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Joan Baez: Diamonds and Rust

Tom Nolan, Rolling Stone, 31 July 1975

LISTENING to this Joan Baez album – her first self-declaredly apolitical, decidedly commercial album since the days of folk rock – it is possible to point out awkward metaphors and to spot lines that don't scan smoothly; the title tune, addressed to a past lover who suddenly telephones, even contains the line "My poetry was lousy, you said." And there will be those so put off by Baez "daring" to put her voice to the service of tunes written by the likes of Jackson Browne ('Fountain of Sorrow') and the recent Dylan ('Simple Twist of Fate') that they will remain closed to the power of this record. But if spirit and strength and beauty are not screened out by one or another form of snobbery, what comes through is consistently moving and often gorgeous.

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