Joan Baez – Joan Baez in Concert

More Pure Folk Recordings

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Joan Baez

  • Joan’s live release from 1962 makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • We just did a big shootout for this album, compiled from different shows Baez performed in 1962, and we’re pleased to report that the sound was SUPERB on both sides of this early stereo Vanguard pressing
  • So transparent, open, and spacious – nuances and subtleties that may have gone unnoticed are now revealed as never before
  • 4 stars: “In Concert, Pt. 1 captures the undisputed queen of folk music at the onset of her fabled career… The exhaustive selection of material represents her diverse influences… Baez’s performances still retain freshness and vitality after four [make that five] decades.”

Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These Vanguard pressings are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.

This vintage stereo pressing has the kind of Midrange Magic that modern records barely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it ain’t coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the audience, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage All Tube Analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of Joan Baez In Concert have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1962
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the venue

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on Joan Baez In Concert

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
Geordie
Copper Kettle
Kumbaya
What Have They Done to the Rain
Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair
Danger Waters (Hold Me Tight)

Side Two

Gospel Ship (When We’re Traveling Through the Air)
The House Carpenter
Pretty Boy Floyd
Lady Mary
Ate Amanha
Matty Groves

AMG 4 Star Review

Originally released in 1962, In Concert, Pt. 1 captures the undisputed queen of folk music at the onset of her fabled career… Though Baez was reportedly suffering from stage fright at the time of these recordings, which were cobbled from the fall of 1961 to the spring of 1962, her delivery is crystal clear and confident. The exhaustive selection of material represents her diverse influences, most notably African tradition (“Kumbaya”), gospel (“Gospel Ship”), negro spiritual (“My Lord What a Morning”), West African (“Danger Waters”), Brazilian (“Ate Amanha,” which is sung in Portuguese), and blues (“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”), Baez’s performances still retain freshness and vitality after four decades.

Cisco Gets It Backwards As Usual

Cisco reissued the record more than a decade ago. They wrote:

Released in 1962 and following closely on the heels of her second self-titled debut LP, Joan Baez In Concert was living proof that the greatest folk singer in the world was also a charismatic performer. A source of repertoire for performers world-wide (perhaps even Led Zeppelin) Joan Baez In Concert is one of the 60’s most essential albums.

Those familiar with records such as Reunion at Carnegie Hall by the Weavers and Belafonte at Carnegie Hall will find this record is in the same sonic class. Cut from the original master tape, Cisco’s new pressing reveals the clarity and delicate ambient cues that original pressings only suggested. The listening seat is front-row center. Whether you are a dedicated Joan Baez fan or simply want to bask in the glow of a live performance happening between your speakers, the Cisco reissue of Joan Baez In Concert should be on your short list of must-have LPs.

Cisco Records

Of course the writer has it exactly backwards — it’s the original that has the “clarity and delicate ambient clues” that are missing from the Heavy Vinyl reissue, not the other way around.

 

Leave a Reply