Thursday, August 18, 2011

Answer Me

"Well you burst on the scene already a legend,
The unwashed phenomenon, the original vagabond,
You strayed into my arms, and there you stayed,
Temporarily lost at sea, the Madonna was yours for free..."

That's from the beautiful Diamonds And Rust, in which we find Joan Baez reminiscing about her time together with then lover and occasional duet partner Bob Dylan in the folky sixties.

"We grew up together from the cradle to the grave,
We died and were reborn and then mysteriously saved..."

Dylan's impressive Oh, Sister is often seen as an answer song of sorts to Diamonds And Rust. You can find a cool pre-album version below, from the 1975 tv special The World Of John Hammond. The dedication at the start ('... to someone out there watching tonight I know, she knows who she is...') is in all probability meant for his old flame Joany, who'd soon accompany him on that legendary 'Dharma Carnival' called the Rolling Thunder Revue.

"And I've known you for a good long while,
And would you kindly tell me, mister...
How in the name of the Father and the Son,
Did I come to be your sister?"

What I didn't know until recently was that Baez a year or so later responded to Dylan's answer song with a country-tinged ditty called Oh Brother! The man with 'eyes bluer than robin's eggs' declined to get back to her after that, at least in song, and a close listen to the rather put-downish lyrics will probably make you see why.

Joan Baez - Diamonds And Rust MP3
Bob Dylan - Oh, Sister (World Of John Hammond version) MP3
Joan Baez - Oh Brother! MP3

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