Gracias A La Vida


aec.uvis3936142.2 10/14/03 New

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    Gracias A La Vida A&M

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Review Text Despite her Latin heritage, Joan Baez probably wouldn't have been encouraged by her 1960s record label, the New York-based independent Vanguard, to sing an entire album in Spanish. At A&M Records, the Los Angeles firm co-founded by Herb Alpert that she joined in the early '70s, however, it would have been a different story, and it was A&M that released Gracias a la Vida ("Here's to Life") in 1974. Baez demonstrates an affinity for Mexican folk music on such obvious choices as "Cucurrucucu Paloma," but it's no surprise that, a year after the assassination of leading nueva canción folksinger Victor Jara in a military coup in Chile, an atrocity that shocked the American folk community, she has not backed away from her political commitments. There is "Guantanamera," a song that may have been a Top Ten U.S. hit for the Sandpipers in 1966, but that has political implications, as Pete Seeger has been reminding listeners for more than a decade. There is a Spanish version of "We Shall Not Be Moved" ("No Nos Moveran") with a lengthy spoken introduction. There are songs like "El Preso Numero Nueve" ("Prisoner Number Nine"; repeated from 1960's Joan Baez) and "Esquinazo del Guerrillero" ("The Guerillas Serenade"). And, inevitably, there is a song of Jara's, "Te Recuerdo Amanda" ("I Remember You Amanda"), which the slain singer wrote for his mother. But then there is also "Dida," a wordless duet with Joni Mitchell. Throughout, Baez demonstrates her mastery of Spanish singing over authentic arrangements while attempting to stir up her Spanish-speaking listeners just as she does their English-speaking compatriots. ~ William Ruhlmann

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Gracias a la Vida - 4:34
  2. 2. Llego con Tres Heridas - 2:11
  3. 3. Llorona - 4:38
  4. 4. Preso Numero Nueve - 3:22
  5. 5. Guantanamera - 4:50
  6. 6. Te Recuerdo Amanda - 3:31
  7. 7. Dida - 4:33
  8. 8. Cucurrucucu Paloma - 4:29
  9. 9. Paso Rio - 1:56
  10. 10. Rossinyol - 3:01
  11. 11. De Colores - 2:26
  12. 12. Madres Cansadas (All the Weary Mothers of the Earth/People's Union No. - 3:55
  13. 13. No Nos Moveran - 4:39
  14. 14. Esquinazo del Guerrillero - 3:42

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