Diamonds and Rust: Joan Baez and Judy Collins

This is from Paradise, Judy's most recent album. It was released last June.

It boggles my mind that Judy is 71. Her voice is still so amazing and has lost none of its beauty. I think this duet is like a musical dream come true. The two singers fit so perfectly together.

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20 Comments on “Diamonds and Rust: Joan Baez and Judy Collins”

  1. Ralph Says:

    Judy Collins has written some exquisitely beautiful songs–this one and “Nighingale” come to my mind right away. And this is a beautiful arrangement in which I bet Rufus is on the piano. And I do really love the way he has no problem with gender in a song–he feels totally free to do a “woman’s song” if he likes it. But as much as I really do love everything about Rufus Wainwright, he sounds like he’s strangling in this song’s high register; you can imagine he had trouble swallowing, much less talking, after several takes. If only he hadn’t been quite so faithful to the original and had lowered the key to something more comfortable for him. It would have made a less painful experience.

    Thanks for posting this. I had been curious.

    • wolf Says:

      Diamonds and Rust was written and originally performed by Joan Baez. She later recorded it as a duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter, now this with Judy Collins. Although rumored to be about her relationship with Bob Dylan, the song is about her ex-husband, David Harris.


      • katry Says:

        I have had Joan’s album since it was first released. When I heard the song on the radio, I had to have the album.

        Thanks for the information as to the person about whom she is singing.

      • Pete Says:

        Wolf. For years she said it was about her ex but recently she finally admitted it was about the Bobster.

    • katry Says:

      I’m figuring this comment belongs on Albatross.

      I don’t know much about Rufus, haven’t heard many songs, so I think this lovely.

      Is it a woman’s song because Joan Baez sang it? I actually find the lyrics fitting for either a man or a woman, much of it seems metaphoric.

    • Pete Says:

      Ralph, the piano is by Russell Walden who is also responsible for the orchestration. If you are interested in the album, you can download it here

  2. Nan Says:

    Oh, my gosh, it takes my breath away. So, so beautiful. Have they ever sung together before? Thank you for this.

    • katry Says:

      You are very welcome. I felt the same way.

      I went hunting and found out that they had already duetted on this song at last year’s Newport Folk Festival.

  3. Dail Says:

    It is a beautiful song and has always been one of my favorites no matter who sings it. I have, however, always been bothered by the reference to “light years” as a measure of time, whereas “light years” are actually a unit of distance. Just the scientist in me I guess.

    • katry Says:

      I totally understand your being bothered. I was an English teacher and know the same feeling when it comes to words like hopefully which are always misused.

  4. greg mpls Says:

    wow. thank you!

  5. Ralph Says:

    Duh. It was for “Albatross,” most definitely a woman’s song, with its mention of princes to ride off with, dressing in “lavender and leather,” etc. (OK, men can certainly wear lavender and leather. But they don’t usually go around talking about it.)

    And it is perfectly beautiful as Rufus does it. Just uncomfortable sounding, for a singer. He’s out of his normal register in that key.

    • katry Says:

      When I read your comment, it sounded as if you didn’t like this Rufus version. I’m glad to read you do. I think it beautiful.

      What’s wrong with men and lavender? Tell those motorcycle jockeys that leather is a bit much (kidding!).

  6. Bob Says:

    Thank You. They are two of my favorite female performers. What a treat.

  7. Marti Says:

    David Harris was a “phenomenon”? The beautiful song is about Bob Dylan.

    • Kat Says:

      Just by reading the comments, I see conflicting information, but most times I have read she is referring, as you say, to Dylan.

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