A Letter To Joan Baez


Hey Joan, DCF 1.0
I was up in Cambridge, Massachusetts the other day and I thought you might like to see what the coffee house where you got your start looks like today. Somebody else owns it now and they had a power outage so the guys from the electric company were going in and out and the bar was closed for the day. My Patrushka went up to them in her bold manner and asked, "Hey, is this the place where Joan Baez got her start?" The power company guys didn’t blink: yeah, of course. Everybody knows that. The whole world on Mount Auburn Street knows that. And, they went on, at this very moment back in 1959 she is in there sitting on a high stool with the spotlight shining on her gleaming raven hair and her pure voice soaring into the farthest galaxy.

I figure I owe you something for all those hours you thrilled my soul with that voice that could soar out of the range of the human ear. That voice that vibrates with all the sorrow and joy of life without ever losing its pure tone. Wow! Our Joanie!

Did I ever tell you your version of Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 is one of the musical high points of my century? I can’t listen to it often because my whole life comes to a thudding halt while I stand petrified in wonder. Its been like that since 1965 when I first heard you sing it in, I think, Steve Poe’s room on Baker Street in San Francisco. In my canon of joy, it’s up there with Renata Tebaldi’s duet with Carlo Bergonzi singing Si, Mi chiamano, Mimi in their 1950s recording of La Boheme. The pure essence of beauty, where joy approaches the sorrow of life and they shake hands and call off their enmity for the length of the song.

I just thank God for giving you such a pure and beautiful voice for our joy. What a benevolent God we have. I hope you enjoy your picture.


One thought on “A Letter To Joan Baez

  1. Christopher, I’ve been reading your blog for several days now. Greg Hoffman introduced me to them. In his last email he mentioned that you had asked if I had read the piece on Bess (Lisa). Yes, that piece and so many more. My response: “His writing is intimately revealing. There is a dream quality to much of what he writes. The overwhelming sense I feel when I read his work is a yearning and “Remembrance of Things Past”. It is almost painful.I loved having read to me a piece of the correspondence between the two of you. It is just so unsettling to have all these old memories revived. Somehow it hurts. Well if pain is an accurate assessment, then it just became exquisite.My heart stopped when reading the responses from your friend Melanie Kinhead, mentioning the name of Steve Poe, that he is alive and well.Forty years later, this is one of the few people with whom I would desire to have one more conversation. Are my credentials enough in order to allow for this?Marilyn Jones


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