For someone who wasn't sure about having a second guitar on her early folk recordings - because it might be considered too "commercial" - Joan Baez had certainly revised that philosophy by the late 1960s. In March 1968, Baez had married anti Vietnam War draft resistance leader David Harris. Harris's country music tastes reignited Baez own admiration for the genre and in December of that year she released ANY DAY NOW, a double album of Bob Dylan songs, replete with country music backings delivered with impeccable taste by the cream of Nashville session men, including Harold Bradley, Kenneth Buttrey, Fred Carter, Norbert Putnam, Jerry Reed, Hargus 'Pig' Robbins, plus rock contemporaries like David Briggs and Stephen Stills.
The choice of songs ranged across the whole of Dylan's career, including such early folk offerings as The Walls Of Redwing and Boots Of Spanish Leather and examples of his (then) latest work I Pity The Poor Immigrant and You Ain't Going Nowhere. Perhaps the most interesting choice is Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands, the song Dylan reportedly wrote for his new bride Sarah. Given the speculative history about the relationship Dylan had with both Joan and Sarah right through to the 70s movie Renaldo & Clara, and beyond, it's interesting to hear this song framed by the terrific, powerful a cappella version of Tears Of Rage and Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word.
With the assassinations earlier in '68 of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the resultant unrest that summer, the continuing Vietnam war and the looming imprisonment of her husband David, it's likely that Joan's restatement of the Dylan canon was a deliberate attempt to return to basics. Whatever the reason, the album obviously touched many people in the same way and sales of it rapidly went gold. (For this reissue, two tracks have been added: Blowin' In The Wind and It Ain't Me Babe, both taken from a live concert in Japan recorded by King Records.)
BY JOHN CROSBY