Your are here | SCJ Blogs
March 19, 2019
Supreme Court Jesters Blogs Minimize

Joan Baez 75 Birthday Party

Feb 12 2018

I love Spotify, the internet app that provides free music (if you don't mind the ads). Virtually every album is available, and I've had a blast searching various artists I've enjoyed over the years. Most recently, I discovered Joan Baez 75th Birthday Party album, and I've been listening to it when I work on my juggling.

This is classic Joan Baez, as she covers songs by a variety of the 1960s folk music crowd, including Phil Ochs' "There but for Fortune"' Donovan's "Catch the Wind" and Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right". Never a prolific song writer, the only original composition on the album is "Diamonds and Rust", which is done as a duet with Judy Collins.

And the concert is a who's who of folk / folk-rock musicians. Joining Joan on stage are David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Emmy Lou Harris, the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter, to name a few. A favorite of mine is actually a trio of Emmy Lou Harris, Jackson Browne and Joan singing Woody Guthrie's "Deportees". As Timely now as when it was written in the early 1950s.

But the best duets on the album are when Gospel singer Mavis Staples joins Joan for "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around" and "Oh, Freedom". Neither of these living legends have lost anything vocally, and they played well off of each other. Mavis even scatted a bit. They were clearly having a great time.

The finale, before Joan's two encores, was a duet of "The Boxer" with Paul Simon, complete with a new verse about how quickly the time has passed. But my favorite cut is actually the opening song, which Baez does solo. It's a song by Steve Earle called "God is God". Joan, a long time Quaker, has always recorded songs with spiritual lyrics such as "Oh Happy Day" and "Blessed Are". But "God is God" is just so poignant. While certain lines are a little too Universalist for my taste (God, in my little understanding, don't care what name I call. Whether or not I believe doesn't matter at all) the overall theme is better than much of what is played on exclusively Christian radio stations. For example: "And as our fate unfurls, Every day that passes I'm sure about a little bit less. Even my money keeps telling me it's God I need to trust. And I believe in God, but God ain't us."

The humility of these lyrics is so refreshing. I also find this an interesting choice as an opening number on an album that packed So much history and celebrity into 19 songs. I suppose turning 75 gets people thinking about the big things; what's really important. At 25 it's easy to think about how we're going to change the world- and Joan Baez is one of the rare ones who actually did change the world as she sang with Dr. King and was involved in other activism over many, many years - but at 75 it makes sense that our thoughts turn more to the spiritual and eternal.

"I believe in prophecy.
Some folks see things not everybody can see.
And, once in a while, they pass the secret along to you and me.
And I believe in miracles.
Something sacred burning in every bush and tree.
We can all learn to sing the songs the angels sing.
Yeah, I believe in God, and God ain't me."

A Few Testimonies Minimize


The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

Archive Minimize

Tag Cloud Minimize