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Joan Baez not a fraud exactly

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GUEST,Bill Kennedy 03 Apr 02 - 11:10 AM
Little Hawk 03 Apr 02 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 03 Apr 02 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,guy 03 Apr 02 - 12:50 PM
Don Firth 03 Apr 02 - 01:43 PM
Abby Sale 03 Apr 02 - 03:37 PM
Big Tim 04 Apr 02 - 11:45 AM
Little Hawk 04 Apr 02 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,dig 05 Apr 02 - 03:25 AM
Hrothgar 05 Apr 02 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,zimmy 05 Apr 02 - 03:23 PM
Little Hawk 05 Apr 02 - 03:43 PM
GUEST 23 Mar 04 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 23 Mar 04 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 23 Mar 04 - 04:15 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 23 Mar 04 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 23 Mar 04 - 05:33 PM
Little Hawk 23 Mar 04 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Penguin Egg 23 Mar 04 - 06:18 PM
Art Thieme 23 Mar 04 - 06:22 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 23 Mar 04 - 08:57 PM
jaze 23 Mar 04 - 09:47 PM
Peace 23 Mar 04 - 10:05 PM
DonMeixner 23 Mar 04 - 11:47 PM
Little Hawk 24 Mar 04 - 03:22 AM
Murray MacLeod 24 Mar 04 - 04:02 AM
Dave Hanson 24 Mar 04 - 04:57 AM
George Papavgeris 24 Mar 04 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 24 Mar 04 - 10:31 AM
Peace 24 Mar 04 - 12:10 PM
Don Firth 24 Mar 04 - 12:49 PM
Little Hawk 24 Mar 04 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Tiunesmith 24 Mar 04 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Jaze 24 Mar 04 - 01:21 PM
Little Hawk 24 Mar 04 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 24 Mar 04 - 02:05 PM
Amos 24 Mar 04 - 02:16 PM
Barbara 24 Mar 04 - 02:29 PM
Peace 24 Mar 04 - 06:25 PM
Rain Dog 25 Mar 04 - 08:44 AM
Willie-O 25 Mar 04 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Joan Baez 25 Mar 04 - 10:16 AM
Little Hawk 25 Mar 04 - 10:54 AM
Amos 25 Mar 04 - 11:17 AM
Peace 25 Mar 04 - 12:40 PM
Peter T. 25 Mar 04 - 12:44 PM
Little Hawk 25 Mar 04 - 02:35 PM
Peace 25 Mar 04 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 26 Mar 04 - 03:53 AM
matai 26 Mar 04 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,maryrrf 26 Mar 04 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 26 Mar 04 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,hfg 03 Apr 04 - 10:09 PM
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Subject: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly: Joe Heaney's view
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 11:10 AM

I didn't want to extend the previous thread, that so many were trying to kill, but not actually killing it by ignoring it! My input is part of this interview that many of you may not have seen between Ewan McColl (EM), Peggy Seeger (PS) and Joe Heaney (JH) the full interview can be found here,

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/heaney.htm

on MUSTRAD, but in this section of the interview they are talking about the authentic Folk style, the spirit, the heart, the closeness of the performer to the material, and how it comes across to the listener. VERY INTERESTING, NO?

JH: Not alone of Gaelic songs, even of English songs. EM: English singers like Harry Cox. When Harry Cox sings The Cruel Ship's Captain, he sings 'mmnnn; a boy to me was bound apprentice'. 29 JH: That's not even said in words - it's in the voice there between the words and the language. I don't know the hell what to call it. It's something in the voice that keeps on even though the words aren't spoken. It still keeps going. Do you know what I'm trying to explain? PS: I know and you know but I'm looking for it in words because I want to hear it explained so that people who don't know can find out, you know. (Break) JH: I think the best way to explain it is you'll keep the song alive, Peggy, all the time even though you're not pronouncing the words. You're keeping the song alive through humming it, through droning, whatever you like to call it. That's what I'm trying to say. (At this point various recordings of folksongs were played, including a recording of an Azerbaijani singer ../sound/azerb.ra

