Well, it’s a folk album. A woman with a guitar. She’s definitely a good guitar player, vocalist and lyricist, so if you’re into folk and/or indie music, give this a listen. I don’t know much about Joan Baez at all, but I wouldn’t be opposed to learning more. Anyway, good album. I liked it.
Joan Baez was singer Joan Baez‘s 1960 self-titled debut album, featuring 13 traditional folk songs.
Though Baez was reportedly offered a contract with Columbia at the time, she chose to go instead with the independent Vanguard label, hoping for increased artistic license. Most of the songs featured only Baez’ vocals and guitar, with a second guitar (played by Fred Hellerman, of The Weavers), added to some songs. Despite the lack of strings and horns, backup singers and hit singles, the album went gold, although it did not make the Billboard 200 chart until 1962, following the success of her second album, Joan Baez, Vol. 2. Joan Baez peaked at number 15 and spent 140 weeks on the chart.
“…It took four days. We recorded it in the ballroom of some hotel in New York, way up by the river. We could use the room every day except Tuesday, because they played Bingo there on Tuesdays. It was just me on this filthy rug. There were two microphones, one for the voice and one for the guitar. I just did my set. It was probably all I knew how to do at that point. I did ‘Mary Hamilton‘ once and that was it…That’s the way we made ’em in the old days. As long as a dog didn’t run through the room or something, you had it…”
In 2001, Vanguard reissued Joan Baez with new liner notes and three previously unreleased songs. (Between 2001 and 2005, they reissued remastered versions of Baez’ thirteen original albums with the label.)
In his Allmusic review, music critic Bruce Eder gave the album five out of five stars, commenting that the purity of the sound was notable at the time. He wrote of the album “Baez gives a fine account of the most reserved and least confrontational aspects of the folk revival, presenting a brace of traditional songs (most notably “East Virginia” and “Mary Hamilton”) with an urgency and sincerity that makes the listener feel as though they were being sung for the first time”
All songs are traditional arranged Joan Baez except where noted.
- “Silver Dagger” – 2:32
- “East Virginia” – 3:44
- “Fare Thee Well (10,000 Miles)” (Traditional, arranged David Gude) – 3:22
- “House of the Rising Sun” – 2:56
- “All My Trials” – 4:41
- “Wildwood Flower” – 2:37
- “Donna Donna” (Sholom Secunda, Aaron Zeitlin; English lyrics Arthur Kevess, Teddi Schwartz) – 3:15
- “John Riley” – 3:54
- “Rake and Rambling Boy” – 1:59
- “Little Moses” – 3:31
- “Mary Hamilton” (Child No. 173) – 5:58
- “Henry Martin” (Child No. 250) – 4:15
- “El Preso Número Nueve” (“The Ninth Prisoner”) (Roberto Cantoral) – 2:48
Reissue bonus tracks