Joan Baez - Bowery Songs

This section is for all other music-related topics
User avatar
lightning
Posts: 1352
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2002 4:54 am
Location: New York City
Contact:

Post by lightning » Wed Sep 28, 2005 6:52 pm

I guess it was the Protest Bob that history will remember the most. He was the beau of Suze Rotolo, also still kicking and looking good. She was daugther of a family of left wing activists and when he broke with her he also renounced protest. (She just kind of wasted his precious time). Some of his most memorable songs, e.g. Masters of War, Blowing in the Wind, With God on our Side, etc.come from that period. I can see how an artist might resent being used by the left as a spokesman for its causes but it's hard to understand how someone with his insight and compassion wouldn't take up these causes too. Bob Marley didn't mind being used by the Rastafarian movement as spokesman and popularizer and wrote some fine songs for them.
If the documentary were to continue beyond this period it would be less interesting, and its star would seem less heroic.
jurica
Posts: 626
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2002 2:31 pm
Location: Croatia

Post by jurica » Wed Sep 28, 2005 7:26 pm

i'm not sure i agree. "most memorable songs"?
well, both his greatest hits, and my personal favorites all are from his later period.
he wasn't even the best protest singer IMHO (i prefer Phil Ochs).

he may not seem as heroic as he does in the documentary (which i haven't seen yer) if the story went on, but he needn't be a hero to be a great artist.

the way i see it, he simply outgrew protest. as for Baez, i'm afraid she never 'sold herself' not because she belives her strong standpoint will inspire any change in the society, but because it would prove her wrong, and all of her former life would seem like a waste. Dylan didn't feel that way. i think he was more true to himself than Baez.

i'm sorry if i'm offending anybody with this oppinion. it's just what i think right now, i'm not into proving anybody wrong or anything. if Baez feels comfortable in her ever-protesting act, i've got nothing against it.
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Post by lizzytysh » Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:23 pm

as for Baez, i'm afraid she never 'sold herself' not because she belives her strong standpoint will inspire any change in the society, but because it would prove her wrong, and all of her former life would seem like a waste.
Hi Jurica ~

It's not that you're "offending," but on what do you base your, above feelings/belief/conclusion? What is it that makes you think that Joan is disengenuous in what she does and has done? What is it that makes you believe that if someone older [who protested war when they were younger], and are continuing to do so [now that they are older], are doing it simply because they have 'failed' to outgrow something that they 'should' have. Must we alter or abandon some of our most basic, core beliefs in order to be consider having 'matured' or being 'true to ourselves'? It sounds as though you are using Bob's path in life as the measure for what she has [and, perhaps, others have] done with hers. Has she been 'wrong' all this time to not have accepted that young, innocent beings should die for the acquisitional greed, and desire for power and control, that people far 'above' them in the social structure, who risk not their lives or loss of limb or wealth, desire to use them? [If you speak of the choice that soldiers have had to join/not join, I invite you to examine the disparity between what is promised them, and what many actually receive, and the outcomes of their lives ~ and lack of services, once they serve their time.] Do you feel her ideas were not valid enough to have held initially, and to have remained a cornerstone of her life?

I'm very curious on all of this. Thanks.

~ Lizzy
User avatar
lightning
Posts: 1352
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2002 4:54 am
Location: New York City
Contact:

Baez' sincerity

Post by lightning » Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:30 pm

My sister was a highschool friend of Ronnie Moffet, the young woman who was killed in a car explosion with Chilean ambassador Orlando Le Telier for whom she worked as a secretary. She told me Joan sent roses and condolences to the family, totally off camera and out of the newspapers. Bob didn't. Who would even expect him to? Joan's protest and concern for others involved in political events went way beyond her career. Despite what Al Capp called her in his satirical cartoon, Joanie was no phoney.
On the other hand, Phil Ochs, your favorite, whom I had in my apartment during his drunken debauched pre-suicide phase, had gone back on everything he ever stood for. Send this jerk to Iraq if he were alive.
User avatar
margaret
Posts: 1855
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:21 am
Location: UK

Post by margaret » Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:51 pm

I really admire Joan for not having "sold out" and moved on to think entirely of furthering her own career. There is nothing to be proud of if someone "grows out of " an idealistic attitude to social concerns. Idealism is not a fault, whether one is young or old, certainly not something we should want to grow out of.

