Tag Archives: Joan Baez

Joan Baez

I don’t get to spin my Bob Dylan records often, but I used his 67th birthday as an excuse to make Blonde on Blonde our pre-dinner music on Wednesday evening. The album’s been kicking around the front of my consciousness since I found out about the Old Crow Medicine Show cover version, which I ended up really enjoying. I love that it’s live — the extra energy keeps it from feeling staid or overly reverential, even though it is faithful.

I haven’t picked that one up yet, but I’ve been listening to another Dylan covers album, one I got when a friend’s neighbor decided to jettison her record collection. It’s called Any Day Now — 4 sides of Joan Baez doing Dylan tunes, including a striking a cappella version of “Tears Of Rage” that I’ve been playing over and over. I’m so used to The Band’s Big Pink cut that other versions are bound to stand out, but there’s something about the way Baez sings it… So intentional, like the lyrics mean something different to her than they might to someone else.

Joan Baez — “Tears Of Rage” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Roy Orbison

“This is making me tense.”

It’s the most feared phrase in any shared listening environment.

It strikes when you least expect it, when Luciano Pavarotti is singing “Nessun Dorma,” or when James Taylor is rocking “Sweet Baby James.” You never know. Certain things just hit people the wrong way.

I’m writing to you from my family’s beach week, which was the setting for the Great Orbison Showdown. There is some debate over the peripheral details, like how long ago it took place, where on the Outer Banks the rental house was located that year, and exactly how many times Roy Orbison’s Black and White Night concert DVD was played, but the words themselves are etched into my memory like footsteps on the moon:

“This is making me tense.” 

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