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Joan Baez and Judy Collins, My Favorite '60's Folksingers

Updated on January 19, 2016

Joan Baez and Judy Collins: My Two Favorite Folk Musicians

Two of my favorite female folk singers when I was growing up in the 60's and 70's were Joan Baez and Judy Collins. I had many of their albums and still have the song books of both of these folk musicians.

I grew up listening to a lot of great folk music, since both my mother and my father were interested in folk music. My mother bought albums of various folk groups and my father sang folk songs while accompanying himself on his guitar (ah, such wonderful memories!).

In the late '50's and early '60's we listened to The Kingston Trio, The Chad Mitchell Trio, and The Weavers. Later we enjoyed Peter, Paul, and Mary, and Simon and Garfunkel, and a little later still, John Denver.

But in my early teens, my friends and I also developed our own taste in folk musicians, including a handful of female folk singers such as Judy Collins and Joan Baez. I bought their songbooks and learned how to play simple guitar chords, and got together with my friends to sing the songs of these wonderful musicians.

Image of Joan Baez in 1973, by Heinrich Klaffs, CC Share-alike, 2.0.

Folk musicians Joan Baez and Bob Dylan
Folk musicians Joan Baez and Bob Dylan

Folk Musician Joan Baez

Born 1941

As well as being a folk singer, Joan Baez is also a songwriter and an activist. Many of her songs have been about social issues such as non-violence, civil rights, and the environment. But she's also sung many beautiful ballads.

According to, Joan Baez has been singing for over 50 years now. She began her recording career in 1960, performed three songs at Woodstock (1969), and helped to popularize the songs of Bob Dylan.

I had the pleasure of attending a couple of her concerts in the 1980s.

Image of folk musicians Joan Baez and Bob Dylan in 1963. Public Domain photo

Joan Baez 2005
Joan Baez 2005

Joan Baez is still singing and performing, and she looks and sounds great!

Joan is on the list of 2011 inductees to the Grammy Hall of Fame, which was "created to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old."

You can check the Joan Baez Official Website to read more information about her, including a full bio, and her current tour schedule.

Image of Joan Baez on Wikimedia Commons, CC 2.0

Diamonds and Rust -- Live, 1975

This has grown to be one of my favorite songs written and sung by Joan Baez. Her voice is very pure and beautiful.

Click for lyrics to Diamonds and Rust on her website.

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Another favorite of mine sung by Joan Baez. The lyrics tell about the last days of the American Civil War.

See lyrics of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Joan Baez Song Downloads

The two songs featured in the videos above are Joan Baez's top-selling songs. You can buy them through as MP3 downloads.

Joan Baez Songbook

I was surprised to find that the Joan Baez songbook is still in print! I still have my old copy somewhere around the house, although it's quite old and worn-out. I think it was first published in the late1960s.

This book contains 66 songs from Joan's early repertoire, along with historical and musical commentary.

The Very Best of Judy Collins
The Very Best of Judy Collins

Folk Musician Judy Collins

Born 1939

Judy Collins started out playing piano at a young age, but turned to folk music and playing guitar in her late teens, being inspired by folk musicians Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. She released her first album in 1961 at the age of 22.

Judy Collins started out by singing songs of other folk musicians of the time, such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. She helped bring other up-and-coming singer/songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan into the limelight by singing and recording their songs. In the later 1960s, she also began recording her own songs.

Like Joan Baez and other folk singers of that time, Judy Collins was also interested in social activism. She supported Che Guevara, and sympathized with the Yippie movement (not the Yuppie movement!...)

Image from album cover Very Best of Judy Collins

I heard Judy Collins in concert in the mid-1970s as part of our college homecoming celebration. Her singing was exquisite.

Judy Collins still continues to sing in concerts around the world. She remains a very elegant-looking woman.

You can read more about Judy Collins, including her bio and her concert schedule on the Judy Collins Website Image of Judy Collins in 2009 by sjrowe53, CC 2.0

Judy Collins -- Suzanne

It was this song, Suzanne, that made Judy Collins one of my favorite female folk-singers. I love this song! It's written by Leonard Cohen, and I love his rendition of it also.

For a high school class English assignment, in which we were supposed to creatively share something that we liked with the rest of the class, I sang this song while playing my guitar. That was my only "public" performance, but it was received relatively well :-)

Lyrics of Suzanne.

Judy Collins -- Both Sides Now

I think I heard Judy Collin's version of Both Sides Now before I heard it sung by Joni Mitchell, who wrote the song. Both are beautiful renditions of the song. My friends and I worked on memorizing the words to Both Sides Now on our way up to summer camp when the song had just come out in 1968 or 1969. Judy Collins recorded the song before Joni Mitchell did.

