

See also:

Joan Baez's site

Comparisons:

Judie Tzuke (vocals), Sarah McLachlan (vocals), Bob Dylan (music). (jbr@casetech.dk)

Covers/own material:

Some covers, some originals. (jbr@casetech.dk)

General comments:

As a clear-voiced folk singer in the '60s, Joan Baez rose to prominence as an interpreter of traditional songs, as well as the music of Bob Dylan, The Byrds and The Band. Her more recent output seems marred by questionable taste, though her voice is still strong. (neal)

Always and ever the maiden, mother, and now wise woman. (fleur)

Recommended first album:

Play Me Backwards (anthony@mh1.lbl.gov)

Go with any of the wealth of greatest hits albums. I have The First 10 Years and Greatest Hits, and I prefer the latter. (neal)

Recordings include:


See Joan Baez's site for a complete discography.


The First 10 Years

Release info:

1970, re-released 1987—Vanguard Records—VCD-6560/1

Availability:

Dunno, can be found used.

Ecto priority:

A very solid folk album (neal)

Guest artists:

The documentation is poor on this disc...

Peter Schickele(!)—leads orchestra
Grady Martin—leads ensemble
Russ Savakus—string bass
Bruce Langhorne—electric guitar

Produced by:

Maynard Solomon

Joan Baez Greatest Hits

Ecto priority:

One of my all time favorite folk albums (neal)

Comments:

I only have this on tape, so I can't say much about it. However, it's chock full of wonderful songs: "House of the Rising Sun," "Donna Donna," "We Shall Overcome," "It's All Over Now Baby Blue," "Farewell Angelina," "If I Were A Carpenter," "It Ain't Me Babe," "Let It Be," "Love is Just a Four Letter Word," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "There But For Fortune." When they say greatest hits, they aren't kidding! (neal)

The Best of Joan Baez

Label:

Pickwick music (U.K.)—PWKS 544

Availability:

Available in Denmark.

Ecto priority:

Recommended. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Comments:

Joan Baez has a great voice. If you like folk you should definitely check her out. This compilation covers music from 1972 to 1976 and is a good introduction to her music. (jbr@casetech.dk)

No Woman No Cry

Release info:

1989 (Gold Castle), 1992 (LaserLight)—LaserLight —15 450 (LaserLight)

Availability:

In cut-out bins and garbage cans everywhere. (neal)

Ecto priority:

None

Guest artists:

A whole bunch of people I've never heard of and am too lazy to type in, plus Gipsy Kings and Paul Simon. (neal)

Produced by:

Paul Simon and Alan Abrahams

Comments:

Words fail me to describe how horrible this album is. There are actually a few bearable moments on this disc, but they are overshadowed by the title song, one of the worst covers I have heard in my life. Joan still has a great voice if she doesn't shoot for the entire range that she had when she was younger. Maybe someone should tell her that. I think the cover of one of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs ("Famous Blue Raincoat") is bearable, but that's already 5 songs in and I usually take it out before that. If I haven't thrown it away by now, I'd be happy to give it to you. (neal)

Play Me Backwards

Release info:

1992—Virgin—86458 2

Availability:

Generally available.

Ecto priority:

Very highly recommended for more folk-orientated people. (anthony@mh1.lbl.gov)

Guest artists:

Kenny Greenberg—guitars
Jerry Douglas—dobro, weisenborn, lap steel
Marcos Suzano—percussion
Chad Cromwell—drums
Willie Weeks—bass
Steve Nathan—wurlitzer
Richard Bennett—electric guitar
Edgar Meyer—upright bass
Glen Worf—bass
Tom Roady—percussion
James Stroad— drums
Wally Wilson—synth, piano
Mike Lawler—synth, organ
Carl Gorodetzky—violin
Pam Sixfin—violin
Kristin Wilkinson—viola
Bob Mason—cello
Ashley Cleveland—backing vocals
Vicki Hampton—backing vocals
Cyndi Richardson—backing vocals
Greg Barnhill—backing vocals
Chris Rodriguez—backing vocals
Jonell Mosser—backing vocals