../sound/azerb.raand Ó hÉanaí was asked to compare them with his own tradition. He rejects the first one.) (Sound clip - Azerbaijani singer.) EM: This is another traditional singer. (tries to play a recording - Joe interrupts). PS: Put another one on. JH: How can I better explain it. There's something in the tone and the way it's put over that tells you it's original, that it's very … it's the way it's sung because that is terrible like a caoineadh 30 that the old women sing at home. Its like the song you asked me to learn for this Radio Ballad. 31 There's something about it, you see, that I know it's the real genuine stuff. I wish I could explain it better, but I can't. EM: Nobody's found a way of explaining it yet, Joe. Nobody has. I want to play you something else, just one other thing to see … (Plays a record of Joan Baez) JH: Well, I'll tell you one thing, she hasn't got what I'm trying to explain. I can't explain to you why, but it's not there. I mean she's singing, whether she's too serious or to my ear she's singing it so straight that nothing I've been looking for is there. Nothing like the others. EM: Even though you can't understand the language [of the other singers]. JH: Even though I can't understand the other ones at all, I know they have. I know definitely, I heard, they have got what I would know, the person who has it, the first line is enough. In fact, the first few words, the start of a song, you know whether they have it or not. EM: Joe, when you listen to those other singers, those Indians and Azerbaijan people, are you moved by it? JH: Well I feel like I'm listening to something from home. EM: So you are moved by it? JH: I am. I really am. EM: It makes you feel better? JH: It makes me feel at home. EM: And this doesn't, this last piece, the Joan Baez. JH: No, not one bit. I might be wrong, but that's my opinion. (Plays someone else, unidentified.) EM: What do you make of that? JH: You want my honest opinion? No, that one hasn't got it either. PS/EM: Did she come any closer than the other? JH: No, I wouldn't say so. She definitely hasn't got it. I know she's trying, but it's not it. (Plays several records of American singers including The Carter Family (Wabash Cannonball ../sound/johnson.ra

../sound/johnson.ra../sound/carter.ra

../sound/carter.raand Little Moses) and Blind Willie Johnson (John the Revelator) (Sound clips - The Carter Family, Wabash Cannonball [left]. Blind Willie Johnson, John the Revelator [right]) PS: Honestly, what do you make of it? JH: That's very hard. I liked the girl 32 That's very hard. Honestly, it's very hard for me to judge that now. EM: That's a Negro called Blind Willie Johnson. JH: I think it's nearer, much nearer that the other one. EM: That is true Negro style - this man is a street singer, was a street singer, he's dead now. Blind Willie Johnson. 33 (Break)

sums up my feelings for Joan's singing, she was never the real thing, folkwise, a little too commercial, too much vibrato and technique, though enjoyable nonetheless,

BUT I have nothing but respect for her as a person, her views, her stands, her courage, her influence on thousands of listeners who might have never heard of Child's Ballads except for her. And I love her versions of some songs, though I hate the FAKE, twangy, 'love is just a four letter word' thing. Worst use of steel guitar in a recording, maybe.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 11:36 AM

Well, it's all a matter of taste, isn't it? Joan has her own style, and it's a very straight delivery which some people don't like. The vibrato was something she apparently lacked (according to her autobiography) when she first started singing (before she did it professionally) and she tried desperately to develop some vibrato by various techniques, since she thought good singers were supposed to have vibrato! Ironical, isn't it? :-) But for that one egregious error in judgement, she might have attained musical nirvana and secured the full approval of Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger!

They hated Dylan too, but I doubt that he's lost any sleep over it. They are big fish in the little pond of their own imagination. Again, it's simply a matter of taste. McColl and Seeger don't hold the patent to "folk music", nor does anyone else. Folk music will always change and evolve as time goes by.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 12:49 PM

well, LH, I didn't quite read it that way, first of all I don't think Peggy and Ewan were goring any particular ox, it was a recorded interview, Joe Heaney is the one who didn't think Joan was 'authentic'. Not that they might not have agreed, though Ewan certainly went through some changes himself till he became the 'authentic Scotsman'! I just think it interesting that Heaney would hear whether some one was 'folk' or a 'folk song singer/stylist'. I don't think it was just the vibrato they were referring to, and this interview was 1964, so they would have played him some early traditional songs recorded by Joan, with little vibrato, I'd guess. Now, Buffy Saint-Marie anyone?


