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Back to college w/ Joan Baez

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John on the Sunset Coast 07 Sep 07 - 09:18 PM
catspaw49 07 Sep 07 - 10:21 PM
Ron Davies 07 Sep 07 - 10:28 PM
Amos 07 Sep 07 - 10:48 PM
MystMoonstruck 07 Sep 07 - 11:03 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 07 Sep 07 - 11:52 PM
KeithofChester 08 Sep 07 - 05:02 AM
KeithofChester 08 Sep 07 - 05:12 AM
Susan of DT 08 Sep 07 - 07:51 AM
Franz S. 08 Sep 07 - 10:41 AM
Maryrrf 08 Sep 07 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 08 Sep 07 - 02:06 PM
MystMoonstruck 08 Sep 07 - 07:24 PM
Franz S. 08 Sep 07 - 08:48 PM
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Subject: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 09:18 PM

I have begun record tracks from my LPs to CD. I'm listening, as I type, to Joan Baez (VSD-2097) v.2. I'm having an orgy of good memories as I listen to a pure voice and solo guitar (except for one track w/ the Greenbriar Boys). I was a sophomore at UCLA when I first heard this album and I'm retiring in one week.
Joan was the gold standard for traditional ballads and songs as far as I was concerned. No overtly political songs, no singing one's diary (as a folk friend of mine once described contemporary folk music), just fourteen really good melodies and lyrics...and that voice.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 10:21 PM

Well posted.......That was a great album and it probably hit many of us exactly the same way.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 10:28 PM

I certainly agree with you about the second album--but I found the first even more of a stunner. You've heard that one, I hope? Definitive versions (for me at least) of so many songs. And how old was she when she did it? A teenager, I think.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: Amos
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 10:48 PM

I still sing them today, and I sound nothing like Joanie. But the memories come 'round every time I start plucking them.


A


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: MystMoonstruck
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 11:03 PM

While conversing with friends at a Renaissance faire, I happened to mention that I learned many folk songs from listening to Joan Baez albums in the Sixties and Seventies. A paid performer at the faire, this fellow, probably a couple of decades younger than my fiftysomething, immediately pulled such a face and repeated her name with pure disgust. Now, I like this person very much, but I practically grabbed him by his beard and began a soapbox oratory about what she had done for folk/traditional music. At college, I think every student had a copy of at least one of her albums, alongside Carole King's "Tapestry" and that foldout Crosby, Stills & Nash (& maybe Young~a debate that continues, per my brother-in-law). Oh, yeah... Add in "Woodstock" and the beginning-to-wear-out "Sgt. Pepper's..." Many of you probably know that collection~some Bob Dylan, The Byrds, and the mixture of sounds that was the Sixties/early Seventies.

Anyway, while trying to retain our friendship, I did make it known that I would remain loyal to Joan Baez whose voice and beauty I coveted from the moment I encountered that first album. Gosh! I even remember the Baez/Dylan romance! I tried very hard to learn guitar, but what I now know was the early stages of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome put an end to that. When I started attending events with a day at Bristol Renaissance Faire, I came across a costumed girl seated under a tree, an admiring youth nearby, singing~ta daa!~"The Silkie". Years later, when I was deciding whether or not to purchase a bowed psaltery, the first tune I played was "The Silkie". In sharing circles, I've sung "Matty Groves" and "The Trees They Grow High".

I shall always be a fan of this amazing lady. When I recently watched "Woodstock", my mother and I were moved to tears by her performances. It's a tossup whose voice I want most: Joan's or Judy Collin's. That's a tough call!

By the way, she's older than I would have guessed, heading for her 67th birthday in January. I thought she was much closer to my age (nearly 56). This is a bit of bio from Wikipedia:

Joan Chandos Baez (born January 9, 1941) is an American folk singer and songwriter known for her highly individual vocal style. She is a soprano with a three-octave vocal range and a distinctively rapid vibrato. Many of her songs are topical and deal with social issues.

