Joan Baez Woodstock

  Joan Baez Woodstock

Joan Baez Woodstock

Other than Ravi Shankar, no other Woodstock performer had released an album sooner than Joan Baez, 29 years younger than Shankar. Hers in 1960 when she was 19. And likely, no other Woodstock performer was more of an activist than Joan.

Accompanying her was Richard “Fondle” Festinger (guitar) and Jeffrey Shurtleff (vocals, guitar)

Her setlist:

  • Oh Happy Day
  • The Last Thing On My Mind
  • I Shall Be Released
  • Story about how the Federal Marshals came to take David Harris into custody  
  • No Expectations
  • Joe Hill
  • Sweet Sir Galahad
  • Hickory Wind
  • Drug Store Truck Driving Man
  • I Live One Day at a Time
  • Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South
  • Let Me Wrap You in My Warm and Tender Love
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  • We Shall Overcome

Before Joan performed, MC John Morris explains to the crowd that while all has been going reasonably well, that they should try to be safe. To stay off the roads as they are the only way to get supplies in and out.

“This isn’t the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, it’s your Fair.”

Her set began around 1 AM and lasted about 55 minutes.

Joan Baez Woodstock

Oh Happy Day

Joan Baez readily admits that she rarely writes her own material. For her fans, that’s just fine as the songs she selects to cover and the voice she has more than make up for any lack of composing.

It would be the second time that the crowd heard “Oh Happy Day,” a 1967 gospel music arrangement of an 18th-century hymn by clergyman Philip Doddridge.  The Edwin Hawkins Singers had released their single in 1969 and it became an international hit in 1969.

The other Woodstock version had been Sweetwater’s much more energetic cover.

Oh happy day (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
He washed my sins away (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)
He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray
And live rejoicing every, everyday
Oh happy day
He taught me how
Oh happy day (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)

Joan Baez Woodstock

The Last Thing On My Mind

Joan jokes that she thought maybe they’d have a sunrise concert and then goes right into Tom Paxton’s The Last Thing On My Mind.

It’s a lesson too late for the learning
Made of sand, made of sand
In the wink of an eye my soul is turnin’
In your hand, in your hand
Are you going away with no word of farewell
Will there be not a trace left behind
Well, I could’ve loved you better, didn’t mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind
You’ve got reason a plenty for goin’
This I know, this I know
For the weeds have been steadily growin’
Please don’t go, please don’t go
Are you going away with no word of farewell
Will there be not a trace left behind
Well, I could’ve loved you better, didn’t mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind
As I lie in my bed in the mornin’
Without you, without you.
Every song in my breast lies a bornin’
Without you, without you.
Are you going away with no word of farewell
Will there be not a trace left behind
Well, I could’ve loved you better, didn’t mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind
That was the last thing on my mind.

Joan Baez Woodstock

I Shall Be Released

Next is Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released and although the song was relatively new, it already felt like a classic.

They say everything can be replaced
They say every distance is not near
So I remember every face
Of every man who put me here
I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released
They say every man needs protection
They say that every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Somewhere so high above this wall
I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released
Now, yonder stands a man in this lonely crowd
A man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shouting so loud
Just crying out that he was framed
I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released.
Joan Baez Woodstock

David Harris

Joan had married draft resister David Harris in 1968 and standing on the Woodstock stage Joan was pregnant.  Gabriel Harris would be born in December.

Joan speaks fondly of David, whom authorities had just arrested in July. She explains how he is organizing other prisoners in an hunger strike.

Joan Baez Woodstock

Joe Hill

Joan Baez Woodstock

Joe Hill was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and one of the organization’s most important recruiters. He was falsely accused of murder and executed at the age of  36 on November 19, 1915. Alfred Hayes and Earl Robinson wrote the song.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you and me
Says I, ‘But Joe, you’re ten years dead’
‘I never died’, says he
‘I never died’, says he.
In Salt Lake, Joe, says I
Him standing by my side
‘They framed you on a murder charge’
Says Joe, ‘I never died’
Says Joe, ‘I never died.’
The copper bosses they shot you, Joe,
They filled you full of lead
‘Takes more than guns to kill a man’
Says Joe, ‘And I ain’t dead’
Says Joe, ‘And I ain’t dead.’
And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Says Joe, ‘What they forgot to kill’
‘Went on to organize’
‘Went on to organize.’
Joe Hill ain’t dead, he says to me
Joe Hill ain’t never died
Where working man are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side
Joe Hill is at their side.
In San Diego up to Maine
In every mine and mill
Where working men defend their rights
It’s there you’ll find Joe Hill
It’s there you’ll find Joe Hill.
I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you and me
Says I, But Joe, you’re ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he.