As much as I admire Bob's work, I don't think he was ever very commited to the protest movement, but found it a convenient bandwagon to jump on at the early stage of his career. He was shrewd enough to realise the potential exposure it could give him to huge audiences. He wanted to be a successful performer. Maybe he had a certain sympathy, but not strong enough to be some kind of political spokesman for a whole generation.
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Post by lizzytysh » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:12 pm

The description you've given on Joan, Lightning, is the person I would expect to see, and the one I see in the eyes and voice in the film last night ~ and in the photos I've seen with Cindy. She seems to have been immersed in her beliefs throughout her life, and to have been a person who has truly lived her 'cause' of human rights.

I agree totally with what you've said in your first paragraph, Margaret, including Joan not having scrapped her beliefs in the interest of furthering her career. She still has ardent followers, just as Bob and Leonard do. Yet, she has remained who she initially was, someone standing up and fighting for her beliefs. As it was shown in the film last night, when Bob was with the others partying [the Beatles included], she was off to the side and/or in her room. She was much more of a serious person.

As I watched the film, I considered that, perhaps, he may have 'used' the 'protest platforms' for the furthering of his career, but I couldn't get a clear sense of this. He definitely moved away from it, but I don't feel that he was disingenuous in the songs that he wrote, either. And, I don't believe that those lyrics came out of nowhere. It seemed that, perhaps, the pressure of taking on a 'spokesperson' position was maybe too overwhelming. It seemed he may have been too 'shy' to feel comfortable in public speaking and preferred to do his speaking through the content of his songs.

I didn't get the sense that he jumped on a bandwagon. It seemed that he didn't really know the bandwagon was one, until after fame was thrust upon him. It was Joan who pushed him onto the stage [as Judy Collins did Leonard] after the heartfelt songs were already written. I don't know. Perhaps, he became disenchanted with the lack of change and felt powerless beneath it all? Like the war machine and the political climate were going to continue no matter what he did? Perhaps, all these possibilities are wrong, too.

Does anyone know what some of his specific answers have been as to why he 'discontinued' in the protest, anti-war mode?
Maybe he had a certain sympathy, but not strong enough to be some kind of political spokesman for a whole generation.
Hasn't he previously disagreed with the 'notion' of his having been this to begin with? Uncomfortable with being perceived in this way [as the spokesperson for a whole generation, period?] He definitely didn't come across in the film as being very committed to the 'cause' ~ but, like I said, do we judge his filmed actions, or perceive him through his words?
User avatar
lightning
Posts: 1352
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2002 4:54 am
Location: New York City
Contact:

why Dylan left protest

Post by lightning » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:31 pm

Dylan has told us that he didn't want to be used by the left as their mouthpiece. He was an artist and didn't want to confine his work to giving the party line.He felt topical songs wouldn't last longer than the issues they described. In some biography I read he performed at an anti-war rally and was not well received . His leaving protest coincided with his break up with Suze Rotolo who was from a family of Greenwich Village left wing activists. Whenever anyone tries to pigeonhole Dylan he has to break out of it by inventing a new self.
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Post by lizzytysh » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:45 pm

You're right, Lightning. I do remember that quote. Not wanting to be used is legitimate. However, it doesn't preclude your doing something on your own, if it's something you believe in. The coiciding with his and Suze's break-up sounds 'almost' like a reversal of the girlfriend-goes-along-with-boyfriend scenario. So, reinventing oneself [a personal concern] must have been of greater importance to him than rallying against the war [a social concern]. It's ironic that that's ["Protest Bob"] what he may go down in musical history for.

Interesting info on Phil Ochs.

