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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Listening to this album still gives me goose-bumps! In this tour of the state of her life in a song-cycle she recollects famously about her long-term friendship and love affair with folk legend Bob Dylan, does an incredible cover version of "Fountain of Sorrow" by Jackson Browne, and delviers the only performance of "Jesse" by Janis Ian I can stand to listen to besides Ian's own version. Perhaps it is because by the time this album had appeared in 1975 or so, baez had experienced emnough herartache oin her own life to sing more authoritatively about it than she could have ten years before.
The Joan Baez on this album is, then, most undeniably and characteristically different from the earlier Joan Baez of the early 1960s. here she is more confident, more worldly, and quite noticeably less idealistic and more tolerant of othe people's frailties and vulnerabilities, perhaps even of her own. Speaking of Dylan who is calling her some dark late night, she retorts, " Where are you calling from- some booth in the mid-west" and says volumes between the lines with the qualities in her world-weary voice.
Be forewarned, though, that while this is a superb album and a lasting ttreasure to add to your CD collection that you will have to listen to it for a while to really appreciate it. Her talents here are obvious and appealing, but her versatility and maturity as an artist grows on you as you get more and moe familair with all the nuances of her music. This is a great album, and one you should have and appreicate for years and years to come. Enjoy!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 3, 2000
I loved this album even as a child when I didnt understand english (and made up my own words).I wore up my tape and vinyl,replacing them both with a CD.Many years later I went to work overseas and "Diamonds And Rust" was with 10 CD's that I took with me in my suitcase,for comfort.Of course now I understand the lyrics (I learn english by myself,through music) and I still think this is one of the most beautiful albums I ever heard.Baez voice is wonderful (specially on title song and "I Dream Of Jeannie/Danny boy" medley) and Im not surprised this album gave new wings to her career back then - for somebody so political conscious this was actually very much departure from her 60-es protest songs material.Covers are wonderful,her title song stunning and unexpected wonder,her Dylan impersonation in "Simple Twist Of Fate" hilarious and funny,dueth with Joni Mitchell updated version of the same song from amazing spanish album "Gracias A La Vida"... I usualy play this album in the morning for good start of the day and my voice can be heard around the house(houses,wherever I am) my heart responding to this wonderful music.This morning it played from my CD player on work and somebody was so thrilled with music that he went to shop looking for it :)))I am glad that so many reviewers here like this album and I feel sorry for previous listener who cannot open his heart & ears to a beauty.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2003
Joan Baez, one of the most breathtaking folk singers of our age, has always made waves by lending her exquisite vibrato to famous and forgotten folk songs. But with Diamonds and Rust, she does a great deal of her own writing. And boy, that's what fans had been waiting for!
The title track, Diamonds and Rust, is such a stirring reflection of a love that just "didn't quite work" - nobody was evil, nothing horrendous happened - but the love just didn't quite work ... and it hurt. It's hard to find a song that really expresses that phenomenon with the kind of heartfelt pain and wimsy of this one. It makes you wonder - what took her so long to start writing her own songs? She's got talent!
The album also contains some favorites like "Jesse" which provides just the most gorgeous forum for her voice and "I Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" which expresses a subtle pain through simple lyrics.
I think most Joan Baez fans agree - Diamonds and Rust is THE Joan baez album, whether you're a long-time fan of her folk albums, or whether you're new to her. There's no excuse for skipping this one!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 14, 2002
I can't forget the title song of a watershed album for Joan Baez in the 70's. Nearly 30 years later, I can hear her sing every word in my head.
This gold album is beautifully engineered, and although my own tastes have changed and matured (although I never liked her cover of "Jesse" and remain unimpressed by "Children and All that Jazz")I could enjoy it all over again when I played the CD, I can fall in love with the message that Joan was sending in changing from pure folk to a mixed style, with more than a little irony in the songs she chose. I never cease to wonder that other artists did not choose her composition, "Diamonds and Rust" for their own tracks; truly their loss. I'd probably give the song 10 stars, but also enjoyed deeply "The Winds of the Old Days" and the great John Prine's "Hello in There".
"Simple Twist of Fate" is Joan at her most punishing...her imitation of Dylan is close enough to reality (she's better singing Dylan than Dylan!)and the lyrics and music tell their own story much better than any of the words since written about their tortuous relationship.
Joan's voice is far from perfect, but her rich low register and the purity of the way in which she delivers her songs continues from her folk albums through this CD and those that came later.
One of the memorable artists of the 60's and 70's, Joan's D&R CD will remain with me forever.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I have been mulling over the idea that "Diamonds & Rust" is the best folk album of the Seventies, and it has made me realize that I am always going to think of Bob Dylan as being a folksinger even when his guitar is electric. So I would still give the nod to "Blood on the Tracks," especially since that is where Joan Baez's cover of "Simple Twist Of Fate" comes from. But I have no problem with the idea that this is the best Joan Baez album and no doubt whatsoever that "Diamonds & Rust" is her greatest accomplishment as a songwriter:
As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin's eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust
Of course the song is about Dylan "the unwashed phenomenon"; what else would make more perfect sense? More importantly, the elegance of the dichotomy offered by those two words is simple genius, which inspires instant recognition on the part of the listener. My biggest compliment that would be "Diamonds & Rust" is the best Dylan songs not written by Dylan. Baez has never sounded any better than she does on this album. In addition to the title song my other favorites are "Hello In There" and "Jesse." The argument can certainly be made by armchair psychologists that the title song was an important catharsis for Baez, which could explain the dramatic improvement in both her songwriting and singing. The latter is probably less obvious simply because Baez and Judy Collins were the standards by which all female folk singers were judged in the Sixties and Seventies. But I think it is obvious that her rich soprano voice with its distinctive vibrato never sounded better. Still, that title song is just so impressive. I would have to say it is one of the ten best songs of the Seventies.
