Joan Baez
 
 
"Bowery Songs" Irish Release Date Feb 10th on Proper Records
 
 
 
 
 
Joan Baez
"Bowery Songs"
Irish Release Date Feb 10th on Proper Records
Bowery Songs, the newest album from Joan Baez and her first live album in ten years, is a soaring chronicle of her current performances. From Joan’s opening acapella benediction, “Finlandia,” to her prophetic and telling versions of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and Steve Earle’s “Jerusalem” that close the album, there can be no mistaking the medium and the message she sought to capture.

Bowery Songs reminds us that at crucial moments during her long and storied career – which is to say, at crucial moments in America’s history over the past four decades and then some – Joan has recorded and released live performance albums that have served as critical barometers of our times. 1963’s In Concert Part 1 and Part 2 LPs (Vanguard) were recorded during Joan’s first full-scale major cross-country tours, just three years into the start of her career in the heat of the Civil Rights movement and the nascent Free Speech and anti-war struggles, and in the blush of her early involvement with the music and soul of Bob Dylan.

At a time in America’s history when it was neither safe nor fashionable, Joan put herself on the line countless times, and her life’s work was mirrored in her music. She sang about freedom and Civil Rights everywhere, from the backs of flatbed trucks in Mississippi to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963. In 1964, she withheld 60% of her income tax from the IRS to protest military spending, and participated in the birth of the Free Speech movement at UC Berkeley. A year later she co-founded the Institute For The Study Of Nonviolence near her home in Carmel Valley. In 1966, Joan Baez stood in the fields alongside Cesar Chavez and migrant farm workers striking for fair wages, and opposed capital punishment at San Quentin during a Christmas vigil. The follow­ing year she turned her attention to the draft resistance movement. As the war in Vietnam escalated in the late ’60s and early ’70s, she traveled to Hanoi with the U.S.-based Liaison Committee and helped establish Amnesty International on the West Coast.

The soundtrack to those times was provided by a stunning soprano whose natural vibrato lent a taut, nervous tension to everything she sang. Yet even as an 18-year old, introduced onstage at the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959, and during her apprenticeship on the Boston-Cambridge coffee house folk music circuit leading up to the recording of her first solo album for Vanguard Records in the summer of 1960, Joan’s repertoire reflected a different sensibility from her peers. In the traditional songs she mastered, there was an acknowledgment of the human condition – underdogs in the fight, inequity among the races, the desperation of poverty, the futility of war, romantic betrayal, unrequited love, spiritual redemption, and grace.

“All of us are survivors,” Joan Baez wrote, “but how many of us transcend survival?” More than four decades after the release of her first recordings, she has never meant more to fans across the globe, has never shown more vitality and passion in her concerts and records, and has never been more comfortable inside her own skin.

TRACK LISTING:
Finlandia / Rexroth’s daughter / Deportee / Joe Hill / Christmas in Washington / Farewell Angelina / Motherland / Carrickfergus / Jackaree / Seven Curses / Dink’s song / Silver dagger / It’s all over now baby blue / Jerusalem

 
 

 

 
     
 
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