Joan Baez’ debut album: Music review

When I was learning to play guitar, John Lee Hooker and Joan Baez were two of my earliest influences and some of the first CDs I owned, and I tried to play and sing like them both. This is Joan Baez’ first album, from the summer of 1960, long before the craziness and insanity of the Dylan era blew the 60s folk scene wide apart. These are innocent-sounding folk songs by comparison to what came later, and they remind me of a time of innocence in my own musical career, in my own life, long before the frantic insanity of the later years blew everything to pieces.
I have this album on CD, so this is not a new album for me, but I just got a copy of it on vinyl.
This is early Joan Baez, that silver voice singing “Silver Dagger” over the breathless rushing guitar, singing a dour and somber “House of the Rising Sun,” pining for “John Riley” lost at sea, sighing at his return, singing the praises of the unflinching unrepentant prisoner of “El Preso Numero Nueve.” Damn straight, Prisoner Number Nine, fuckin line me up against that wall goddamn it, sound that bell. Let’s go!


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