Ring Them Bells [Collectors Edition]

Ring Them Bells [Collectors Edition]

by Joan BaezJoan Baez


As annotator Arthur Levy points out in his newly written liner notes to this expanded version of Joan Baez's live album Ring Them Bells, things have changed since it was first released in September 1995. Guardian Records, the imprint of Capitol/EMI that released it, no longer exists. (Rights appear to have reverted to Baez, who licensed it to the British label Proper for this reissue.) The Bottom Line, the 400-seat nightclub in Greenwich Village where it was recorded, is gone, too. And worst of all, Baez's sister Mimi Fariña, who made her final recorded appearance on the album singing a duet on her late husband Richard Fariña's "Swallow Song," died in 2001. But the collection, boasting six extra tracks and stretched over two discs with a running time now exceeding 87 minutes, remains a good précis of Baez's career over its first three-and-a-half decades, as rendered by the 54-year-old singer and a group of female guest stars representing the generations of women singer/songwriters influenced by folk music's premier interpreter. In a sense, the influences can be seen as flowing both ways, since Baez sings songs written by her guests, some of which have been part of her repertoire for years -- Janis Ian's "Jesse," Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Stones in the Road" (which Baez actually introduced on her 1992 Play Me Backwards album before Carpenter used it as the title song for one of her albums) -- as well as accompanying them on songs she has made her own, either because she actually wrote them ("Diamonds and Rust," sung with Carpenter), or because she has been singing them for so long ("The Water Is Wide," sung with Indigo Girls). From Baez's early days of performing traditional material such as "The Lily of the West" and "Geordie,"through her incorporation of the work of her singer/songwriter contemporaries (Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright," Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises") to her own originals ("Love Song to a Stranger," "Sweet Sir Galahad") and her explorations of Latin music ("Gracias a la Vida," sung with Tish Hinojosa) and country (Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"), not to mention her fluke hit with the Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," Ring Them Bells provides a live summation of her career. There is even a smattering of songs she has not recorded before, such as Dar Williams' "You're Aging Well," sung with its author, and Indigo Girls' "Welcome Me." The album actually works better as a career retrospective than it does as a concert experience, because it has been edited in such a way that there are practically no stage remarks beyond the occasional count-off or "thank you." None of the guests is introduced, and there is no spoken interplay with them. They just sing their parts, some of them matching up with Baez better than others. (For example, Carpenter, with her contralto, makes a good duet partner, and Indigo Girls provide excellent, restrained accompaniment, while the trio of Baez with Kate & Anna McGarrigle on "Willie Moore" is just pleasantly odd.) The music-only restriction might have made more sense on the initial single-disc release, but there was plenty more room on the two CDs here to give a flavor of what it was like when Baez welcomed all of these younger female admirers to share the tiny stage of the much-missed Bottom Line with her for two nights in April 1995.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/28/2009
Label: Razor & Tie
UPC: 0793018302821
catalogNumber: 83028


Disc 1

  1. The Lily of the West
  2. Love Song to a Stranger
  3. Sweet Sir Galahad
  4. And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda
  5. Willie Moore
  6. Swallow Song
  7. Don't Make Promises
  8. Jesse
  9. Ring Them Bells
  10. Welcome Me

Disc 2

  1. Geordie
  2. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
  3. Suzanne
  4. You're Aging Well
  5. Pajarillo Barranqueño
  6. Gracias a La Vida
  7. The Water Is Wide
  8. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
  9. Stones in the Road
  10. Diamonds and Rust
  11. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joan Baez   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Tish Hinojosa   Guitar,Vocals
Mimi Fariña   Guitar,Vocals
Mary Black   Vocals
Janis Ian   Piano,Vocals
Paul Pesco   Dobro,Guitar,Vocals
Dar Williams   Guitar,Vocals
Mary Chapin Carpenter   Guitar,Vocals
Pat Crowley   Piano
Anna McGarrigle   Accordion,Vocals
Amy Ray   Guitar,Vocals
Emily Saliers   Guitar,Vocals
Fernando Saunders   Bass,Vocals
Carol Steele   Percussion,Vocals
Kate McGarrigle   Banjo,Vocals

Technical Credits

Joan Baez   Arranger,Composer
Eric Bogle   Composer
Leonard Cohen   Composer
Tim Hardin   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Janis Ian   Composer
Robbie Robertson   Composer
Violeta Parra   Composer
Dar Williams   Composer
Mary Chapin Carpenter   Composer
John Harris   Engineer
Amy Ray   Composer
Mitch Maketansky   Producer
Mark Spector   Producer
Arthur Levy   Liner Notes
Alfonso Esparza Oteo   Composer
Traditional   Composer
John Mark Harris   Engineer

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