Yes, "Tangled Up in Blue" would also be on that list on diamonds.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2005
Diamonds and Rust (D&R), is perhaps Baez's most reflective work. Rather than rely solely on her soprano power with the obligatory Dylan tune thrown in, reaches deep into her psyche and soul in this collection of "folky" type songs. There is the Dylan tune for sure ("Simple Twist of Fate"), where the songstress mimics Dylan's voice for a verse and hits it pretty close to dead on. The album contains two "finger pointing songs" about Bobby. "Wings of the Old Days" is clearly about Dylan,("I read that the prince had returned to the stage"), however the cover song could be about her ex David Harris although the lyrics seem to suggest a link to Dylan and their love affair. She covers John Prince ("Hello in There") and provides plenty of material for the folk crowd. The strength of D&R does not come from the individual songs but rather from the collection as a whole. Taking us back to the early '60's, through Vietnam, then redemption and finally acceptance of what we went through. Baez released D&R around the same time Dylan released "Blood on the Tracks", and a year or so prior to the Rolling Thunder Tour in which Baez was so prominantely featured. The tradegy perhaps is that she will always be linked to Dylan and is trapped in the folk "protest" era. Dylan escaped due to the force of his talent and with his artistic integrity intact. Baez can't really rock but she can sing with the best of them and D&R proves it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2002
This is without doubt Ms. Baez' finest overall album, but she still continues to release music of beauty and substance; eg: Play Me Backwards, Gone From Danger.
Diamonds is a rare gem though; the title song was so different from anything she had recorded or written it just jumped out of the radio when I first heard back when I was 18. One of those songs that simply envelope you. I was impressed with the whole album, as I still am today. Listen to Blue Sky; who would of thought, Baez rockin' with 2 electric guitars!! I love it. Jesse, though not as emotionally charged as Roberta Flack's version, Baez holds her own on this track, doing it completely different, and adding that synth horn at the end was inventive musicianship, bar none.
I also love Fountain Of Sorrow. Wish she'd do more Jackson Browne tunes. But the other highlight on this project is I Dream Of Jeannie/Danny Boy. This is what made Ms. Baez famous. Her pure, perfect voice. I get chills when I listen to this combo.
Joan Baez still has one of the best voices in the business. I hope she keeps singing til I drop!!!
NOTE: I heard she's working on a new recording!?!?!?! Let's keep our fingers crossed!! August 21,2002
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2000
The title song of this album is still so magical after 25 years, that it must represent Joan Baez's incredible genious. "Diamonds and Rust" is a lush, lyrical, rich mixture of melody, harmony, and lyrics that somehow captures a moment of life from the past - especially for us aging baby-boomers. Baez paints a rich picture of musical imagery with a depth that borders on the magnificent. That may sound somewhat dramatic for a 'folk-rock' piece, but "Diamonds and Rust" is folk-rock like no other. Embued with deep emotion and sentiment about a failed, but long-remembered love, the piece is really something that most people can easily relate to. The overall gestalt of music, lyrics, and her sweet voice is somehow quite magical. The rest of the album, though good, pales in comparison to the title song which simply captivates.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is an excellent CD from a more mature Joan Baez. Her own musical composition, "Diamonds and Rust", which is the signature song on the CD, is simply outstanding, both lyrically and melodically. Couple it with her own glorious set of pipes, and what one has is a winner! It is simply a beautiful song, sung beautifully.

This CD clearly shows a transition from the more folk based earlier CDs to one that is a little more contemporary in feel, with lusher and, yes, more commercial musical arrangements. There, I said it. Which is not to imply that it is bad. It is simply a change and a different direction than that which had been previously taken by Ms. Baez. Best of all, it works!

Clearly, she can make the transition to a wider audience in this fashion, and she deserves to be heard by as many people as is possible, such is her talent. This CD holds many pleasant surprises in store for the listener.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon November 30, 2002
This elegant album is a seamless blend of her own and others' literate but moving love songs and just a nod to her folk roots in the medley of I Dream Of Jeannie/Danny Boy. She covers songs by Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, Dylan, John Prine and others, while contributing her beautiful own compositions like the title track, Children And All That Jazz, Winds Of The Old Days (reminiscent of Gulf Winds) and Dida. Her interpretation of Browne's Fountain Of Sorrow is particularly poignant, and so is Jesse, the Janis Ian song. Another classic is the reflective Winds Of The Old Days. Unlike some of her ventures into the art song in the 1980's, this album really works, as she sings with warmth and conviction and make the songs her own. Diamonds and Rust is a successful move away from her pure folk roots.
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