Joan Baez in Concert

Singer-songwriter-activist Joan Baez was born on January 9, 1941 in Staten Island, New York.  In many ways, Baez is the voice of the 1960s.  She started out as an important part of the folk movement in the early part of that decade, recording many popular songs throughout the decade.  And in 1969, she performed at Woodstock.

Baez also became one of the early and most vocal artists working for social justice issues. She continues to be a voice for important causes. For example, she marched next to Martin Luther King, Jr. and went to jail for supporting the draft resistance. And, she sang in the first Amnesty International tour.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Baez is still making music and doing other important work as she nears the end of her professional career.  On April 7, 2017, Jackson Browne inducted her into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During her induction speech, she noted the current political climate and made the following appeal to the people:

“Where empathy is failing and sharing has been usurped by greed and the lust for power, let us double, triple, and quadruple our own efforts to empathize and to give of our resources and our selves. Let us together repeal and replace brutality, and make compassion a priority. Together let us build a great bridge, a beautiful bridge to once again welcome the tired and the poor, and we will pay for that bridge with our commitment.

“We the people must speak truth to power, and be ready to make sacrifices. We the people are the only one who can create change. I am ready. I hope you are, too. I want my granddaughter to know that I fought against an evil tide, and had the masses by my side.”

“When all of these things are accompanied by music, music of every genre, the fight for a better world, one brave step at a time, becomes not just bearable, but possible, and beautiful.”

For 2018, Baez has planned the “Fare Thee Well Tour 2018.”  And in 2018, she also plans to release her first album since 2008 when she released Day After Tomorrow.  Joe Henry is producing the new album, Whistle Down The Wind.

1965 Live Performance

Celebrate Baez’s birthday by going back to 1965 as you watch her perform a televised concert that year.  June 5, 1965, she performed at the BBC Television Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, London.  Watching her perform does make the world a little more bearable and beautiful.

What is your favorite Joan Baez song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    The Great Nameless Country Voice of Texas Playboy Tommy Duncan

    On January 11, 1911, Thomas Elmer Duncan was born in Whitney, Texas. Tommy Duncan, as he would become known, went on to become perhaps the most-recognized voice in country swing. If you have ever enjoyed a country swing song, you recognize his voice, but you probably do not know his name.

    Until fairly recently, I had incorrectly thought that Bob Wills sang lead on the classic country swing songs he recorded with the Texas Playboys. While band leader, fiddle-player, and entertainer Bob Wills is rightfully credited for his great work, the lead vocals on most of the songs you recognize were sung by Tommy Duncan. You may hear Bob Wills’s high-pitched voice throwing in an occasional “Ah-ha” or something like that, but it is Duncan who does the lead singing.

    Some folks have been working to get Duncan the credit he deserves, and there is a film in the works about him called In the Shadow of a King – The Tommy Duncan Story. I look forward to watching the film, but until then, I hope this birthday post helps a little bit in spreading the praises of the voice of Tommy Duncan, who passed away in 1967. Check out Duncan singing lead on “Ida Red” in this performance with Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys in the movie Blazing the Western Trail.

    Tommy Duncan did some work separate from the Texas Playboys, as he and Wills had an on-again off-again professional relationship reportedly due partly to Wills’s drinking issues. But both men are known for their peak work when they were together. Duncan, as part of The Texas Playboys, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as an “Early Influence” in 1999.

    What is your favorite Tommy Duncan and Bob Willis collaboration? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Pop Culture Roundup for December 2012

    In case you were too busy getting ready for the holidays or trying to avoid a fiscal cliff the last few weeks, here are some of the pop culture stories you might have missed.

    — Movies —

    The Atlantic featured production storyboards from 15 beloved films.

    What if there were an animated series called “Clockwork Orange Babies“? Here’s what the promo posters would look like.

    Check out this “Honest Trailer” for The Dark Knight Rises. Even though I liked the movie, the “Honest Trailer” is funny and captures a number of plot issues. (Thanks @PopcornJunkies.)

    Dan Aykroyd on Ghostbusters 3 in Esquire. (Thanks @ravenval.)

    Clerks III will be Kevin Smith’s last movie.

    In case you missed this trailer from a few years ago, a fan imagines if David Lynch had directed Dirty Dancing. (thanks @proboothcast.)

    — Music —

    The 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees are Albert King, Donna Summer, Heart, Public Enemy, Randy Newman, and Rush.

    E Online wrote about the 5 Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2013 Grammy Nominations.

    Eddie Van Halen remembered how he came to work on Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It.’

    Q&A: Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham Revealed Lingering Tensions in Fleetwood Mac.

    Radiohead’s Thom Yorke will release his new album February 25.

    A new book tells the story of the band the Smiths.

    Popdose chose its Best Pop And Rock Albums of 2012

    Read about the Monkee Magic of Micky Dolenz at Popdose.

    Actor James Franco has released a music video.

    Watch a video of Moses vs. Santa, Featuring Snoop Dogg.

    A couple broke up and then decided to sing about it.

    Kinky Friedman on Folk Music, Politics, Mass Murder, and His Bipolar Tour. (from No Depression)

    Beck is trying to revive the days of singing ‘round the piano.

    The A.V. Club wrote about how Townes Van Zandt’s song “Lungs” veers from platonic epistemology to magical realism. I can’t explain what that means. You’ll have to read the article.

    Watch the strange new John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John holiday song video.

    Here is a list of the best (and best-worst) of new Christmas music.

    — Television —

    Check out an interview with Martin Short about his upcoming return to Saturday Night Live as host.

    The original 1966 Batmobile is going up for auction.

    The Walking Dead took top honors at the Spike VGAs.

    David Chase talked about The Sopranos and that maddening finale.

    By chance, Newt Gingrich happened into a guest appearance on Parks and Recreation.

    Vanity Fair features an oral history of the awesome one-season series Freaks & Geeks.

    — Other Pop Culture News —

    Stephen Colbert is not going to be appointed to the Senate. But actress Ashley Judd may run for the U.S. Senate.

    Star Trek‘s George Takei is coming to Riverdale in Archie Comics’ Kevin Keller books.

    The Pope (@pontifex) is joining Twitter.

    Finally, the “IKEA Monkey” — a little monkey in a coat found outside an IKEA — became in Internet sensation and started a meme.

    What is your favorite recent pop culture story? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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