Joan Baez Woodstock

Struggle Mountain Resistance Band

Joan explains who’s on stage with her and that the three of them make up the Struggle Mountain Resistance Band.

Joan Baez Woodstock

Sweet Sir Galahad

This is Joan’s song–perhaps the first she wrote–and tells the story of her Mimi Fariña and her how her husband Milan Melvin courted her. Mimi and Milan had married at the 1968 Big Sur Folk Festival.

Sweet Sir Galahad
Came in through the window
In the night
When the moon was in the yard

He took her hand in his and
Shook the long hair
From his neck
And he told her
She’d been working much too hard

It was true that ever since the day
Her crazy man had passed away
To the land of poet’s pride
She laughed and talked a lot
With new people on the block
But always at evening time she cried

And here’s to the dawn of their days

La-la-di-di-di
La-la-la-la
La-da-da-da
La-ah, ah

She moved her head
A little down on the bed
Until it rested softly on his knee
And there she dropped her smile
And there she sighed awhile
And told him all the sadness
Of those years that numbered three

“Well you know I think my fate’s belated
Because of all the hours I waited
For the day when I’d no longer cry
I get myself to work by eight
But oh, was I born too late
And do you think I’ll fail
At every single thing I try?”

And here’s to the dawn of their days

He just put his arm around her
And that’s the way I found her
Eight months later to the day

The lines of a smile erased
The tear tracks upon her face
A smile could linger, even stay

Sweet Sir Galahad went down
With his gay bride of flowers
The prince of the hours
Of her lifetime

And here’s to the dawn
Of their days
Of their days.

Joan Baez Woodstock

Hickory Wind

Written mainly by Byrd Gram Parsons with some help from Bob Buchanan. Parsons first recorded “Hickory Wind” with The Byrds on March 9, 1968.

In South Carolina there are many tall pines
I remember the oak tree that we used to climb
But now when I’m lonesome, I always pretend
That I’m getting the feel of hickory wind
I started out younger at most everything
All the riches and pleasures, what else could life bring?
But it makes me feel better each time it begins
Callin’ me home, hickory wind
It’s hard way to find out that trouble is real
In a far away city, with a far away feel
But it makes me feel better each time it begins
Callin’ me home, hickory wind
Keeps callin’ me home, hickory wind
Joan Baez Woodstock

Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man

The next song is also a Gram Parsons/Byrd song with writing help from Roger McGuinn.  The Byrds had had a terrible experience performing at the Grand Ole Opry on March 15, 1968. Gram Parsons announced that instead of the planned “Sing Me Back Home,” they were going to play yet another track from their Sweetheart of the Rodeo LP. He then dedicated their performance of “Hickory Wind” to his grandmother.

Gram Parsons wrote Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man in response and had Nashville all night disc jockey Ralph Emery in mind who was among the many in Nashville who criticized the “hippie” band.

Jeffrey Shurtleff is featured in the next song and before it begins he has a few words to say: “Hello to all friends of the draft resistance revolution in America. Good evening, I hope it stops raining. One thing about the draft resistance that’s different from other movements and revolutions in this country in that we have no enemies. And it’s one of the beautiful things about it qnd to show that our hearts are in the right place we’ll sing a song for the governor of California…Ronald Ray-guns.

Shurtleff will play with the written lyrics a bit.

He’s a drug store truck drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town
Well, he’s got him a house on the hill
He plays country records till you’ve had your fill
He’s a fireman’s friend he’s an all night DJ
But he sure does think different from the records he plays
He’s a drug store truck drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town
Well, he don’t like the young folks I know
He told me one night on his radio show
He’s got him a medal he won in the War
It weighs five-hundred pounds and it sleeps on his floor
He’s a drug store truck drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town
He’s been like a father to me
He’s the only DJ you can hear after three
I’m an all night musician in a rock and roll band
And why he don’t like me I can’t understand
He’s a drug store truck drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town
Joan Baez Woodstock

One Day at a Time

Joan explains that they learned One Day… from a tape of a group Styx River Ferry and that it’s “kind of a theme song for resistance.” Sticking with the country influence, Willie Nelson wrote this song and had included it on his 1965 Country Willie His Own Songs album.

