When Joan Baez made her first album in 1960, she essentially put to tape the entirety of the set she'd spent several years playing in and around Boston, on street corners and folk clubs. So perhaps that's why the tracks she assembled for her second LP, released a year later, sound less polished, more lively. With just her voice and her guitar, Baez still draws from the traditional folk canon ("The Trees They Do Grow High," "Once I Knew a Pretty Girl," "Barbara Allen") and preternatural weariness still haunts her strong, vibrant soprano, but the young singer also had one popular record under her belt and a growing audience — good enough reasons to loosen the reigns a little on the new-old songs. The train-wreck ballad "Engine 143" gets a low-slung, earthy delivery that carries into the full-on bluegrass twang of "Banks of the Ohio" and "Pal of Mine," featuring Baez's first-ever vocal accompaniments on record, from New York bluegrass act the Greenbriar Boys. But "The Longest Road I Ever Saw," appended to Vanguard's 2001 reissue, is a return to typical Baez form; her voice soaring, glistening, teetering somewhere between desperation and defiance.
By Dan Hyman on 01.24.12 in Reviews
Is it the song or the singer? Hunker down with a Bob Dylan song -- or 50 -- and where's the debate? Brilliant songs are open books; singers can be replaceable. It's hardly shocking then, that Dylan's songs are forever be...
By Holly George-Warren on 05.18.11 in Reviews
The Newport Folk Festival earned Joan Baez her crown as Queen of Folk after she debuted there in 1959. The hallowed gathering was also where she introduced her prince, "Bobby" Dylan, to a national audience in 1...
By Rachael Maddux on 05.18.11 in Reviews
These days, we tend to imagine a young Joan Baez in certain tableaus: her hair long, her face stoic and narrow, a guitar in her arms and a protest song on her lips, likely cheek-to-cheek with an equally-young Bob Dylan....
By Billy Altman on 04.22.11 in Reviews
2008 marks Joan Baez's 50th anniversary as a performer, and with the release of Day After Tomorrow, the 67-year-old folk diva certainly proves the old adage about how there may be snow on the rooftop, but there is st...