She is best known for her 1970s hits "Diamonds & Rust" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" -- and to a lesser extent, "We Shall Overcome" "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "Joe Hill" (songs she performed at the 1969 Woodstock festival). She is also well known due to her early and long-lasting relationship with Bob Dylan and her even longer-lasting passion for activism, notably in the areas of nonviolence, civil and human rights and, in more recent years, the environment. She has performed publicly for nearly 50 years, released over 30 albums and recorded songs in over eight languages. She is considered a folksinger although her music has strayed from folk considerably after the 1960s, encompassing everything from rock and pop to country and gospel. Although a songwriter herself, especially in the mid-1970s, Baez is most often regarded as an interpreter of other people's work, covering songs by Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Jackson Browne, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and myriad others. In more recent years, she has found success interpreting songs of diverse songwriters such as Steve Earle, Natalie Merchant and Ryan Adams.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 11:52 PM

Yes, I have her first album and it is a stunner. But this is the album I happened to pull out tonight to decide which tracks to record, but I listened all the way through both sides. It is also the first Joan Baez I bought all those years ago. I do have some of her later works, not necessarily folk.

A few years ago she came out with a CD called Ring Them Bells in which she has new material, but also reinterprets some of her earlier work. The voice is not so pure at 60 as in her 20s, but plenty pure enough for me.

Judy Collins, had I been playing from Golden Apples of the Sun, I would have waxed on about her. The voice is pure, the musicianship superb, the early repertoire about the same as Baez's. Judy's later range of music is more ambitious (my opinion) than Joan's, and she had become a singer more in the tradition of the chanteuse.

It is good to be able to listen to them both.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: KeithofChester
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 05:02 AM

Joan Baez is still briliant live, as I've had the opportunity to re-confirm twice already this year: Nottingham in the Spring and the International Eisteddfod in July.

I've seen Joan live 11 times in the last 12 years and each concert has been brilliant.

I have most of her 60s catalogue on CD. A lot of them have since been remastered and reissued again and shouldn't be that hard to find for those that don't want to get involved in re-recording. Certainly albums that are well worth listening to.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: KeithofChester
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 05:12 AM

Ring Them Bells is a set of live performances originally from 1995 but has recently (this year) been expanded and re-issued.

There are several duets on it with the likes of Janis Ian, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Joan's sister Mimi (Farina). That is also a lovely album.

Joan has been using a professional voice coach since she started having a few problems at the end of the 70s. The result is that she doesn't sing quite as high up her register any more, but still gets pretty high. If anything, it makes her voice warmer and more listenable than some of the 60s and 70s recordings, where she could be slighlty shrill. She must have a new coach now, because the guy she had used for 20+ years died a couple of years back.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: Susan of DT
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 07:51 AM

I first fell in love with the ballads from listening to Joan Baez in the early 1960s. Most of what I sing today are ballads. I listen to traditional singers now, but I first heard the songs from her.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: Franz S.
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 10:41 AM

MystMoonStruck, do you know why your young friend was disgusted by Joan Baez? I'd be curious. I do remember back in those days when we were always so sure and righteous in our judgements that sometimes I'd do a supercilious put-down of "Joanie", but I can't remember why except that it seemed cool to do so. For my sins I ask forgiveness.

I have those first two albums and a bunch of her other stuff. My favorite now is "Gracias a la Vida", which helped me through some rough times a quarter of a century ago.

I never met her, but I do feel that we've been in a lot of the same places, walked many of the same walks, and sung the same songs (not that I'm a singer, except in the sense that everyone is). The greatest single moment was Christmas Eve in 1978, just after Jonestown and the Harvey Milk/George Moscone asassinations, when San Francisco was in deep shock. My wife and I took our two young daughters, 2 and 4, to City Hall where Baez was singing and hundreds of people with candles were singing with her. It was a great healing moment. For that and a lot more I thank her.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: Maryrrf
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 12:45 PM

I'm another one that developed a love for the ballads through listening to those first two Joan Baez albums. A beautiful singer and a courageous person. She'll always be one of my heros.


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 02:06 PM

The first time I heard Joan Baez was when I walked into a record store I used to frequent. The fellow who ran the place was just putting a needle on a record and said, "Hey, listen to this!" 1960. Joan's first record. It started off with "Silver Dagger," and by two lines into the song, I knew this young lady was major! On the third band, "Fare Thee Well," that cinched it!