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,guy
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 12:50 PM

tho not a big fan...I found her annoying for a variety of reasons, I 'do' respect the fact she's had a profound influence on alot of people and you can't ignore her place in folk music history. On a personal level she's warm, gracious, generous and has a great sense of humor. Too bad she developed that vibrato to distraction...I think it may obscure the fact that she's a great singer and a pretty fair guitarist. She seems happy with herself and God Bless her for that.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 01:43 PM

First point:-- If you listen closely, not very many singing voices do not have at least some vibrato. It's actually a sort of unconscious cybernetic feedback mechanism that helps a person stay on pitch, and if you sing much at all, it developes naturally. People whose voices are completely devoid of vibrato tend to sing flat.

Second point:-- I think we have a double-standard here. Joan Baez sings in her natural voice (her vibrato would have developed whether she tried for it or not). Almeda Riddle sings in her natural voice (her voice has a bit of vibrato if you listen carefully). Some people would say that Almeda Riddle is real, Joan Baez is not. Yet, the way both of them sing reflect the musical influences they grew up with. These same people would also probably say that if Joan Baez suppressed her natural soprano and tried to sound like Almeda Riddle, she would be more "real."

I leave it to you to work out what an idiotic concept this is.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Abby Sale
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 03:37 PM

Without making any attempt to define "folk" (God help us) I'll pass this thought along. I once taped some lovely songs from a lady. Now the lady was a professional singer and was somewhat successful in the small pond of Scots television. Thing is, I was taping her at home in a tiny Outer Hebridean village. She was also a source singer.

She strongly felt and expressed that I really wouldn't want to tape her because at home, she could only bring herself to sing "home style." She was sure I wouldn't enjoy that and that I would be disappointed in not hearing her "stage style." It took a good bit to convince her that home style was exactly what I was hoping for and most wanted.

Well, she sang some of the loviest songs I'd ever heard including a Gaelic spinning song I've nevder come across elsehere. It was the home style that gave her singing all the warmth and "reality" that was missing from her professional style.

I suggest that this is something of what Heaney meant. One is a family song offered to be shared with listeners interactively - the other a Performance of a professional from a raised, separated platform. One-way. But there it is, from the same singer & even maybe the same song- but one is "folk" and the other is "commercial."

That's what I think.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Big Tim
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 11:45 AM

Well said LH re McColl. Good singer, excellent, not great writer, intolerant, small-minded theorist. If you listen to McColl's ideas now, as I did recently on a Christy Moore St Pat's day Special, he sounds incredibly doctrinaire and dated, still living in the class ridden society of Auchterarder, Falkirk and Salford in his parent's time around the First World War. Pity he didn't live to see the fall of the Soviet Union (and the toryisation of the Labour Party). He lived in a world that never existed and probably never will exist. His approach to "folk music" almost put Luke Kelly, and many more, off folk singing for good, though Christy didn't mention that! He (McColl) slagged Dylan, as, if memory serves, "high school drivel". However "Time will tell who has fell and who's been left behind" - Dylan. As for JB for god's sake leave the woman alone.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 12:18 PM

LOL!!! I consider Ewan McColl a self-important prig. He does have a great voice, though.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,dig
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 03:25 AM

Careful Little Hawk. People in glass houses, my brother.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Hrothgar
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 07:48 AM

The only complaint I have with Baez is that she made some songs into such beautiful music that it is difficult to hear any other version without thinking of hers. john Riley is the first example that springs to mind.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,zimmy
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 03:23 PM

but she butchered "the night they drove old dixie down". hard.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 03:43 PM

Yeah, she sure did do a lousy job on that one! It happens. There are some other songs on that album which are marvelous. That's the way it goes.

dig - Oh, for sure! My own imperfections are numerous and even quite amusing at times... I can recall being a "self-important prig" myself on more than a few occasions, which is probably why I notice the same tendency in Ewan McColl. I am thinking of replacing my glass walls with fiberglass, just to be on the safe side. :-)

The only reason I slag McColl is because he used to slag Dylan regularly...so I figure he has it coming.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 03:50 PM

A lousy job on The Night...Old Dixie Down...now there's a fraudulant wanna be folk tune that probably deserves any "lousy" performances it elicits...I always looked on it as folk for hot tub yuppie folkies before any of us had even heard of yuppies, lol. And of course, its no doubt a great and treasured song for many other people. And that's the beauty of performance art and its variety.

