This might be a live album, but it's not much different from Baez's studio albums.
There's not much to be done in the studio with folk music anyway, and this live album has about the same sonic quality. Baez doesn't sing any of her earlier studio numbers, so this was obviously meant as a ploy to keep her out of the studio! There's just some odd applause in the background, and some annoying sing-a-longs. Granted, the audience performances are much less annoying than The Greenbriar Boys, and don't think I'm not appreciating that
Oh, and by every account, this live album is one big hunk of good news. Yes indeed, this album is actually tolerable - Baez having recovered from the sludge pile that was Joan Baez Vol. 2
and actually recorded a handful of decent songs! Yeah it's boring, but this is folk music - it's supposed to be boring! But this is non-offensive, and that's all I ask.
One of the side-effects of being boring is the intrinsic inability to be innovative - Baez is still doing the same old same old. There's no way this is more interesting than her debut, and that just makes reviewing these Baez albums more taxing.
The first three songs are easily the best, and the rest of the album you can pretty much just write off. The opening track provides the only historical interest most music fans would place in Joan Baez - "Babe I'm Going to Leave You" was later covered by Led Zeppelin. They heard Baez's version and thought they could make it nice! "Geordie" is the highlight of the album - an English folk song, it has a beautiful melody, and Baez delivers a wonderful and frank vocal performance. "Black Kettle" is also an excellent cover, notable for also appearing on a Bob Dylan album, and one of the album's highlights.
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews