Graham Reid | | <1 min read
In late '74 Joan Baez went into a studio with hot session musicians and jazz players (Jim Gordon, Larry Knechtel, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Wilton Felder), and she had been hanging around with her new friend Hampton Hawes.
So jazz -- and Joni Mitchell -- was in the air, and Baez responded by delivering the album Diamonds and Rust which was a step well away from her folkie image.
But the spirit of her former lover Bob Dylan was also a shadow cast across: Winds of the Old Days ("those eloquent songs from the good old days set us to marching with banners ablaze") was written as a response to hearing that Bob and the Band were going on the road, and the title track sounded very like a lightly coded letter after a phone call and then remembering, remembering . . .
The strangest song however was her treatment of Dylan's Simple Twist of fate from the album Blood on the Tracks which had just been released.
At first it sounds like a jazzy take where the band do all that you might expect, but just after the midpoint and the guitar solo by Larry Carlton and Dean Parks something weird happens, Baez suddenly adopts Dylan's drawling style in the manner of parody almost.
But the weirdest thing of all is she sounds just like . . . Patti Smith.
For more one-off or unusual songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.