Joan's place in musical history was built on the recordings she made for Vanguard - the first ten years of her recording career. After leaving Vanguard, Joan moved to A and M and it is from that period that this album was compiled. I generally prefer Joan's Vanguard music but she continued to maintain a high standard at A and M, during which time she added a contemporary edge to her music. The tracks here are mainly (perhaps entirely) taken from the studio albums Come from the shadows (1972) and Diamonds and rust (1975), together with the live double album, From every stage (1976). The first CD contains studio recordings while the second contains live cuts.
Among the studio cuts, Song of Bangladesh is typical of the political material Joan liked to record. It is no surprise that Joan chose to record the classic Imagine. Joan has recorded many Dylan songs - on this collection you can hear a studio version of A simple twist of fate and live versions of Love is just a four letter word, I shall be released and Blowing in the wind. Joan also does a great live version of Boulder to Birmingham, a song first recorded by Emmylou Harris.
Some of the live cuts are re-recordings of songs that she originally recorded for Vanguard - these include Love is just a four letter word, The night they drove old Dixie down and Stewball. Joan's version of Stewball (both this recording and the earlier one) has the same melody as the more famous version by Peter Paul and Mary but she's changed the story a bit. Actually, the original version of the song was inspired by a race held in Ireland in 1752 between a horse called Skewball (not Stewball) and a grey mare, but like all folk songs, it has been altered over the years anyway.
There are many other excellent songs here, too numerous to mention. This is a comprehensive collection of Joan's A and M music, but if you haven't got any of her music at all, I'd recommend you buy some of her Vanguard music first.