Album no. 24/1001
This is the debut album from Joan Baez (or ‘Joanie!’ to Ned’s mum), recorded when she was nineteen – which is pretty crazy.
She’s known for protest songs, but this album is mostly traditional American and English folk songs.
‘Joanie’ has done live albums, a christmas album, an album in Spanish, an album made up solely of Dylan covers, the works. Since she started she has produced over fifty full-length albums, and she is still going. I should probably work harder.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I’ve heard some of them; ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘All My Trials’, ‘John Riley’. I don’t think I’ve heard this album start to finish, but I was exposed to a lot of Joan as a kid so it’s possible I just don’t remember it.
CL: No. I haven’t heard anything by old mate Joan, so I’m not really sure what to expect. Maybe something like Julia Stone?
NK: Julia Stone? This could go wrong reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally quick.
NK: I like ‘Fare Thee Well’ the most. It’s meant to be reassuring, but you know what, I don’t think your own true love is coming back 😦 . ‘Silver Dagger’ is good as well, and her version of ‘All My Trials’ is interesting (although my favourite version of that is when Elvis does it in ‘An American Trilogy’).
CL: It’s not like Julia Stone. AT ALL. Oh help. I AM NOT ENJOYING THIS. I AM DEFINITELY NOT ENJOYING her version of ‘The House of the Rising Sun’. Yuck. I am also not enjoying any of these songs or her voice. It’s hurting my ears. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm can I turn it off? OH WAIT! I know that ‘Wildwood Flowers’ song from Walk The Line! Reese Witherspoon sings it as June Carter and does a MUCH better job.
NK: I don’t care for either ‘Wildwood Flowers’ much. My poor mum is going to be very disappointed in you mate, I tell you what.
CL: I’m sorry, I really am. But I’m struggling. Merchant goods merchant goods merchant gooooooooods? NO. STOP. Enough about boats and petticoats. AND NOW SHE’S SINGING IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE. I’m out.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: On a rainy afternoon when you’re sitting inside reading a book. It’s really melancholy.
CL: Urgh. I… I really don’t know. It’s very boring. A lot of these songs are also traditional English and American songs – like, not lullabies, but they might as well be – so that’s probably not helping. You could literally do a jig to some of these.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I think her fingerpicking and arrangements of these songs were a big part of the folk revival. After this she went on to sing protest songs and hang about with Bob Dylan. Also, her voice might be an acquired taste, but you can’t deny she can hit the notes.
CL: Because clearly everyone got excited that a WOMAN could play a guitar and yodel her way through a couple of songs? I know some people love her, (I’m sorry, Ned’s mum) but my goodness me. Supposedly this is one of the highest selling female folk albums of all time. No wonder the genre never really went anywhere.
NK: What about her crazy fingerpicking? That did nothing for you? Also, she was nineteen when she recorded this! Nineteen!
CL: That fact makes me dislike this even more.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Probably not this album, I think the later stuff is more fun. There’s a live album (I think it’s ‘From Every Stage’, which is where they got the version of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ that went on the Forrest Gump soundtrack) which has a really great version of ‘Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts’ on it. After the line ‘the door to the dressing room burst open and a colt revolver clicked’ (06.45) there’s a really fun piano riff which has stuck with me ever since I first heard it.
CL: No. I’d rather stick something in my ears. Like a stick. Until it pierces my brain and I don’t have to listen anymore. THINGS ARE NOT OFF TO A GOOD START IN THE 60s.
NK: I really think my pre-existing knowledge of Joan has helped me out here. I knew what to expect, and I think her voice sort of chills out a bit as she goes along.
CL: This is being very generous.
NK: Don’t expect to get any invites to mum and dad’s place any time soon.