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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 16 November 2002
I have been mulling over the idea that "Diamonds & Rust" is the best folk album of the Seventies, and it has made me realize that I am always going to think of Bob Dylan as being a folksinger even when his guitar is electric. So I would still give the nod to "Blood on the Tracks," especially since that is where Joan Baez's cover of "Simple Twist Of Fate" comes from. But I have no problem with the idea that this is the best Joan Baez album and no doubt whatsoever that "Diamonds & Rust" is her greatest accomplishment as a songwriter...
Of course the song is about Dylan "the unwashed phenomenon"; what else would make more perfect sense? More importantly, the elegance of the dichotomy offered by those two words is simple genius, which inspires instant recognition on the part of the listener. My biggest compliment that would be "Diamonds & Rust" is the best Dylan songs not written by Dylan. Baez has never sounded any better than she does on this album. In addition to the title song my other favorites are "Hello In There" and "Jesse." The argument can certainly be made by armchair psychologists that the title song was an important catharsis for Baez, which could explain the dramatic improvement in both her songwriting and singing. The latter is probably less obvious simply because Baez and Judy Collins were the standards by which all female folk singers were judged in the Sixties and Seventies. But I think it is obvious that her rich soprano voice with its distinctive vibrato never sounded better. Still, that title song is just so impressive. I would have to say it is one of the ten best songs of the Seventies.
Yes, "Tangled Up in Blue" would also be on that list on diamonds.
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Masterpiece of moving love songs
This elegant album is a seamless blend of her own and others' literate but moving love songs and just a nod to her folk roots in the medley of I Dream Of Jeannie/Danny Boy. She covers songs by Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, Dylan, John Prine and others, while contributing her beautiful own compositions like the title track, Children And All That Jazz, Winds Of The Old Days (reminiscent of Gulf Winds) and Dida. Her interpretation of Browne's Fountain Of Sorrow is particularly poignant, and so is Jesse, the Janis Ian song. Another classic is the reflective Winds Of The Old Days. Unlike some of her ventures into the art song in the 1980's, this album really works, as she sings with warmth and conviction and make the songs her own. Diamonds and Rust is a successful move away from her pure folk roots.
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on 21 April 2006
Having bought the single way back in the 70's when it was first released and heard what seemed the fashionable comment at the time that "some records were too good for the charts" I wanted to buy the album when funds permitted. No disappointments - this is a classic that doesn't waste a track. Different in style to other albums that Joan Baez has done but more than worth hearing and at a fantastic price. Buy, play, enjoy, you will not regret.

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This is an excellent CD from a more mature Joan Baez. Her own musical composition, "Diamonds and Rust", which is the signature song on the CD, is simply outstanding, both lyrically and melodically. Couple it with her own glorious set of pipes, and what one has is a winner! It is simply a beautiful song, sung beautifully.
This CD clearly shows a transition from the more folk based earlier CDs to one which is a little more contemporary in feel, with lusher and, yes, more commercial musical arrangements. There, I said it. Which is not to imply that it is bad. It is simply a change and a different direction than that which had been previously taken by Ms. Baez. Best of all, it works!
Clearly, she can make the transition to a wider audience in this fashion, and she deserves to be heard by as many people as is possible, such is her talent. This CD holds many pleasant surprises in store for the listener.
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on 11 February 2012
I have to confess that I have just purchased this off a well known rival site for a mere £1.86! It takes me right back to 1976 when I first heard the vinyl version and played it over and over again. Couldn't afford to buy it at the time, but did manage to tape it (ahem!), a version long since lost. It may be rather over produced in the American style of the time (echoes of Carpenters perhaps). But who can't fail to be blown away by Joan's amazing soprano voice. Almost a dictionary definition of absolute clarity.

The only two US albums that come anywhere close to this in terms of performance and song quality are Carole King's TapestryTapestry and Don McLean's (just received Radio 2 Folk Awards lifetime achievement award) American PieAmerican Pie. Absolutely unforgettable, and for me, an instant trip back to the "long hot summer" of 1976 when I still had a full head of hair.

Not as wonderful a voice as the late great Sandy Denny No More Sad Refrains: The Anthology, but that is another story altogether. This is Joan at her best, buy it, you won't be disappointed.
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on 12 April 2016
A brilliant CD, like many other recordings of Joan Baez. I agree with all the reviewers who presented it as an event. We have here ten songs recorded in studio, during no more then 45 minutes, like the original vinyl issued in 1975. However, the CD is AAD, this meanings the producer did not make any effort to re-masterize the originals with the sound engineering of the 20th century. The booklet is illegible, thus useless. Some lines cannot be read without a magnifier glass. Baez would have deserved a more festive re-issue. Well, for 4.99 pounds, this CD is OK
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on 27 August 2013
I bought this mostly for the superb title track, and perhaps the rest of the album will grow on me over time but I must admit I prefer her earlier folk style, not least because it showed off her voice far better than the songs on this album. It put me in mind of Kiri te Kanawa singing selections from West Side Story - her voice just isn't suited to that kind of music. 'Jesse' is a superb song, but I much prefer Janis Ian's version. Maybe I'm just an old stick-in-the-mud, but there is a huge backlist of superb folk songs that Baez could have continued to cover, playing to her main strength - her superb voice.
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on 4 February 2015
' Diamond and Rust ' is regarded by many as a classic album, not just for the title track. Released to much critical acclaim back in 1975.

The album has is more than worth what I paid, ' £3.90 ' - Joan Baez has a unique voice and this is a well worth your money.
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on 1 July 2012
I must admit to not being a great Joan Baez fan - but this CD is defintely worth owning. The title track which opens the CD is wonderful - beautiful melody coupled to great reflections on her relationship with Bob Dylan. It is the high-spot on the CD, but there are also many more delights. Joan's rendition of Janis Ian's "Jesse" is among the very best recorded, and this is balanced by the more up-tempo "Simple Twist Of Fate" and "Blue Sky", whilst "Winds Of The Old Days" is another good slice of Dylan reminiscence. If you like Joni Mitchell's 70s stuff, chances are you will love this too.
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on 28 May 2009
I'm listening to this more for the immaculate backing musicians rather than the OK choice of songs & Joan's warbling tremolodic voice. Her Dylan impression on Simple Twist of Fate is funny & the title track is fab. Not sure about some of the other choices song-wise. Joni turns up for an underwhelming warble-off on the song Dida.
It's pretty good - just not quite at the level of some of the other fawning Amazon mad reviewer types.
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