I live one day at a time
I dream one dream at a time
Yesterday’s dead, and tomorrow is blind
And I live one day at a time.
Bet you’re surprised to see me back at home,
You don’t know how I miss you when you’re gone
Don’t ask how long I plan to stay
It never crossed my mind
‘Cause I live one day at a time.
I live one day at a time
I dream one dream at a time
Yesterday’s dead, and tomorrow is blind
And I live one day at a time.
There’s a swallow flyin’ across a cloudy sky
Searchin’ for a patch of sun so high
Don’t ask how long I have to follow him,
Perhaps I won’t in time
But I live one day at a time.
I live one day at a time
I dream one dream at a time
Yesterday’s dead, and tomorrow is blind
And I live one day at a time.
And I live one day at a time.
Joan Baez Woodstock

Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South

Joan sings this accompanied by Jeff on this traditional song.  It is interesting, at least to me, that this was played a few times by Jerry Garciawith David Grisman in 1990-92 and long before that with the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers in 1962. Garcia  & Grisman’s is truer to the song’s bluegrass roots.

Take me back to the place where I first saw the light
To that sweet sunny south take me home
Where the mockingbird sings me to sleep every night
Oh why was I tempted to roam

I think with regret of the dear home I left
Of the warm hearts that sheltered me there
Of wife and of children of whom I’m bereft
Of the old place again do I sigh

Take me back to the place where the orange trees grow
To my plot in the evergreen shade
Where the flowers from the river’s green margins did grow
And spread their sweet scent through the glade

Take me back let me see what is left that I know
Could it be that the old house is gone
Dear friends from my childhood indeed must be few
And I must face death all alone

The path to our cottage they say has grown green
And the place is quite lonely around
I know that the smiles and the forms I once knew
Now lie ‘neath the cold mossy ground

But yet I return to the place of my birth
Where the children have played ‘round the door
Where they gathered wild blossoms that grew ‘round the path
Twill echo their footsteps no more

Take me back to the place where my little ones sleep
Where poor massa lies buried close by
O’er the graves of my loved ones I long for to weep
and rest there among them when I die.

Joan Baez Woodstock

Warm and Tender Love

Bobby Robinson andClara Thompsonwrote the song and many have covered it, including the well-know one by Percy Sledge

Let me wrap you in my warm and tender love, yeah
Let me wrap you in my warm and tender love
Oh, I loved you for a long, long time
Darling, please say you’ll be mine
And let me wrap you in my warm and tender love
Let me wrap you in my warm and tender love, yeah
Let me wrap you in my warm and tender love
You’re so lovely, you’re oh so fine
Come on and please me with your touch
And let me wrap you in my warm and tender love
For I loved you for a long, long time
Darling please say you’ll be mine
And let me wrap you in my warm and tender love
I said it’ll be alright if you just let me
Let me wrap you in my warm and tender love
Oh baby, come on and let me
Let me wrap you in my warm and tender love
I said it’ll be alright if you just let me
Wrap you in my warm and tender love, yeah
Joan Baez Woodstock

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is an African-American spiritualsong. The earliest known recording was in 1909, by the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University. It refers to the Biblical story of the Prophet Elijahs being taken to heaven by a chariot.

In 2002, the US Library of Congress honored the song as one of 50 recordings chosen that year to be added to the National Recording Registry. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Joan sings it unaccompanied.

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Well, if you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I’m coming too
Coming for to carry you home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
I looked over yonder and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home
A band of angels were a’coming  for me
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming to carry me home
Swing low, swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home.
Amen. Thank you.
Joan Baez Woodstock

We Shall Overcome

Thank you very much and you know this festival is quite extraordinary in just about every way. The people are absolutely beautiful to work with and I think it’s amazing that you people are still awake and I really appreciate it. And thank you. What I’d like to do is just sing one more song and ask you to sing it with me. It’s kind of strange to sing this song because it’s very old and in a way it’s very trite. On the other hand, it’s beautiful. What I’d like to do is sing this song for all the people in the world who are willing to take risks. What I’d like to do is dedicate it to David and what I think is if we sing it loudly enough and well enough maybe he’ll hear it in Arizona.

By herself on guitar…

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome, some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

We shall be alright
We shall be alright
We shall be alright, some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace, some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand, some day

We are not afraid
We are not afraid
We are not afraid, today

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

We shall overcome
Oh Lord, overcome someday

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

Thank you very much. Bye bye.

Joan Baez Woodstock