Thursday, July 22, 2010


MOVIE REVIEW: Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound, DVD, 2009

 I watched this last night and it was so special. I was in high school when Joan's first two albums were released.  By the time I started junior year I had been to music camp where I met a real live teenage folksinger from Philadelphia who showed me how to play three guitar chords, after which I went home, got a guitar of my own and started learning Joan Baez songs. I still have The Joan Baez Songbook published in 1964 by Ryerson Music Publishers, which amazingly is still in print.

  The DVD is a documentary covering her life with guests like Bob Dylan, David Crosby, Jesse Jackson and David Harris (who I once met at an anti-draft rally in Ann Arbor; got to shake both Joan and David's hands.) It is beautifully done with Joan in her gorgeous 60s telling stories, looking back on her life and lots of incredibly good footage of her back in the day.

 Those were the days when women like us were being great women and bad mothers. I never got famous but I could never leave the music alone for long. Folksinger in high school and college; Top 40 band lead singer in the 70s; indie singer/songwriter in the 90s. My life is more together now and like Joan, I am good with my kids but all the music days were and will always be the best part.

 Joan is still so beautiful and still maintains her commitment to non-violence and ending war. But I have to say that my favorite song, which I used to perform for years, is her grand dis to Bob Dylan, "Diamonds and Rust." 

 I don't believe in any such thing as the "good old days," but it does seem like we were at least trying back then. Oh well, as the other Joan said, "It was just a dream some of us had."

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