Comments:

This is the only Joan Baez album I have, so I can't judge her other material. This features compelling tunes and melodies, thought provoking lyrics, and excellent musicianship. What more could one want? (anthony@mh1.lbl.gov)

Ring Them Bells

Release info:

1995—EMD/Capitol

Group members:

Joan Baez—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Mary Black—vocals
Mimi Farina, Dar Williams, Tish Hinojosa, Amy Ray, Emily Sailers (Indigo Girls), Mary Chapin Carpenter—vocals, guitar
Paul Pesco—vocals, guitar, dobro
Kate McGarrigle—vocals, banjo
Anna McGarrigle—vocals, accordion
Janis Ian—vocals, piano
Fernando Saunders—vocals, bass
Carol Steele—vocals, percussion
Pat Crowley—piano

Comments:

Recorded live at The Bottom Line, New York in April 1995.

I got this disc as a premium for giving money to WFUV, and while I probably won't listen to it all that often, it's quite good. I love "Diamonds and Rust" (which has been a fave since I was a teeny kid), even if Mary Chapin Carpenter does sound a bit out of place. And her duet with Dar Williams on "You're Aging Well" is brilliant. (meth@smoe.org)

I am a loonnnngg-time fan of Joan's, and mostly I *like* this CD. But: I wish they had chosen a more interesting song (since they included only *one*) for her duet with Tish Hinojosa (it is "Pajarillo Barranqueno"—which is cute when it's part of a group of songs...but it's very very very repetitive); and I don't care for a slow, a cappella version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (eep). BUT! The rest of the CD is *good*, especially: "Willie Moore" with Kate & Anna McGarrigle; "Jesse" with Janis Ian; "Ring Them Bells" (a Bob Dylan song) with Mary Black (I really like Gordon Lightfoot's cover of this *also*!); "Diamonds & Rust" with Mary Chapin Carpenter; and my *two favourites*: Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" with the Indigo Girls (wow!) and "You're Aging Well" with Dar Williams (this had me in TEARS the first time I heard it!). I don't feel like this is the best *ever* album Joan has ever put out...it just lacks some *oomph*...but I think it might have more to do with the songs chosen (from all those recorded at The Bottom Line concerts) and the order in which they were placed on the CD. But if you like Joan, you probably should go out and buy it. (fleur)


Gone From Danger

Release info:

1997—EMD/Angel

Availability:

Wide

Group members:

Joan Baez—vocals, percussion

Guest artists:

Dar Williams—vocals
Kenny Greenberg—acoustic, electric & baritone guitars, dobro, percussion
Dan Dugmore—acoustic, electric & pedal steel guitars, dobro
Richard Bennett—acoustic & electric guitars, bazouki
Joe Spivey—mandolin,fiddle
Steve Conn—accordion
Dennis Burnside—piano, Wurlitzer
Jim Hoke—saxophone
Matt Rollings—piano, organ
Wally Wilson—piano, percussion
Tim Lauer—harmonium, keyboards
Steve Nathan—keyboards
Willie Weeks, Michael Rhodes—bass
Greg Morrow, Chad Cromwell—drums, percussion
Eric Darken—percussion
Allison Moore, Curtis Young, Marabeth Jordan, Sharon Rice, Sam Wilson, Ellie Wilson, Jim Collins—background vocals

Produced by:

Wally Wilson; Kenny Greenberg

Comments:

Has anyone heard her rendition of Dar Williams' "February" on this album? WOW, is all I can say. Joan's version is almost more heartwrenching than Dar's is.... Real sob-inducing material! (Sherlyn.Koo)

Further info:

Also check out the excellent Bob Dylan documentary Don't Look Back, where you can see a wide-eyed, chipper Joan constantly breaking into song, much to the annoyance of Dylan and the rest of his band.


Thanks to Jens P. Tagore Brage and Neal Copperman for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-04-03 16:24:23.
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