HG


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 03:56 PM

Let me see if I understand what is going on in this thread. Is this really a discussion if Joan Baez is a "real" folksinger or not?

If not, sorry.

If so, this is the worst nitpicking that could be offered on what is considered a folk music site.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 04:15 PM

I wonder if there's any such thing as " the real thing". I must admit I have an ideal singer who " just opens their mouth" and out it comes without affection or self-consciousness. I feel I get that with some blues singers and Hank Williams, for example. But, I wonder...


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 05:16 PM

If you'd simply compare Joan's work with the predominant singers of the American dream of her early days... she has done pretty well... It's a fine line between making a genera accessible, and selling out.

Dylan wrote new songs to speak to the critical mass... and to my ear, he 'sounds a bit like the real thing'...
ttr


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 05:33 PM

The real thing? Yeah, he's a real millionaire. So what?

What is the "critical mass?" I believe it's people who buy records, nothing more.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 05:59 PM

Never seen anyone yet who more legitimately earned his millions than Bob. He's a "national treasure", to quote Judy Collins.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Penguin Egg
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 06:18 PM

I must admit to never really taken to Joan Baez, although I heard her duet with Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Bootleg CD and she sound all right. As for MacColl, he was a great songwriter (in the folk tradition)and a good singer (if a little mannered.)However, he was no Dylan. Dylan did not have a good voice but he wrote songs to accomodate his limitations and my God, what songs they were, and his recordings are nearly always the definitive versions. MacColl was good; but Dylan strode the folk/blues/rock world like a colossus


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 06:22 PM

and if you want to hear what Joan sounds like without the vibratto, just listen to her sister, Mimi Farina.

Joan's voice was a great naturally happening one---.

Also, it's dumb and quite irritating to see folks listening to an old tape and striving mightily to inflict their mod value judgments on the participants. Things were simply seen differently then. Joe Heaney was a treasure chest of things that fit another era's truths. It was a different paradigm(spelling). Anyone who heard him and learned from his massive oral memmory was a lucky person.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 08:57 PM

The 'critcal mass' is exactly what you say it is, Martin...

LH... Dylan is not to be ignored... and lucky me... there are plenty of people across the spectrum who pay good money to see and hear him... So I don't have to.

Bob is a genius... duh! So is Arthur Fiedler, I hear...
ttr

Apparently though... Dylan did study folk music intensively... I do appreciate him... from afar... No offence, man... All I really wanna do-oooo is baby be friends wi'you


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: jaze
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 09:47 PM

Strange. Joan Baez was the epitome of folk music in the 60's or so it seemed. Why? Because she introduced a lot of people to beautiful songs they may not otherwise have heard? She had her own style...just like every one else. She did it her way. She gained great fame for it, too. But she wasn't the only one to sing those songs. Judy Collins sang some of the same ones. Some even better. But slightly different. I can't help but feel there is along with a distaste for her particular style, also a distaste for her politics that colors peoples' impression of her. She could be uncomfortable in what she made us look at sometimes. But she had a distictive voice and styling. I think she was like #20 in the "Greatest Women of Rock and Roll" survey. She obviously made an impact on a generation. Vibratto or not, she introduced many to the great songs we love in folk music. And that's not Fucking bad!


