Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Three "J's" of Folk Music:Joan, Judy and Joni

***********After having overdosed on Bob Dylan (see posts below) I have moved on to the "three J's" of 1960's folk music, Joan Baez,Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell. To my conservative friends, don't worry I have not become a liberal! I have always been able to separate my political views from music I love. I have always been a Judy Collins fan and have seen her twice live at the Britt Music Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. I have also liked Joni Mitchell. However, with my study of Bob Dylan, I have taken an interest in Joan Baez who was his girl friend for a while. I have also come to the conclusion that she has the best voice of the three. Joni Mitchell is probably the best song writer and Judy Collins comes in a strong second to Baez in the voice department.

For a long time I was in cartoonist Al Cap's, camp who in the 1960's made fun of Baez and named her "Jonie phony". While I certainly do not agree with her politically I at least respect her views since she uses the same standard to judge left wing despots. She was one of the few liberals to condemn the Communist in Vietnam and the Soviets in Czechoslovakia.

Some pointers on their best albums.


Joan Baez (1960) is her first album and is made up of non protest English folk music that has been sung for hundreds of years. True pure folk music.

The First 10 Years (1970)is a good compilation of her first 12 albums for Vanguard records from 1960 to 1970.

Diamonds & Rust (1975) is recognized as one of her best albums with a lot of her own songs. The title song may be about her relationship with Bob Dylan.

Ring them Bells (2007) is a good live concert album with duets with Janis Ian,Dar Williams and others.The last song is "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" sung A capella and is beautiful.

Today, I also found her version of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" one of my favorite songs and it is the best version I have ever heard. I downloaded it from for $.99 since I could only find it on one of her albums.


Judy Collins' Fifth Album (1965) is her last pure folk song album.

Forever: An Anthology,(1997)and The Very Best of Judy Collins (2001) are compilation albums that capture most of her hits. She also has a three CD set called "Greatest Hits" I am going to check it out this weekend."Send in the Clowns," Amazing Grace," "Someday Soon"and "Both Sides Now" are some of my favorite songs.


Court and Spark (1974) is her best studio album with such classics as "Free Man in Paris" and "Help Me." I bought this "record" in 1974 and still have it.

Hits (1996) is a compilation that gives most of her ......

Dreamland (2004) is also a compilation with some songs sung with an orchestra with her older deeper voice brought on by years of smoking..... It's different but very good. It has some favorites such as "You Turn Me on I'm A Radio,""Carey,""Big Yellow Taxi," "Both Sides Now" with an Orchestra and "The Circle Game." A fine album like aged wine.