Two years later, during the Seattle World's Fair, she sang a concert in the brand new Seattle Opera House to a capacity audience of 3,100 people. At intermission, a friend I went to the concert with said, "There's a party at Dotty's tonight, and she said to come on over after the concert. I'm going backstage and see if I can get close enough to Joan to ask her if she'd like to go." I figured, "A for initiative, Dave, but—" Well, he did talk to her, and it turns out she had been in town for three days, didn't know anybody here, and was feeling a bit lonely. Yes, she would like to go to the party!

I waited in the car while Dave met her backstage, and we headed off to Dotty's place. She seemed almost a little shy at first, but she was friendly. She didn't sing at the party (she'd already sung for an hour and a half, and she said she was afraid she might be on the verge of a cold), but she was interested in hearing other people sing.

As the hour grew late and the party wound down, Bob (Deckman) Nelson had a quick inspiration and asked her if she'd like to pick up her baggage at the hotel and stay with him and his wife that night. Since they lived near the Sea-Tac airport, she could sleep in a bit and he would drive her the short hop to the airport in time to catch her plane. "Great!" she said. She hadn't been looking forward to the long cab ride in the morning.

Two years later, I attended the 1964 Berkeley Folk Festival where Joan was one of the featured performers. I had just come out of one of the morning workshops and was heading out to grab lunch when I almost literally ran into a dark-haired young woman in cut-offs and sandals coming up the stairs. It was Joan. Darned if she didn't recognize me from the party in Seattle! We chatted for a few minutes, then she went in to check the arrangements for her concert that evening, and I headed off for a sandwich.

At the time, from a distance she had that sort of aloof "Madonna" quality. But at a party or just chatting on the stairs, she was warm and friendly, with an occasionally wicked sense of humor. And exquisitely beautiful.

The ballads in particular. Man, that lady can sing!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: MystMoonstruck
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 07:24 PM

You wrote: "MystMoonStruck, do you know why your young friend was disgusted by Joan Baez? I'd be curious. I do remember back in those days when we were always so sure and righteous in our judgements that sometimes I'd do a supercilious put-down of "Joanie", but I can't remember why except that it seemed cool to do so. For my sins I ask forgiveness."

His argument was that her interpretations weren't true to the originals! I'm not sure where that came from since I've heard recordings of singers from the Appalachians to Ireland performing those songs word for word, note for note. He said she was a sellout and "untrue" to the folk/ballad tradition. I countered with the argument that he might not be a faire performer were it not for Joan, the Irish Rovers (another sour look from him) and others. I remain faithful fans of the earlier performers. In the Sixties in this region, albums were limited to those of Buffy Ste. Marie, Joan Baez, Burl Ives, and The Irish Rovers. Yes, the shelves could be pretty bare at times. It would be many years before I encountered The Chieftains and others and began having access to more material. If it hadn't been for my family's love for traditional music, my interest could have faded away--though I can't believe that ever would have happened.

I'm beginning to think this is a "kneejerk" reaction among some younger performers. Some say that they don't like her voice or think her versions are "too polished" (?). Well, I'm not happy with the general public thinking that all Irish women sing with breathy, wispy, barely-there voices after hearing those who shall remain unnamed. I'm not a basher of this type of singing, but it misleads the public; misled, they might not ever discover the wonderful singers who aren't afraid to lift their voices. (My collection includes those wispy singers; I'm not about to shut out some really great songs, including "Lish Young Buy-a-Broom".)

Whenever there's an attack on Joan, I'll be there to defend the lady. I'll likely never see her in concert, but I'll always have her music, whether it's on LPs, 8 tracks (Yep!), cassettes or disks (my least favorite).

I'm still amazed by the people who give me a look when I mention Burl Ives! What's WITH them?!


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Subject: RE: Back to college w/ Joan Baez
From: Franz S.
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 08:48 PM

I still wince when I recall my arrogance in those days. When I discovered people like Roscoe Holcomb and Sonny Terry I decided that Joan Baez and Harry Belafonte were " too polished". That was then. It took me a long time to discover that it ain't an either/or world.    And through it all I still played the albums.


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