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Peace
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 10:05 PM

Defining matters of personal taste by injecting pedantic views doesn't make sense to me. Baez butchered a few songs--but then who among us hasn't. I hear her rendition of "Love is Just a Four Letter Word" and I really like it. I hear her "Walls of Redwing" and I cringe. Baez introduced Dylan to the world--he would have been introduced anyway, but she recognized the guy who may be the greatest songwriter who ever did, is or will live. We can also listen to Dylan and wonder about some of what he does to his own songs, and can he vocalize? Not worth a damn. Can he sing? Absafu#kin'lutely, and better than anyone else who has ever recorded. No one will ever do "The Times They Are A'Changin'" with more whatever it is than he. What we have now is studios that can make anyone sound good, and writers who are really slick. We see further because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Baez is one of those giants, and certainly Dylan is another. One of the greatest live performers in the whole darn world has only ever had a few things make the top 100: Richie Havens. Any of these people can reach and hold an audience, and frankly I don't care what the scholars say. These people are the giants upon whose shoulders we stand--they rank with the best the world has had to offer. IMHO.

Bruce Murdoch


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: DonMeixner
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 11:47 PM

Joan Baez has never affected me either way. I like some of her songs and I don't like others. Bob Dylan is a songwriter I have never been a fan off altho' I do like some of his songs mighty well,
Gamblin' Willie for instance and Just Like A Woman for another. I do think he went miles by reworking some good old songs to fit his voice and guitar and harmonica.

I am alittle put off by the statement that The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down was a fraudulent folksong. I don't believe the Band ever ment it to be a folksong. And it is a good song that deserved bettr than Joan gave it. Just as The City of New Orleans deserved better than Orlo gave it.

I think we create and accept and diminish our icons too easily and too quickly.

Don


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 03:22 AM

"Dixie Down" as recorded by The Band was brilliant. Joan's version was mediocre. But Joan has also recorded (and written) some brilliant stuff, and her Dylan covers usually sounded great. Nice post there, Bruce!

- LH


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 04:02 AM

What precisely is wrong with Joan B's version of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, other than the 'Stoneman's Cavalry' mondegreen ?


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 04:57 AM

What is the exact point of this thread, if you like singers, you like them if you don't, you don't. I love to hear Joan sing, Ewan MacColl was a great songwriter and singer, in the 60s Bob Dylan was without doubt the voice of his generation. Ilove them all. In the film ' Don't Look Back . Bob gives a provincial reporter a hard time
but his point was, " why are you trying to analyse me ? " same goes for this thread. Just listen to them and enjoy.
eric


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 06:25 AM

Analyze that!
Agree with etr, this thread is pointless, I just lost 5 mins of my life going through it for no gain.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 10:31 AM

Everytime a person says they like or dislike an performer or even buys an album they have - consciously or unconsciously - made some sort of critical decision i.e. an analysis!


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Peace
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 12:10 PM

I am reminded of pedants who argue the merits of Shakespeare as a writer, poet, etc. I am fairly well studied in that area of literature, and the boy could turn a phrase. However, not everything he wrote is a masterpiece. In fact, he doesn't have all that many masterpieces. He was another guy makin' a living. We would do well to remember that when we listen to fellow(ette) musicians, writers, singers, bards, etc. Ya likes what ya likes, and that's that. I have heard people argue fine points of the songs, "Maggie" or "Wild Mountain Thyme (Time)". They are beautiful as far as I am concerned. I have done WMT on occasion well enough to evoke feelings in listeners--and other times I have turned it into what I thought was a disaster. From a single performance, two reviewers gave differing opinions: One thought it was close to the best rendition he'd ever heard, the other basically thought I should be flogged, drawn and quartered and then hanged. Go figger.

Has Baez ever messed up a song? You know damn well she has. So what? She's given a helluva lot to music, and some of it is priceless. That all I gotta say 'bout that.

Hey, LH, I want to hear about the Dylan concert, good buddy. Bruce Murdoch


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 12:49 PM

Right on the button, Bruce!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 12:51 PM

Bruce - The Dylan concert was VERY good. Pull up the thread "We off to see Dylan", which was started by my friend, Raptor...and you will see his and my reactions to it. Also, do a search for the Toronto Star, March 23, entertainment section, for an excellent article on all 3 Toronto shows.

