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