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Sunday, February 19, 2017

And A Voice to Sing With: A Memoir by Joan Baez

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Official Book Summary:

The perfect time for a reissue: In October 2009, PBS will air a ninety-minute primetime special on Joan Baez as part of the Emmy Award-winning American Masters series. Told often from Baez's perspective, but supported by a rich performance and historical archive, the documentary centers on her career as a musician, power as an artist, those who influenced her, and those she championed. She will also be on a 27-city U.S. tour starting July 2009 . . . A musical force and a catalyst for social change: At the age of eighteen Baez was an international star with a Time magazine cover story; fifty years later she has thirty-three albums to her credit. She also marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., was jailed for supporting the draft resistance, and sang in the first Amnesty International tour. An extraordinary woman who has led an eventful life, Baez's memoir is as honest, unpretentious, and courageous as she is.

Joan Baez has been a long time fascination to me. I discovered Baez through Bob Dylan. Of course, I craved to know more about a woman who meant so much to my most very favorite, dear and special musician.

I soon was captivated by her voice; soprano, lucid and unlike any other musician that I know of. Through online research, I learned quite a bit about her. I had always admired her passions; especially for her campaigns for human justice. Throughout the years, I've followed her on social media and watched her 75th birthday celebration on PBS. I've been a fan at this point now for quite a few years. 

Somehow until a few days before buying this, I was unaware that she had written an auto-biography! I was stunned. I knew I immediately needed to read it. 

Baez’s voice in this memoir is raw. There’s no self-editing; she’s honest about her flaws, her insecurities and doesn’t try to paint her life as a beautiful photo without smudging. 

She’s honest not only about herself, but others. I was fascinated by so much of it. She talks about Dylan’s issues (for instance) and the issues within her own family. She is brutally, — yet gently — honest. I think it may be one of the rawest and honest auto-biographies that I’ve read.

I admire how she hadn’t tried to filter herself or her story. She speaks of her childhood until her age at writing the novel. It fascinated me. She has one of those writing tones that make you feel as if you're  there with  her. 

You’re singing on-stage with her; you’re marching for human’s rights! You're performing on-stage with thousands of fans; you're trying to survive a bombing in Vietnam! Baez's emotions fall out of every word. It's without question that Baez possess a magnitude of many deep emotions for everything; it radiates out of not only her writing, but her life story. F

rom the rich illustrations of her eclectic wardrobe to the sweet sentiments of her son; it's absolutely lovely. 

While I do admit that the novel can seem almost long-winded at times. That's mostly why I rate this as a four star book. It just seemed at times so long-winded that it was hard to continue on. 

Despite that, I was captivated for majority of the book. It was easily one of the best memoirs that I’ve read.Then again, I suppose I shouldn’t think anything less than a brilliant book when it comes to Joan Baez. If you have any interest in folk, the sixties and or seventies, or a deep love of Dylan (such as myself): I cannot recommend this enough! 

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