El Greko - Don't get mad...get even! Send Bill Kennedy a bill for the valuable five minutes you have lost reading this thread. :-)

- LH


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Tiunesmith
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 01:21 PM

"brucie", are you THE Bruce Murdoch of 60s Electra label fame? If so, I used to sing a couple of your songs way back when. Are you still performing/writing?


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Jaze
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 01:21 PM

Brucie makes a good point above. JB is one singer who is consistently good live as on recordings. Her live lp's are as good a quality as most singer's recored lp's. Dixie down was not my favorite of hers although it is the only song of hers EVER played on the radio here in the Richmond area.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 01:25 PM

Yeah, Joan has always done sterling performances in concert. She has a strong sense of duty to her audiences.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 02:05 PM

If you read carefully you would have seen that this thread was a response to, and an attempt to not continue to feed, a previous thread titled: 'Is Joan Baez a Fraud?'. I thought Joe Heaney's comments had more interest than just another opinion re:
'I like/dislike her singing.'
'She's a Goddess/Whore of Babylon.'

My own opinion was stated above, that no matter how good her cause or how positive her effects, she was a bit too commercial and studied to be considered a 'folk-singer'. Not to dredge up that argument, but the obvious definition is one brought up in the tradition of singing folksongs in thier community.

what I said on my own opinion was:

'sums up my feelings for Joan's singing, she was never the real thing, folkwise, a little too commercial, too much vibrato and technique, though enjoyable nonetheless,

BUT I have nothing but respect for her as a person, her views, her stands, her courage, her influence on thousands of listeners who might have never heard of Child's Ballads except for her. And I love her versions of some songs, though I hate the FAKE, twangy, 'love is just a four letter word' thing. Worst use of steel guitar in a recording, maybe. '


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Amos
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 02:16 PM

Joan has always done sterling performances in concert. She has a strong sense of duty to her audiences

What more could you possibly want from a performer?

A


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Barbara
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 02:29 PM

Michael Cooney, who never much liked his own voice, distinguished between "singer/performers" and "singer/storytellers" (I don't remember his exact terms), but performers present a song well. They have good training, and can do wonderful things with range and interpretation. Storytellers may not be polished at all, or they may have quite a bit of training and polish, but the difference is that they are singing things that are true for themselves, and are telling stories that matter to them.
I'd say Joan has a wonderful voice -- one I loved particularly when she was young -- and that she is a performer. We can argue about her interpretations and whether we like them or not, and we can enjoy her performances.
Another contemporary lesser known singer (often found in the classical bin) who sings very like Joan is Custer LaRue. If you like Baez, look up LaRue.
If you like story tellers, listen to Michael Cooney, or Rick Lee, Pete Seeger or Anne Lister.
I like both, and for different reasons. For me, listening to a performer is more like listening to classical instrumental music, and listening to a storyteller is more like theater. I confess it, though, my heart is with the storytellers.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Peace
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 06:25 PM

GUEST Tiunesmith: Yes, I think so. Please don't hold that against me. I wrote that stuff when I was 16. Thank you very much for calling me THE. Makes an old fart feel good. Bruce Murdoch


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Rain Dog
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 08:44 AM

I have to say that I find these type of chats about people being authentic or not a little strange. Anyone who makes a habit of singing in public is a performer in my book, whether they get paid for it or not. If it is a song they have performed on many occasions they have a tendency to perform it the same way, including using the same mannerisms and facial expressions at the same point in the song. The more times it is performed the more difficult it is to avoid this happening.

I think that this affects the audience as well. How many times have people listened to a song that a has sad and terrible story to tell ? You go to a performance or put on a cd to listen to something that tells a terrible story. The song Strange Fruit is an example. What exactly is going on when people turned up to listen to Billie Holiday sing this song or if they listen to it now on cd ? That song is a fine example of what I said above. How does a performer keep it 'authentic' when they are singing and re-singing a song that has a truly terrible story to tell ?

