Wednesday, January 09, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOAN - "There But for Fortune"

The year started off on a downer, with the January 1st death of the most versatile female vocalist of the 20th Century, the under-appreciated Patti Page. But 2013's first set of posts begins with a salute to the living legend, female folkie Joan Baez, born on January 9th, 1941.

Joan has been a consistent presence on the music scene since the 60s, and aside from her love songs, protest songs, and her heartfelt concerts for so many good causes, her name will always be linked with a legend of folk music and protest…a certain scruffy gent who rose from strumming in clubs in Greenwich Village to writing songs covered by artists all over the world. Joan was eager to sing a song from the guy who turned heads during those early folk-rock days and who influenced so many people with his sharp wit, fascinating personality and both his beautiful ballads and his scorching songs of protest. Joan's name is forever linked with the one and only: Phil Ochs.

Oh yeah, Joan also put out an entire album of songs by some guy named Bob, who she was sweet on. And one of her best self-penned numbers, "Diamonds and Rust" was about him. But one of Joan's most famous singles, which you get in the download below, is Phil's "There But for Fortune." What do you get as a birthday gift for a woman who has everything the material world could give her, and more importantly, the respect and love of fans, friends and peers? She'd probably be the one to suggest that the gift of a song to others would be appropriate. Well, as long as it's ONE song, and not an entire discography on Pirate Bay.

"There But for Fortune" go all of us. Including Bob. I once mentioned to the brilliant Ms. Baez, her superiority to Bob. How? While she did a marvelous job in imitating Dylan's voice (in the midst of her cover of "Simple Twist of Fate") and even his look (if you remember the "Rolling Thunder" tour), HE, as great as he is, could never imitate Joan's voice or look like her!

During a live performance of "There But for Fortune," the crowd roared at the first notes. And she said, "You old Folkniks, you! It's MUTUAL!" We love you, Joan. Happy Birthday to the greatest and most enduring of the female folkies, still touring the world. Last year's concerts included Germany, France, Morocco, Italy, Austria, Ecuador, and…Sapristi…an entire month in the UK that included dates in Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Salisbury, Basingstoke, Ipswich, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Nottingham, Cardiff, Plymouth, Poole, Cambridge, York, Gateshead, Glasgow and Brighton.

JOAN BAEZ There But for Fortune

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