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The Essential Joan Baez - From the Heart (Live)

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Album Review

The Essential Joan Baez/From the Heart [Live], released primarily in Asia, is a single-CD abridgement of the Joan Baez album From Every Stage, recorded at concerts held in July and August 1975 and initially issued as a double-LP by A&M Records in January 1976. The original version contained 20 tracks and ran over 80 minutes, just a little too long for one CD; this one contains 15 tracks and runs a little over an hour. Baez's performances of "(Ain't Gonna Let Nobody) Turn Me Around," "Blessed Are," "Stewball," "Natalia," and "Joe Hill" have been jettisoned, and the remaining tracks have been re-sequenced, with the first ten described as "the electric tracks" — even though they include the a cappella "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" — and the last five "the acoustic tracks." The new sequencing takes what was the end of the concert and puts it at the beginning, so that, oddly, Baez performs "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and then bids her audience good night after what, here, is only the first song! Still, the album contains excellent performances of many Baez staples, including five Bob Dylan songs, played by an accomplished backup band that includes famed Motown bass player James Jamerson, drummer Jim Gordon, and keyboard player David Briggs. Of course, the full-length version in its original sequence is preferred.


Born: 09 January 1941 in Staten Island, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The most accomplished interpretive folksinger of the 1960s, Joan Baez has influenced nearly every aspect of popular music in a career still going strong. Baez is possessed of a once-in-a-lifetime soprano, which, since the late '50s, she has put in the service of folk and pop music as well as a variety of political causes. Starting out in Boston, Baez first gained recognition at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, then cut her debut album, Joan Baez (October 1960), for Vanguard Records. It was made up...
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