Judy Collins Song Downloads

You can buy MP3 downloads of the songs in the Judy Collins videos shown above:

- Both Sides Now

- Suzanne

Judy Collins Songbook
Judy Collins Songbook

Judy Collins Songbook

I still have my old copy of The Judy Collins Songbook, although it's well-worn. It was first published in 1969, and is out of print now.

There are often used copies of this songbook on

The songs in this book also include piano arrangements.

Are You a Fan of Judy Collins or Joan Baez?

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    • RichardMensies profile image


      4 years ago

      I grew up listening to them. Thanks for the Lens.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      These were "the" female singers of my teen years! And they are still among my favorites...I still have their old 33rpm vinyl records and a machine to play them on :-) Enjoyed this lens!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      Folk music has been a very important part of my life. After buying my first guitar in the 70s, I spent a good deal of time learning the most popular folk songs of the best known performers. I admire and respect both of these trailblazers. Thank you for this tribute to two amazing musicians. Really enjoyed the music here. It brought back a lot of good memories.

    • KarenHC profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from U.S.

      @anonymous: I hope you get to see Joan also :-) So far I don't see a tour schedule for 2013, but it will be updated at some point here:

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Ohhhhhhhh ! Wow just found the sites for her and Joan, I loved them both and truly lived to see Joan Baez but being very poor and an infant in my arms was neverrrrrr able but watched every minute seeing on tv or the news. I watched the Joan Baez story over and over on tv I just adoreeeeee her and hope someday before I die to see her on tour if she ever comes now to Boston Mass. Being in late 60's now i guess my chances are slim ! But I hope some how she can at least read my little note here , I wish both her and Joan well God bless you for all the joy you brought to soooooo many . Love you

      Polly xo

    • KarenHC profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from U.S.

      @Paul Ward: Thanks, Paul. I agree that her voice is still there, and it's always beautiful. It's been longer than 10 years since I've seen her in concert.

    • Paul Ward profile image


      5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Lovely tribute. It's ten years since I heard Joan Baez live but the voice is still there, albeit a little lessened. Not that it matters, she always had power to spare :) I have seen some old and recent BBC concerts from the two of them recently on UK cable - wonderful music.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      They were my favorites for a very long time.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      yes to both of them for hours!!1

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wonderful lens, I liked them both. I did grow up with their songs.

    • nancyrowina profile image


      6 years ago

      Brilliant Lens, I also like both artists. I've just written a lens about Sandy Denny another British folk singer you've probably heard of if you like Judy Collins. Judy was the first female singer for fairport convention who Sandy Denny later joined. I'll make this one of the featured lenses on it since the artists are related.

      I've seen both Judy Colins and Joan Baez live at folk festivals here in the UK, they are both great.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Love them both, and still have their LPs... just don't have a record player anymore! Thanks for the memories!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      These were the major singers in the 60s. Thank you for publishing this lens. You brought back some wonderful memories. Wish you the best.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      I listened from time to time, wasn't a die hard fan, but did enjoy them in moderation.

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Your lens gave me a Bob Hope moment: Thanks for the memories!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love 'em both, Joan Baez is my favorite of all!

    • LyricalVenus profile image


      6 years ago

      What a beautiful page! I am always looking for inspirational women in music, it was nice to learn more about these legends!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Joan Baez has always been my favorite

    • dexter yarbroug1 profile image

      dexter yarbroug1 

      7 years ago

      I really like the music of Joan Baez. Great lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Judy Collins and Joan Baez are timeless, they have taken us to wonderful places with their unique voices and styles.

    • Paul Ward profile image


      7 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Great lens on Joan Baez and Judy Collins. Angel blessed

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I really wanted to be a folksinger but it was not in the cards for me. But I sang these songs, especially Judy Collins. I think I must be on a nostalgia trip tonight, remembering great music and great people. Very cool lens.

    • James M Becher profile image

      James M Becher 

      7 years ago from South Florida

      Really great lens. They are two of my favorites also, but I couldn't include everybody in my lens American Folk Music, Past, Present and Future, so I'm lensrolling this to it, and featuring it on it, and also to and on my lense on Bob Dylan, since you show her with him--lso to and on The-Kingston-Trio, Peter Paul and Mary and The Weavers, since you mention all of these in your intro. Anything you do in return will be appreciated. Thanks,


    • purplelady profile image


      7 years ago

      My answer is just, "YES!" They are also two of my favorite folksingers. I was fortunate to be able to them both live, in concert, two times. To this day I still enjoy listening to their music.

      Thanks for the memories.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Both of these ladies are my favorite female folk singers. I remember to this day the first time I heard Joan Baez sing Amazing Grace. And Both Sides Now by Judy Collins was also one of my all time favorites.


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