Joan Baez – Any Day Now – Joan Baez Sings Bob Dylan (1968)

FrontCover1Joan Chandos Baez (born January 9, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and activist. Her contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest and social justice. Baez has performed publicly for over 60 years, releasing over 30 albums. Fluent in Spanish and English, she has also recorded songs in at least six other languages.

Baez is generally regarded as a folk singer, but her music has diversified since the counterculture era of the 1960s and encompasses genres such as folk rock, pop, country, and gospel music. She began her recording career in 1960 and achieved immediate success. Her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. 2 and Joan Baez in Concert, all achieved gold record status. Although a songwriter herself, Baez generally interprets other composers’ work, having recorded songs by the Allman Brothers Band, the Beatles, Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen, Woody Guthrie, Violeta Parra, the Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, and many others.

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She was one of the first major artists to record the songs of Bob Dylan in the early 1960s; Baez was already an internationally celebrated artist and did much to popularize his early songwriting efforts.[8][9] On her later albums she has found success interpreting the work of more recent songwriters, including Ryan Adams, Josh Ritter, Steve Earle, Natalie Merchant, and Joe Henry.

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Baez’s acclaimed songs include “Diamonds & Rust” and covers of Phil Ochs’s “There but for Fortune” and The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. She is also known for “Farewell, Angelina”, “Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word”, “Forever Young”, “Here’s to You”, “Joe Hill”, “Sweet Sir Galahad” and “We Shall Overcome”. Baez performed fourteen songs at the 1969 Woodstock Festival and has displayed a lifelong commitment to political and social activism in the fields of nonviolence, civil rights, human rights, and the environment. Baez was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, 2017.

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Any Day Now is a Joan Baez double LP from 1968, made up exclusively of Bob Dylan songs. It peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart.

At the time of the album’s original release, six of the songs had not been included on official Dylan releases. One song, “Love is Just a Four-Letter Word,” has apparently never been recorded by Dylan himself. The album was produced during a marathon recording session in Nashville in September 1968, the fruits of which resulted in two albums: Any Day Now, and 1969’s David’s Album. Baez would return to Nashville to record a number of times during the next several years.

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Laying Bob Dylan sheet music on the floor in front of her, Baez closed her eyes and picked at random, the results of which made up the track listing.

Joan Baez did illustrations for each of the songs, included in the gatefold of the album.

The record went gold in 1969.

The Vanguard reissue contains two bonus tracks: “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “It Ain’t Me Babe,” both live performances from Baez’ 1967 tour of Japan. (wikipedia)

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Recorded in October of 1968, Any Day Now marks Joan Baez’s first foray into the recording studios of Nashville, armed with an entire program of Bob Dylan’s material and backed by a cast of Music City’s finest session players. Dylan himself, coming out of an imposed exile after a motorcycle crash, had issued only one recording since 1966’s Blonde on Blonde; his low-key “comeback” outing, John Wesley Harding, released in December of 1967, had also been recorded in Nash Vegas with some of the same A-list players. Baez’s interpretations on this double album are simply stellar. Her empathy for the material, her keen understanding of Dylan’s sound world, and her own glorious voice brought another dimension to these 16 songs and, if anything, extended their meanings. There is no greater interpreter of Dylan’s music, and while evidence of that certainly was offered on earlier recordings (such as 1967’s Joan), the verdict was solidified here.

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The album’s most famous track is “Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word,” and because of the definitive performance of it here, it has basically belonged to Baez ever since. Another fine choice is “Walls of Redwing,” a tune Dylan rarely performed and no one had yet recorded. Baez’s read of “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” brings its full complexity to the fore. Though Dylan later confessed (after Joan and Bob split) to writing it for his wife, Sara, on the album Desire, there is plenty in the song that alludes to his relationship with Baez. Her version of the song is almost identical in length (11:15 to Dylan’s 11:22) and is utterly beguiling. Likewise, her a cappella approach to “Tears of Rage,” which immediately follows, is a beautiful version with a strangely fascinating placement. The bottom line is that Any Day Now, like Joan and David’s Album, found Baez at an intensely inspirational and creative peak. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Joan Baez (vocals, guitar)
Harold Bradley (guitar, dobro)
Kenny Buttrey (drums)
Fred Carter Jr. (mandolin)
Pete Drake (pedal steel-guitar)
Johnny Gimble (fiddle)
Roy Huskey, Jr. (bass)
Tommy Jackson (fiddle)
Jerry Kennedy (guitar)
Grady Martin (guitar)
Norbert Putnam (bass)
Jerry Reed (guitar)
Hargus “Pig” Robbins (piano)
Harold Rugg (guitar, dobro)
Buddy Spicher (fiddle)
Stephen Stills (guitar)

Booklet1Tracklist:
01. Love Minus Zero/No Limit 2.44
02. North Country Blues 5.02
03. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere 3.01
04. Drifter’s Escape 2.58
05. I Pity The Poor Immigrant 3.48
06. Tears Of Rage 4.22
07. Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands 11.18
08. Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word 4.27
09. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine 3.17
10. Walls Of Red Wing 3.52
11. Dear Landlord 3.00
12. One Too Many Mornings 3.14
13. I Shall Be Released 3.59
14. Boots Of Spanish Leather 4.34
15. Walkin’ Down The Line 3.24
16. Restless Farewell 5.56
+
17. Blowin´ In The Wind 3.20
18. It Ain´t Me Baby 3.18

All songs written by Bob Dylan
except 06.: written by Bob Dylan & Richard Manuel

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