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Joan Baez Original recording remastered

4.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, August 14, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Her watershed 1960 debut! This reissue adds two previously unreleased tracks- Girl of Constant Sorrow and I Know You Rider -and an unreleased verse on John Riley !

History's ear hasn't been kind to Joan Baez: in retrospect, set against the traditional voices whose material she interpreted, her own versions seem painfully pretty, her soprano icy and removed. But it's hard to gauge now the force of her first record, a folk-revival landmark. Released in 1960 after a triumphant Newport Festival appearance, the record had deep material and emotion that few of her urban folk contemporaries possessed. Her version of "John Riley" is compelling, "East Virginia" glowing, and "Silver Dagger" concentrated, while "Preso Numero Nueve" showed her future political turn. (This 2001 reissue offers two previously unreleased tracks plus an expanded version of "John Riley.") --Roy Kasten
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 14, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 1960
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Vanguard
  • ASIN: B00005MKGM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,076 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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The original release date for this album was October, 1960, but no-one has since surpassed Joan Baez as a singer of Anglo-American ballads, most especially (in my opinion) those collected by Francis J. Child in his five volume work, "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads"(1882-1898). If you've never heard her sing, this album would be a good place to start. "Joan Baez Vol. 2" and "Joan Baez 5" also have some great ballads.

Joan Baez is a very admirable person. Her life and voice have been inseparable from the public events that have shaped the last four decades. However, I wish she could have sung more ballads and less soft pop (is that anything like soft porn?) and political ephemera. That's why I can't recommend any of her other, more recent albums (except "Noel"). She was gifted with a lyrical soprano that pierces like a flute and trembles like moonlit water. It is the perfect instrument to express the pathos and unrequited love of the minor keys. When she attempts a more robust C Major or G Major, she sounds jokey rather than robust--like someone in the manic phase of her bipolar disorder. I tend to disagree with the liner notes that suggest Joan has an effective snarl in her lower register in the song "Silver Dagger". She sings this Appalachian ballad in a way that will haunt you for decades, until you break down and purchase a CD remastering of the old vinyl recording that got loved to death. No snarl, though.

This CD contains two new songs that weren't on the original issue: "Girl of Constant Sorrow"; and "I know You Rider." You also get to hear Joan singing "John Riley" on two different tracks, the second time with an added verse. Note to Vanguard: that's a rather clunky way to fill an extra track.

My favorite song is from Child, "Vol.
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Format: Audio CD
Before the Great Folk Scare of the 1960s, there was traditional music, songs that have triumphantly withstood the test of time and interpretation by thousands of singers both famous and of the back-porch variety. Folks have been singing these songs since before "music" was synonymous with "entertainment; they've been sung by mothers lulling their babies to sleep, and around campfires and kitchen tables, and as men (and a few women too!) went off to battle and to sea; they've been used to spread the news of palace doings and pirates and adventurers, and to tell the stories of regular folks going about their daily business. That's where these songs, sung so beautifully and cleanly by Joan Baez on her first album, come from, and the fact that these songs are still being sung and loved and passed on to the next generation is due in large part to Joan and Judy and Pete and even old Bob Dylan himself. They knew a good song, one that rings true to both the ear and the heart, when they heard one, and I remain perennially thankful that they saved them for us and our children and our children's children in such beautiful recordings as this.
This album has been dubbed "essential" by the wise folks here at, and rightly so. It was first released way, way back in the very early '60s, before my generation of Baby Boomers had become world-weary and relentlessly politically correct. All of the songs on this album predate our 20th-century woes and wars, and most of them have their origins in "the old country", whether that be England or Africa or Spain or deepest Apalachia. But that doesn't mean that these are sweet, wimpy, wispy little ditties, and don't let the spine-tingling purity of Joan Baez's voice lull you into overlooking the power and substance of the material here!
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Format: Audio CD
. . . humming in your chest, and in your eyes . . .
I didn't become aware of Joan Baez until the spring of 1970, when I moved into a communal house where several of the women my age played Joan, Judy and Joni a lot. Initially, I didn't like her all that much . . . the albums they had were 'Farewell Angelina', and 'Any Day Now', which are both collections of Bob Dylan songs. At the time, I much preferred the way Bob sang his own songs. I mean, these Baez albums were great mood enhancers, a/k/a background music, but I never considered buying them for myself way back then.
This situation changed in the mid-90's when I bought and read the book 'Baby Let Me Follow You Down: the Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years'. The author, Eric von Schmidt, was one of the very folksingers whom he was writing about, and boy, did he ever do a job of transporting me back in time, as it were. I began hunting for some of the older material, from where the urban folk revival started. One of my first acquisitions was Joan's first album. I absolutely fell in love with it.
Sure, Ms. Baez took a lot of flak for being in the habit of singing old traditional songs rather than the new topical protest material; and she didn't even write any of her own stuff. Then again, the artistry she summons when just singing is far more astounding than what many of the singer-songwriters were able to tap into while writing their own new tunes.
Her voice is pure, and her dynamics (ability to go from soft to loud and back again) is unmatched in the pop world. And there is quite a large acreage of feeling that inheres in, adheres to, and rustles in the deep undergrowth of her softer passages, then dances in the powerful frescos of her soaring soprano.
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