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Joan Baez - How Sweet the Sound

How Sweet the Sound

Joan Baez

Available as from

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mike Jurkovic

We talk about Pete Seeger's folk lineage with a great, sometimes embarrassing reverence. But few, if any, have leapt into the breach of historical, social, cultural, and political upheaval and led her life for a cause greater than a press release than Joan Chandos Baez.

It was always more than the music for Baez, making PBS' superbly paced American Masters production more history lesson than musical documentary. Though Dylan was the universally acclaimed voice of a generation (a mantle he shrugged off as soon as it didn't serve his purpose) Baez stood as its conscience and consciousness. Both these concepts stand true as Baez then and now, while her squeamish generation readily succumbed to consumer gratification and lowered expectations.

Released in three different configurations—DVD, CD, and combined deluxe package—the DVD takes us from the beat folk clubs of Cambridge and Greenwich Village through the Jim Crow South, Vietnam, and Sarajevo. Along the way, the lady herself, Dylan, Jesse Jackson, David Harris, Steve Earle and an especially eloquent David Crosby, chime in.

The fifteen track CD soundtrack is a tight retrospective: from Club 47, 1958 I Never Will Marry through those peak years, closing with a highly emotional and compelling four song mini-concert recorded throughout 2008-2009. Diamonds and Rust, Love Song To A Stranger, Tom Waits' gripping Day After Tomorrow and Earle's Jerusalem. No matter which version you buy, you'll be moved.

CD Track List:

  • Man Smart, Woman Smarter
  • I Never Will Marry
  • Barbara Allen
  • Silver Dagger
  • Fennario
  • Oh Freedom
  • With God On Our Side
  • A Song For David
  • The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  • Carry It On
  • I Pity The Poor Immigrant
  • Diamonds and Rust
  • Love Song To A Stranger
  • Day After Tomorrow
  • Jerusalem
DVD directed by Mary Wharton
CD produced by Mark Spector

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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