Diamonds

Diamonds

by Joan Baez
     
 

The same year that A&M U.S. released the single-disc, 20-track Greatest Hits, A&M U.K. released this double-disc, 33-track compilation from the same period of Joan Baez's career, i.e., her five-year, five-album sojourn at the label from 1972 to 1976. You'd figure that this one would get the nod over the shorter American disc, right? Wrong. Compiler John Tobler,See more details below

Overview

The same year that A&M U.S. released the single-disc, 20-track Greatest Hits, A&M U.K. released this double-disc, 33-track compilation from the same period of Joan Baez's career, i.e., her five-year, five-album sojourn at the label from 1972 to 1976. You'd figure that this one would get the nod over the shorter American disc, right? Wrong. Compiler John Tobler, who also wrote the perfunctory liner notes, devotes the first disc to abbreviated versions of Baez's first A&M album, Come from the Shadows (nine of 12 tracks), and her third, Diamonds & Rust (eight of 11), and the second disc to an abbreviated version of her fourth, the live double-LP From Every Stage (16 of 20). He makes a point of not using anything from her second A&M album, Where Are You Now, My Son?, which he calls "misguided" for containing documentary sounds from the Vietnam War. Is it necessary to point out that anyone who fails to appreciate Baez's stand on Vietnam has no business choosing a compilation of her music? (And, of course, the war sounds are only on one side of the record. If Tobler had bothered to flip the LP over, he'd have found such excellent tracks as "Best of Friends" and "Less Than a Song," both of which are on Greatest Hits, as well as "Mary Call" and "Young Gypsy.") And he doesn't even mention her fifth A&M album, Gulf Winds, which means he misses such songs as "Sweeter for Me," which three U.S. compilations have correctly chosen as one of her best A&M songs. While there is nevertheless much that is valuable on Diamonds, the trouble is that, despite Tobler's opinion, the A&M period was less "a commercially and artistically profitable" one than a transitional and uneven one for Baez, so that selectivity is the key to a good compilation, and she is not best represented by her covers of songs better known in the versions recorded by their authors (John Lennon's "Imagine," John Prine's "Hello In There") or by the umpteenth performances of songs from her Vanguard period ("Love Is Just a Four Letter Word"). Rather, this was a period when Baez was emerging as a writer. But Tobler has excluded many of her originals in favor of retreads. So, don't waste your money: if you want a good sampler, get the Greatest Hits; if you want more, go ahead and buy the full-length albums that have been oddly truncated here.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/30/2002
Label:
Polygram Uk
UPC:
0731454050029
catalogNumber:
540500
Rank:
126133

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Prison Trilogy (Billy Rose)
  2. Rainbow Road
  3. Love Song to a Stranger
  4. Myths
  5. In the Quiet Morning
  6. To Bobby
  7. Song of Bangladesh
  8. Tumbleweed
  9. Imagine
  10. Diamonds & Rust
  11. Fountain of Sorrow
  12. Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer
  13. Children and All That Jazz
  14. Simple Twist of Fate
  15. Blue Sky
  16. Hello in There
  17. Jesse

Disc 2

  1. (Ain't Gonna Let Nobody) Turn Me Around
  2. Suzanne
  3. I Shall Be Released
  4. Myths
  5. Stewball
  6. The Ballad of Socco and Vanzetti
  7. Joe Hill
  8. Love Is Just a Four Letter Word
  9. Forever Young
  10. Boulder to Birmingham
  11. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  12. Oh Happy Day
  13. Please Come to Boston
  14. Lily, Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts
  15. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  16. Amazing Grace

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