Banks of the Ohio (Joan Baez)

As a teenager I rarely found anyone my own age who had the slightest interest in the music I liked, but towards the end of high school I discovered that one of my classmates, Perian Flaherty, sang folk songs, and we went out a couple of times and sang on the street together — at least, I remember singing with her once on Palmer Street in Harvard Square, outside Passim Coffeehouse. joan baez songbook Perian’s repertoire was mostly from Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, and at that point I didn’t know any Joni Mitchell, so Baez was where we overlapped.

I had never really been a Baez fan. There was something about her voice that didn’t work for me — except when I saw her live, which was always magical and made me a believer — but my parents had Joan Baez in Concert, pt. 2, and my sister was a fan and got her songbook, and one way and another I picked up quite a few things from her repertoire. This is the one I remember singing with Perian — she sang the verses, and I echoed her lines on the chorus: “And only say (and only say) that you’ll be mine (that you’ll be mine)…

I later heard it by the Monroe Brothers and the Stanley Brothers, whose music is more to my taste, and I would have said I now did the Stanleys’ version — but listening back I find I still pretty much sing Baez’s verses. I don’t recall singing this with anyone but Perian and that was almost forty years ago, but I still hear her voice and miss chiming in with her on the choruses.