I personally think that it is the song that matters. People perform their version and we the audience decide to like one version over another. I have my favourite singers like most of you, but the singers
that I do not like I do not consider to be fakes.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Willie-O
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 09:21 AM

"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" was written by Robbie Robertson, a Canadian, after he had known Levon Helm for several years, and had spent a lot of time soaking in the southern psyche of wounded pride. I think it's a great song, as evidenced by the fact that it's one of the most effective sing-alongs you can have in your repertoire. It took me awhile to realize that The Band's original version is the truest to the spirit of the song. It's a strong enough work that it's hard to really butcher it. I heard Baez sing it first so I always liked her version. (Your mileage may vary)

Robertson wasn't an Acadian either, but his other great work "Acadian Driftwood" shows he had the ability to walk a mile in anyone's moccasins, then write convincingly about it from a very emotional perspective. Interestingly, he never wrote songs about his own Mohawk heritage until after he left The Band--he has said that he thought that would be too self-indulgent to do as part of the group.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Joan Baez
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 10:16 AM

You're a set of cheeky sods talking about me like that, ' not exactly a fraud ? ' I'm 100% genuine.
Love Joan


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 10:54 AM

Indeed you are. I've known that since 1962. I don't know, but I kind of hope that was really you, Joan...

Lotsa love coming your way.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Amos
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 11:17 AM

WillieO:

"The Night They Drove" has always driven me up a wall, not because it isn't sound rhythmically and easy to sing along to but because it is so full of anachronisms and they jar loudly to any ear that knows the actual songs of the era. The styling just does not capture the sense of language of the South, especially not the language of the South at the end of the Civil War; its pretense shows through, as a result, and it generates swaths of cognitive dissonance. I was actually disappointed in Joanie for promulgating it. It just rings false.

Joan herself, well, she's just a sweetie.

A


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Peace
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 12:40 PM

TNTD is not a great song, IMHO. It's impossible to do, and I am in agreement with Amos to do with the 'feeling' of it.

I also get a bit tired of the 'rebel' image that presents itself. I'll likely get everyone south of the MD Line pissed at me for this, but hey, the war's over and the South came out second.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Peter T.
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 12:44 PM

I think most of these posts miss the original point being made in the interview (I love Joan Baez, just to be clear). The original point was that folk singers Joe Heaney is referring too have a quality which is akin to a drone, exemplified by the odd phrasing at the beginning of a verse, so as to keep the song going even when the singer is not singing (if I can put it that way). I think that is interesting as a comment on the kind of thing Heaney was looking for in a trad singer.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 02:35 PM

Bruce - Dixie Down "impossible to do"? Huh? I've done it lotsa times, and I don't find it that hard to play.

So, like, whaddya sayin', eh?

- LH


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: Peace
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 02:38 PM

What I meant LH is that Music From Big Pink kinda shut down anyone else doing anything better. However, I haven't had the pleasure of listening to you, and I do look forward to that. Incidentally, I love Robertson's work.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 03:53 AM

I remember buying the second album by The Band. It took me a while to "get in to it"; then it became, possibly , my favourite rock album of all time. However, I think Joan Baez's version of The Night they... " somehow seems to have a stronger melody than The Band's version - if that makes sense. I still prefer The Band's version, but Joan somehow endowed the song with a more memorable "folkie" melody.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: matai
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 07:17 AM

I agree with you tunesmith, joan did a version of 'the night... a folk musician could actually sing whereas van morrisons is more rock and doesn't work unless you are van morrison
I've learned many songs I love by listening to her versions, like her greg brown songs, like 'brother's in arms' (dire straits) and many of her more traditional ones. That could be because I'm a woman and my own style is fairly straight up and down but then again it could be because she's an excellent folk musician.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,maryrrf
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 08:47 AM

I think it's the chorus I don't like about TNTDODD - "Nah nah nah nah nah nah ........" The lyrics might be okay despite the anachronisms but the chorus kills it for me.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 09:02 AM

I totally agree about the "nah nah nah ...". I remember liking the song on The Band album - before the Joan Baez version - and contemplating learning it, but then I thought I would sound silly going "nah nah nah.. ". But, of course, that didn't bother Joan.


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Subject: RE: Joan Baez not a fraud exactly
From: GUEST,hfg
Date: 03 Apr 04 - 10:09 PM


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