This compilation covers the ten years that Joan spent recording for Vanguard. She had some success after she left, but the Vanguard recordings remain the most important of her career.
She occasionally wrote her own songs (represented here by Sweet Sir Galahad) but mostly she recorded the songs of others. Her biggest influence was Bob Dylan, who wrote six of the songs here. Apparently, Bob never recorded Love is just a four letter word, but it is a lovely song. I first heard With God on our side by Manfred Mann, a sixties group who also recorded several Bob Dylan songs. Many people have recorded Don’t think twice it’s all right, including Johnny Cash – another singer who has made several raids on the Bob Dylan songbook. You ain’t going nowhere, Farewell Angelina and A hard rain’s gonna fall are his other songs here.
Other covers by Joan here include There but for fortune (Phil Ochs), No expectations (Rolling stones), Turquoise (Donovan) and the often covered If I were a carpenter. There are also some traditional folk songs – Mary Hamilton, Geordie and Te ador – so old that their writers are unknown.
Joan recorded so many great songs that eighteen tracks cannot possibly include everything worth having, but this is a good sampling of Joan’s music. If you only want one of Joan’s albums, this is a good one to choose.