Joan Baez (album)

Joan Baez is the debut album by folk singer Joan Baez. The album was recorded in the summer of 1960 and released the same year. The original release featured 13 traditional folk songs. Later reissues included three additional songs.[1][2]

Joan Baez
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1960
RecordedManhattan Towers Hotel Ballroom, New York City, July 1960
LabelVanguard VSD-2077
ProducerMaynard Solomon
Joan Baez chronology
Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square
Joan Baez
Joan Baez, Vol. 2

In 2015, the album was selected for induction into National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress for special recognition and preservation as one of the sound recordings in over 130 years of recording history that has "cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation's audio legacy".[3][4]


Baez came to prominence during the Folk Music Revival in the late 1950s, particularly in the first Newport Folk Festival in July 1959. A number of companies tried to sign her after her performance at the music festival, including Columbia, but she chose to go instead with the small independent label, Vanguard.[5] Baez recorded the album for the label in the summer of 1960, when she was 19.[6]

Most of the songs featured only Baez' vocals and guitar, with a second guitar (played by Fred Hellerman, of The Weavers), added to some songs. The album went gold, although it did not make the Billboard 200 chart until 1962, following the success of her second album, Joan Baez, Vol. 2. Joan Baez peaked at number 15 and spent 140 weeks on the chart.

In 1983 Baez described the making of the album to Rolling Stone's Kurt Loder:

It took four nights. We were in some big, smelly ballroom at a hotel on Broadway, way up by the river. We couldn't record on Wednesday nights because they played bingo there. I would be down there on this dirty old rug with two microphones, one for the voice and one for the guitar. I just did my set; it was probably all I knew. Just put 'em down. I did "Mary Hamilton" once, that was it. That's the way we made 'em in the old days. As long as a dog didn't run through the room or something, you had it.[7]

In 2001, Vanguard reissued Joan Baez with new liner notes and three previously unreleased songs.[6] (Between 2001 and 2005, they reissued remastered versions of Baez' 13 original albums with the label.)

In 2014, Waxtime Records reissued Joan Baez with new liner notes and only two bonus tracks from earlier Baez sessions that were originally released in 1959 on the compilation LP Folksingers' Round Harvard Square.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [8]

In his Allmusic review, music critic Bruce Eder gave the album five out of five stars, commenting that the purity of the sound was notable at the time. He wrote of the album "Baez gives a fine account of the most reserved and least confrontational aspects of the folk revival, presenting a brace of traditional songs (most notably "East Virginia" and "Mary Hamilton") with an urgency and sincerity that makes the listener feel as though they were being sung for the first time".[8]


The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[9]

In 2015, the album was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry.[3]

Track listingEdit

1."Silver Dagger"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez2:32
2."East Virginia"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez3:44
3."Fare Thee Well (10,000 Miles)"Traditional, arr. David Gude3:22
4."House of the Rising Sun"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez2:56
5."All My Trials"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez4:41
6."Wildwood Flower"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez2:37
7."Donna Donna"Sholom Secunda, Aaron Zeitlin, Arthur Kevess, Teddi Schwartz3:15
8."John Riley"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez3:54
9."Rake and Rambling Boy"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez1:59
10."Little Moses"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez3:31
11."Mary Hamilton"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez5:58
12."Henry Martin"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez4:15
13."El Preso Número Nueve"Roberto Cantoral2:48
Reissue bonus tracks
14."Girl of Constant Sorrow"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez1:46
15."I Know You Rider"Traditional, arr. Joan Baez3:46
16."John Riley" (extended version)Traditional, arr. Joan Baez4:23

Charts and certificationsEdit


  1. ^ Perone, James E. (October 17, 2012). The Album: A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations. Praeger. ISBN 978-0313379062.
  2. ^ Rodnitzky, Jerome (2013). "Joan Baez: The Classic 1960s Folk Heroine". In Plasketes, George (ed.). Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself: Essays on Debut Albums. Ashgate. ISBN 978-1409441762.
  3. ^ a b "New Entries to National Recording Registry | News Releases". Library of Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  4. ^ Lewis, Randy (March 25, 2015). "Library of Congress welcomes recordings by the Doors, Righteous Brothers". The Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Jaeger, Markus (2010). Popular Is Not Enough: The Political Voice Of Joan Baez: A Case Study in the Biographical Method. Ibidem Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 9783838261065.
  6. ^ a b Moon, Tom (2008). 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Workman Publishing Company. p. 39. ISBN 978-0761139638.
  7. ^ Loder, Kurt (April 14, 1983). "Joan Baez: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Joan Baez > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  9. ^ ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  10. ^ " – Top 100 Longplay". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  11. ^ "Joan Baez | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  12. ^ "Joan Baez Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  13. ^ "British album certifications – Joan Baez – Joan Baez". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Joan Baez in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  14. ^ "American album certifications – Joan Baez – Joan Baez". Recording Industry Association of America.