Joan Baez


The debut record of Joan Baez, who got recognition in the folk scene after a perfect performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. So much so, that she could decide which record company to sign up for. In four days the recordings were completed:

It took four nights. We were in some big, smelly ballroom at a hotel on Broadway, way up by the river. We couldn’t record on Wednesday nights because they played bingo there. I would be down there on this dirty old rug with two microphones, one for the voice and one for the guitar. I just did my set; it was probably all I knew. Just put ’em down. I did “Mary Hamilton” once, that was it. That’s the way we made ’em in the old days. As long as a dog didn’t run through the room or something, you had it.

Joan Baez in Rolling Stone’s

The record was produced by record executive and producer Maynard Solomon. An interesting figure, who was mainly active in classical music and musicology. Almost on the side he founded the Vanguard label, now well known for its early folk recordings. But he was also writing about Beethoven, and was one of the first to theorise about Schubert’s possible homosexuality. In the late Seventies he became associated professor, starting an academic career.

This mix between the classical and folk music led to Joan Baez’ recording of Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5.

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