American folk pioneer Joan Baez lends her beautiful and distinctive voice to 11 tracks on this live album, which features "Diamonds And Dust" and "Boxer."
Not the greatest Joan Baez live album of them all, but a worthy souvenir of her 1980 European tour regardless. The problem lies in her choice of material -- neither Paul Simon's "The Boxer" nor the ever-grating "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" rank among songs that cried out for Baez to re-create them, although the audience sounds enthusiastic throughout, and the version of "Diamonds & Rust" is one of the most powerful she has ever released. But too much of the set sounds weary, and though Baez's voice is as powerful as ever, even she seems to be tiring of some of the songs. Where this album becomes most interesting is in attempting to compile the various different permutations released across Europe. In the U.K., eleven songs included exclusive versions of "Donna Donna" and "Jari Yahamouda." The 12-track French edition included "Pauvre Ruteboeuf," "Le Deserteur" and "Plaisir D'Amour," the German release substituted "For Sasha" and "Kinder (Sind So Kleine Hande)," and the Spanish featured "Maria Dolores," "No Nos Moveran" and "El Rossinyol." All add up to very different experiences for the listener, but still, if you seek just one Baez live album, this one -- whatever permutation you locate -- probably isn't the one you want. ~ Dave Thompson