October 13, 2009
Razor & Tie
Folk, Traditional Folk, Political Folk, Folk Revival, Contemporary Folk

Album Review

To accompany the documentary film Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound, soundtrack producer Mark Spector assembled this hourlong compilation album. The film itself is biographical, with only snippets of performances, but here full-length tracks have been drawn from the albums Joan Baez in San Francisco, One Day at a Time, Blessed Are..., Carry It On, and Live at Newport, as well as the BBC documentary Joan Baez in Concert (not the same as the album Joan Baez in Concert) and the NBC TV special Hard Rain (not exactly the same as the Bob Dylan album Hard Rain). Previously unreleased are a couple of tracks recorded at Club 47 in Boston in 1958 ("I Never Will Marry" and "Barbara Allen") and four concluding tracks recorded on Baez's 2008-2009 tour supporting her album Day After Tomorrow ("Diamonds and Rust," "Love Song to a Stranger," "Day After Tomorrow," and "Jerusalem"). Thus, the album functions as a concise Baez best-of, stretching from her earliest recordings to her most recent performances to date (a stretch of more than 50 years) and tracing her development from a traditional folksinger to an interpreter of political songs by the likes of Dylan (who duets with her on his "I Pity the Poor Immigrant"), with her biggest pop hit, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and signature songs such as the original "Diamonds and Rust" included. There's a lot more to Joan Baez than these 15 selections, of course, but the collection is a reasonable summary with some rarities to tempt collectors.
William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Man Smart, Woman Smarter
  2. I Never Will Marry
  3. Barbara Allen
  4. Silver Dagger
  5. Fennario
  6. Oh Freedom
  7. With God on Our Side
  8. A Song for David
  9. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  10. Carry It On
  11. I Pity the Poor Immigrant
  12. Diamonds and Rust
  13. Love Song to a Stranger
  14. Day After Tomorrow
  15. Jerusalem
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