Joan Baez – Diamond & Rust (1975)

Artist Credit
Joan Baez Composer, Guitar, Primary Artist, Producer, Vocals
Max Bennett Bass
Dickey Betts Composer
Jackson Browne Composer
Larry Carlton Guest Artist
Rik Davis Producer
Bob Dylan Composer
Wilton Felder Guest Artist
John Guerin Drums
Hampton Hawes Guest Artist, Keyboards
Jim Horn Saxophone
Janis Ian Composer
David Kershenbaum Producer
Larry Knechtel Guest Artist
Rick Lotempio Guitar
Rob Martens Engineer, Post Production
Joni Mitchell Guest Artist
Ollie Mitchell Trumpet
Buck Monari Trumpet
David Paich Keyboards
John Prine Composer
Jamie Putnam Design
Red Rhodes Guitar (Steel)
Joe Sample Guest Artist
Tom Scott Guest Artist
Ellis Sorkin Assistant Engineer
Will Spencer Assistant Engineer
Stevie Wonder Composer
Syreeta Wright Composer

With the Vietnam War winding down, Joan Baez, who had devoted one side of her last album to her trip to Hanoi, delivered the kind of commercial album A&M Records must have wanted when it signed her three years earlier. But she did it on her own terms, putting together a session band of contemporary jazz veterans like Larry Carlton, Wilton Felder, and Joe Sample, and mixing a wise selection from the work of current singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne and John Prine with pop covers of Stevie Wonder and the Allman Brothers Band, and an unusually high complement of her own writing. A&M, no doubt recalling the success of her cover of the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” released her version of the Allmans’ “Blue Sky” as a single, and it got halfway up the charts. But the real hit was the title track, a self-penned masterpiece on the singer’s favorite subject, her relationship with Bob Dylan. Outdoing the current crop of confessional singer/songwriters at soul baring, Baez sang to Dylan, reminiscing about her ’60s love affair with him intensely, affectionately, and unsentimentally. It was her finest moment as a songwriter and one of her finest performances, period, and when A&M finally released it on 45, it made the Top 40, propelling the album to gold status. But those who bought the disc for “Diamonds & Rust” also got to hear “Winds of the Old Days,” in which Baez forgave Dylan for abandoning the protest movement, as well as the jazzy “Children and All That Jazz,” a delightful song about motherhood, and the wordless vocals of “Dida,” a duet with Joni Mitchell accompanied by Mitchell’s backup band, Tom Scott and the L.A. Express. The cover songs were typically accomplished, making this the strongest album of Baez’s post-folk career.

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