Thursday, September 6, 2012

#47: Joan Baez - Joan Baez (1960)

Joan Baez is an American folk singer. During this record she plays guitar and sings with a very strong vibrato. This record marked her début and includes 13 folk songs.

The House of the Rising Sun
Wow. I had no idea this song could be this powerful. Dynamics play a huge part in the success of this recording. Baez has such a beautiful falsetto that sets up her belting it out perfectly. Instead of playing the verse and chorus the same way every time, she instead creates a much bigger curve to create a much bigger journey. Best track on the album.

Rake and Ramblin' Boy
The album is full of great stories, but I especially enjoyed the melody and the picking on this track. Baez is a honey badger, she doesn't care if she has to sing, "Now I married me a pretty little wife." She's going to do it, and really breathe life into it. It's surprising how entertaining the album is considering it's just a guitar and a vocal

Henry Martin
It feels a little like 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald', but then again folk songs about ships do have a particular sound. The picking/singing is phenomenal, but I really, really enjoyed the story. Rarely do I listen to lyrics on the first few plays, but the song forces it in your ear. A guy (Henry Martin) decides to become a pirate to support his two brothers. He threatens a merchant ship with sinking his ship unless he sails underneath him, they fight, and Martin wins. Then London weeps for the men lost at sea.

All in all, it's a very good album. While I don't see this going in the rotation, I'm sure I'll hear it again at some point. Any young girl with a guitar needs to listen to this record. The songs didn't run together despite the lack of variation in the instrumentation. Even if after this review you have no interest in listening to this album, you should absolutely check out, 'House of the Rising Sun'.

Tomorrow's album: Andy Grammer's self titled debut album.

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