This 1987 best-of compiles the work from A&M efforts that marked a stylistic change from her Vanguard years, yet a pretty consistent level of success. Relying on the work of other artists seemed to be more hit and miss during the A&M era. In Baez's interpretations of songs like Bob Dylan's "Simple Twist of Fate" and "Forever Young" and John Lennon's "Imagine," her pitch-perfect tone might strike some as unemotional, but her singing is engrossing nonetheless. Not surprisingly, Baez sounds the best here with the tracks that deviate from weighty issues. "Gracias a la Vida" (sung in Spanish) and the haunting "Di Da" (with Joni Mitchell) have her giving off more charm and emotion than usual. "Children and All That Jazz," from her best-selling 1975 album Diamonds & Rust, has a gorgeous, heavily produced '70s L.A. pop/rock style that suited her voice.
Joan Baez's second album, recorded when she was 20 years old, is a hearty helping of folk masterpieces that give ample evidence to exactly how she was established as a leader of the contemporary folk scene of the day. In August of 2001, Joan Baez, Vol. 2 was reissued in an audiophile remastered edition, with new annotation and containing three additional songs from the same sessions – all are a match for anything on the original album, and "I Once Loved a Boy" and "The Longest Train I Ever Saw" count among the saddest, most emotionally enveloping songs of Baez's early career.
It’s hard to believe that more than 50 years have passed since Joan Baez first stepped onto the public stage and became the voice of America’s conscience. From her early support of Martin Luther King’s civil rights campaign to the platform she provided to the suffering citizens of Sarajevo, there hasn’t been a major social-justice movement in the past half-century that Baez hasn’t championed. She primarily has been identified with the 1960s, and consequently, some of her recent charitable projects haven’t been at the forefront of the mainstream radar. In her new documentary How Sweet the Sound, Mary Wharton took the steps that are necessary to reverse this trend.
Legendary singer, songwriter, activist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Baez, will release a new album, Whistle Down The Wind, on March 2 2018. Produced by three-time Grammy® Award winner Joe Henry and recorded over ten days of sessions in Los Angeles, Whistle Down The Wind gathers material by some of Baez’s favourite composers.
Despite her Latin heritage, Joan Baez probably wouldn't have been encouraged by her 1960s record label, the New York-based independent Vanguard, to sing an entire album in Spanish. At A&M Records, the Los Angeles firm co-founded by Herb Alpert that she joined in the early '70s, however, it would have been a different story, and it was A&M that released Gracias a la Vida ("Here's to Life") in 1974. Baez demonstrates an affinity for Mexican folk music on such obvious choices as "Cucurrucucu Paloma," but it's no surprise that, a year after the assassination of leading nueva canción folksinger Victor Jara in a military coup in Chile, an atrocity that shocked the American folk community, she has not backed away from her political commitments…