Tuesday, March 22, 2011

JDIZZY's 365 # 316: Winds Of The Old Days

Winds Of The Old Days - Joan Baez (1975)

No one sings Bob Dylan (besides the bard himself) better than Joanie.

It also appears no one writes about him as well.

On her 1975 classic Diamonds And Rust, she presents us with two classic tracks about the voice of a generation. The better known of the two is the title track. It is Baez in "exorcising the demons" mode. Recorded on the edge of her infamous reunion with Dylan on The Rolling Thunder Revue Tour, she describes how much she loved and hated Dylan at the same time. The anger in the song has resonated through the years, with a metal cover performed by Judas Priest. The tender side of the song was picked up on by Richie Blackmore for his Blackmore's Night project.

Still, the tune about Dylan I've loved above all others comes on the second side of the original vinyl disc. It has never been famously covered or heralded. It's basically overlooked in the power of the former's glow. Yet "Winds Of the Old Days" let's you know just how much Joan Baez cares for Bob Dylan in under four minutes. It is a beautiful tribute to a tempestuous talent that is ripe for rediscovery, as is much of Baez's recorded output. From olde English ballads to modern masters, she is the consummate interpreter of song.

But here, on her own composition, we see her as Bob once saw her when he pinned "Visions Of Johanna". This is life affirming music that should not be overlooked any longer.


  1. "Now you're telling me you're not nostalgic? Give me another word for it; you who are so good with words, and at keeping things vague."

    I've never overlooked this song, and have always felt it was her public message to Bob, while Diamonds & Rust was the private version of things.
    If I have a criticism of this song, it's that it comes over a little slickly over-produced -- where the same could be said for Diamonds & Rust, the lyrics are much more personal, which I think makes up for the over-production (and why it lends itself so much more to covers than Winds of the Old Days -- find a girl who can't personally identify with D&R -- I still almost cry playing it at home).

  2. "Cause Idols are best when they're made of stone/ Savior's a nuisance to live with at home/ Stars often fall, heroes go unsung/ And martyr's most certainly die too young."
    It really is hard to pick between the two but that couplet, as well as the "you're a savage gift on a wayward bus" brings tears to my eyes. Maybe it's because its almost a platonic love song to Dylan, which makes me feel like I could have written it. I love that we are all writing blogs. 21st century mix tapes........ although it would be incredible to do it in person again!