ISSUE DATE: Nov. 23, 1962
These cultists often display unconcealed, and somewhat exaggerated, contempt for entertaining groups like the Kingston Trio and the Limeliters. Folk singing is a religion, in the purists’ lexicon, and the big corporate trios are its money-changing De Milles. The high pantheon is made up of all the shiftless geniuses who have shouted the songs of their forebears into tape recorders provided by the Library of Congress. These country “authentics” are the all but unapproachable gods. The tangible sibyl closer to hand, is Joan Baez.
Her voice is as clear as air in the autumn, a vibrant, strong, untrained and thrilling soprano. She wears no makeup and her long black hair hangs like a drapery, parted around her long almond face. In performance she comes on, walks straight to the microphone, and begins to sing. No patter. No show business. She usually wears a sweater and skirt or a simple dress. Occasionally she affects something semi-Oriental that seems to have been hand-sewn out of burlap. The purity of her voice suggests purity of approach. She is only 21 and palpably nubile. But there is little sex in that clear flow of sound. It is haunted and plaintive, a mother’s voice, and it has in it distant reminders of black women wailing in the night, of detached madrigal singers performing calmly at court, and of saddened gypsies trying to charm death into leaving their Spanish caves.
Read the full story here
Next Sophia Loren