Judy Collins Talks About Bob Dylan And Leonard Cohen, Also Covers Joan Baez

Judy Collins on Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen

At the July 26, 2009 Folks on the Island concert on Governor’s Island, Judy Collins recalls some of her early experiences in the folk-singing community, including her first meetings with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

Judy Collins Sings Diamonds and Rust

While most of the folk songs Collins performed at this concert were those with special connections to her, “Diamonds and Rust” is a Joan Baez song released in 1975 which deals with the romantic relationship between Baez and Bob Dylan.

The frame of  “Diamonds and Rust” is an unexpected phone call from the singer’s lover of 10 years ago. The lyrics of the second verse include these lines:

My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

And the final verse reads,

Now you’re telling me
You’re not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It’s all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust
I’ve already paid

For her 1995 performance of the song as a duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Baez changed the end lines,

And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust
I’ve already paid

to

And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust
Well, I’ll take the diamonds1

And, at her 25 February 2009 performance in Austin, she shifted that last line thusly:

And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust
Well, I’ll take the
Grammy2

I guess Bob was right – the times they are a-changin’.

And the 70 year old Judy Collins (whose lyrics don’t precisely match the original Baez version) offers up an extraordinary performance.

Judy Collins – Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez
Governor’s Island: July 26, 2009

Note: Originally posted July 29, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. Wikipedia []
  2. Ibid []