Jurica ~ As you know, there also are "environmentalists" who live their entire lives according to, and promoting, the principles related to saving the earth, and its 'animals' [including mammals, birds, etc.] from the ravages of man.
User avatar
margaret
Posts: 1855
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:21 am
Location: UK

Post by margaret » Wed Sep 28, 2005 10:24 pm

It was Joan who pushed him onto the stage [as Judy Collins did Leonard] after the heartfelt songs were already written.
I'm not so sure that he needed Joan to push him onto a stage. He was travelling around and performing way before he met Joan Baez.

There is a biography I read a year or 2 ago which was interesting. I think it was titled Down the Highway, by Howard Sounes. Can't check right now as I just loaned it to my boss!
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Post by lizzytysh » Wed Sep 28, 2005 10:47 pm

True, Margaret, which for me lends to his sincerity in the content of his songs. However, it seems that with Joan's already being well known, that this was a gesture on her part to get him better known. Of course, it may have been prompted by his expressing in some way his desire to be better known, and her 'in love' follow-up to try to help achieve that end...and her own, subsequent disappoint in his not returning the favour. I need to watch that film over again ~ I can see that already :lol: . We can call it "The Motives Search" :wink: .
User avatar
Kush
Posts: 3012
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2002 1:21 am
Location: USA

Post by Kush » Thu Sep 29, 2005 4:16 am

This is what Dylan wrote about JB in his recent autobiography.....he may harbor some guilty feelings...in his recent live releases he's been consistently including her duet recordings with him.

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/commentary ... 0_,00.html
''The Queen of the Folksingers,' that would have to be Joan Baez... The sight of her made me high. All that and then there was her voice. A voice that drove out bad spirits. It was like she'd come down from another planet.''
User avatar
lightning
Posts: 1352
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2002 4:54 am
Location: New York City
Contact:

Post by lightning » Thu Sep 29, 2005 5:30 am

"Won't you come see me Queen Jane?"
"And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind..."
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Post by lizzytysh » Thu Sep 29, 2005 7:31 am

Yes, even in the film's interview, he seemed to allude to the guilt and the decisions he made regarding her during that time. When he spoke of love and wisdom not going together, I wasn't so sure he meant her wisdom was compromised, but perhaps rather his own.
jurica
Posts: 626
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2002 2:31 pm
Location: Croatia

Post by jurica » Thu Sep 29, 2005 1:45 pm

i don't think singing protest songs did much regarding stopping the war or anything else for that matter. in the words of "Croatian Cohen", 'important decisions are made by other professions, we are just here to document and remember'.

that's why i think people usualy grow out of this form of rebelion. they simply see it as pointless. never has a song started or ended a war. it mostly serves only as a "soundtrack" to those who are either already against the war (and they listen to Baez/Dylan/Ochs songs) or for the war (and they listen to war marches).

regarding the 60s and hippies, i think they were a poor opposition to mainstream American politics. people would look at them, with their LSD, colorful fashion, open relationships and paranoid hate towards "grown ups", and they'd feel threatened more by them and the way of life they are advertising, than the war itself. not very subtile and productive way of protesting. besides, i think that 90% of kids out there protesting where there for music, drugs and sex, and couldn't care less for what the lyrics were saying. i wasn't there ofcourse, so that's just the impression i get when i see videos of that time...

anyway, the fact is that protest singers did little or no good, and i think Dylan realised that sooner then some of the others did. our dearest Cohen was somewhere along the lines with Dylan in that regard also. it was never their responsibility to save the world in the first place. the world can be saved only if most people work in that direction. Joan Baez alone will do no good. and if the rest of the world doesn't want to save it - it would be simply undemocratic to save it :-)
User avatar
Ali
Posts: 372
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:29 am
Location: Bristol UK
Contact:

Post by Ali » Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:01 pm

Jurica, the quote Q. "What are you protesting against?" A. "What have you got?" Sums up pretty much what you are saying.
Post Reply

Return to “Other music”