In 1960, young folk singer Joan Baez was invited to the 92nd Street Y to give her first New York City concert. In September 2008, elder stateswoman Baez returned for this interview with Anthony DeCurtis, author and editor at Rolling Stone. This interview focuses on just what happened in the 48 years between her appearances at the Y: a career in music and advocacy rivalled only by Bob Dylan, whom she was instrumental in bringing to light.
Listeners will delight in her recollection of her role as a song interpreter, political activist, and private woman. Throughout, Baez’s grace and humility - and of course her lovely voice - lift the listener’s spirits. Yes, fans: she picks that sweet guitar and raises her voice for three stellar songs!
Anthony DeCurtis is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of In Other Words: Artists Talk About Life and Work.
©2008 92nd Street Y; (P)2008 92nd Street Y
Avid listener on my daily commute!
This is a combination concert and interview with Joan Baez, a folksinger extraordinaire who needs no introduction. She has a somewhat weaker singing voice in her older age (mostly due to decreased breath support, from the sounds of it; she audibly takes a breath in the middle of some lyrics), but acutely intact, richly articulate intelligence and razor-sharp wit that comes as a fresh surprise even to fans who imagined they knew her before. I had seen her in concert in the mid-nineties and she was splendid then, but this is a richer and more intimate experience because one gets to hear her speak at length on the topics that are important to her.
These topics are exactly what you would think: the importance of nonviolence and of creating a global community. I purchased this recording AFTER reading the previous review in which the reviewer alleged that Baez was shockingly left-wing, "so far left she's almost right." This made me curious: Joan Baez, a lifelong pacifist, was suddenly now, in her old age, a RADICAL? So I listened very carefully, waiting for the shocking revelation. Finally, about two minutes from the end of the program, it came. A young person in the audience stood up during the Q & A and asked Ms. Baez what kind of change she'd like to see in this country going forward. She said she'd like to see a future in which Americans stop thinking of themselves as Americans, and start thinking of themselves as citizens of the world instead. Then she explained that this is why she will not salute the flag--"any flag"--and has not done so since her teen years; she believes that since our status as Americans is simply "an accident of birth," we should stop congratulating ourselves for it and begin working on what might really deserve congratulations: the creation of a true and peaceful global community.
Not so radical; not so shocking. Ms. Baez, as she reminds her audience, was raised a Quaker. Her views are nowhere near the farthest left you'll ever hear; in fact, many minutes before she confesses to not saluting the flag, she relates an anecdote wherein she calls a fellow musician (Steve Earle) "Pinko" because he's so much more of a leftie than she is.
I really enjoyed listening to this program, and I'm sure I will listen again. Thanks, Audible, for making interviews like this available!
Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
Although I knew she was a lefty way back in the '60s when I first heard her sing, I really loved her style and tried to imitate it myself. Now she is so far left she is almost right. Ohhhh, I could not even stand to finish listening to this ridiculous interview. I could forgive her less-than-wonderful voice because she is well into her 60s, but her politics sent me reeling.
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