60 songs, 22 (!) previously unreleased-including duets with Dylan, the Dead, Kris Kristofferson, Donovan, Judy Collins and sister Mimi Farina, etc.-together with a 32-page full-color book packed with interviews and rare pix! From We Shall Overcome through The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down to Diamonds and Rust , her complete career. This is a big ol' box of Baez; certainly more than any casual fan would need. The hits are here ("Diamonds and Rust," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"), along with a treasure trove of rare duets (with Kris Kristofferson, Bob Gibson, Donovan, and others) and previously unreleased tracks (including a giddy 1965 concert duet with Bob Dylan on his "Mama, You Been on My Mind"). The depth and breadth of Baez's work–from her early traditional bent ("Silver Dagger") to her fine choices from contemporary writers (Merle Haggard, John Prine)–is well-represented. The striking beauty of her voice is, too.
Songwriter Joe Henry has recorded five albums in the 21st century; he’s also become a Grammy-winning producer. These more recent records (of 12) offer a mature view of an artist at his most musically ambitious and lyrically cagey. Reverie, as its title implies, contains 14 songs that seemingly center on the concept of time: the random glinting of memory as it perceives love, loss, spirituality, history, and culture refracted through the gaze of the human heart. Musically, it feels like the loosest album Henry’s ever recorded; its production techniques are organic, live sessions were cut in his home studio with the windows open, allowing the sounds of everyday life–barking dogs, mothers calling children, cars and trucks– to pour through, making them part and parcel of the album's fabric. Henry's lyrics and melodies do, however, contrarily reveal an exacting craftsman. He and his guitar are accompanied by longtime associates, drummer Jay Bellerose, pianist Keefus Ciancia, and bassist David Piltch, with cameos by Patrick Warren, Marc Ribot, Jean McLain, and Lisa Hannigan. His lyrics – scattershot, mercurial expressions of memory – are caught in exacting rhymes that reflect on the power, delight, and torment of desire (he admits as much at the end of his liner essay). The musical forms are more rhythmically inventive and slippery; they serve his ephemeral, evocative lyrics by opening them up to time’s uncageable nature.
This soundtrack to the movie features an astonishing array of blues artists from three generations. Recorded during one long night at NYC's Radio City Music Hall on Feb. 7, 2003, the electricity is in the air and on stage. While it may not have been the finest blues show in history, the collection of founding fathers such as David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Buddy Guy, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Larry Johnson, Hubert Sumlin, Solomon Burke, and the ubiquitous B.B. King along with their spiritual offspring (Gregg Allman, John Fogerty, and Steven Tyler) and some usual suspects like Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, and Keb' Mo', makes it arguably the most significant blues session ever captured on film. Beginning acoustic, the double disc builds momentum and volume as we hear the blues mutate to electric and finally hip-hop with Chuck D. exploding on a rap version of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom".