AND A VOICE TO SING WITH: A Memoir by Joan Baez


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The 60's folk singer tells her story. Baez's narrative alternates between fairly candid views of her emotional life, including her much-publicized lesbian affair, and hearty self-praise: ""It was said that I made the [concert stadiums] seem like living rooms and everyone there a personal guest."" About other performers she is less generous: there is a paragraph ridiculing Ginger Rogers, who, in a dance number, ""bent over and thrust the fur between her well-spread and firmly planted. . .legs and then slowly rose, dragging the long fur back between her coyly squeezed-together thighs."" About her political beliefs, Baez is straightforward--including her decision not to pay 60% of her income tax during the Vietnam War because that ratio was spent on the military budget. Her account of singing many verses of ""We Shall Overcome"" over the phone to Mr. and Mrs. Andrei Sakharov is entertaining, and her many reports of international concert triumphs, although they seem self-serving, are no doubt correct. More questionable, however, is Baez's confidence that she is ""timeless in the world of music,"" and that the African famine concert is directly related to the Wood-stock generation. That era seems dead and gone; Baez's confrere Bob Dylan knew as much when he sang that the ""Times they are a-Changing."" More jingle than ballad, but catchy all the same.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1987
Publisher: Summit/Simon & Schuster