Joan Baez : Play Me Backwards

First released in 1992, Play Me Backwards holds a very special place in the rich 50-year recording history of Joan Baez. The album’s sessions brought her back to Nashville for the first time since the series of four albums she had recorded in Music City between 1968 and 1971. Returning to Nashville’s familiar environment two decades later and collaborating with producers Wally Wilson and Kenny Greenberg proved to be a perfect fit. Joan reaffirmed her unique ability to identify and interpret successive generations of songwriters whose music had the ability to speak to her: Mary Chapin Carpenter (“Stones In the Road”), John Stewart (“Strange Rivers”), John Hiatt (“Through Your Hands”), the duo of Janis Ian and Buddy Mondlock (“Amsterdam”), and Ron Davies (“Steal Across the Border” and “The Dream Song,” co-written with Joan). Play Me Backwards also contains four songs that Joan co-wrote with her two producers (“Play Me Backwards,” “Isaac and Abraham,” “I’m With You,” and “Edge Of Glory,” one of the last occasions on which she contributed to an album as a songwriter.

Adding historic provenance to this reissue is a second disc containing previously unreleased demos of 10 songs which were contemplated by Joan and her producers, heard here for the first time. Some of the songwriters are not widely known, such as the late Mark Heard (“Rise From the Ruins,” “Lonely Moon”), John Hadley (“The Last Day”) or Gary Nicholson (“Trouble With the Truth”); and one writer is not known at all (“Medicine Wheel”). On the other hand, there are additional songs from Janis Ian (“We Endure”) and Ron Davies (“Dark Eyed Man,” originally recorded by Kevin Welch as “Dark Eyed Gal”); and one that Joan wrote with reenberg’s wife, the respected Christian artist Ashley Cleveland (“In My Day”). Fans will be immediately drawn to Joan’s version of Bob Dylan’s “Seven Curses” (his adaptation of the traditional Child ballad “The Maid Freed From the Gallows” aka “Anathea”), the only one of these songs previously recorded by Joan (on the live album Bowery Songs in 2005).

By all accounts, Play Me Backwards is said to be the album that began the renaissance of Joan Baez’s career that has continued through 2008’s Grammy-nominated Day After Tomorrow. Play Me Backwards is an album whose impact will continue to reverberate for decades to come.

Original release date: October 1992
Produced by: Wally Wilson and Kenny Greenberg
Album cover design by: Tom Dolan
Album cover art direction by: Mick Haggerty
Album cover photography by: Melanie Nissen
Additional musicians and vocalists: Greg Barnhill, Richard Bennett, Ashley Cleveland, Chad Cromwell, Jerry Douglas, Carl Gorodetzky, Kenny Greenberg, Vicki Hampton, Mike Lawler, Bob Mason, Edgar Meyer, Jonell Mosser, Steve Nathan, Cyndi Richardson, Tom Roady, Chris Rodriguez, Pam Sixfin, James Stroud, Marcos Suzano, Willie Weeks, Kristen Wilkenson, Wally Wilson, Glen Worf
Issued on cassette tape: Virgin Records 86458-4
Issued on CD: Virgin Records 86458-2
Re-issued in 1996 on CD: Guardian Records 54615

Available to buy

Joan Baez : Play Me Backwards

Album Information
180g Double LP, Gatefold Sleeve.
26rd May 2011

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  1. laurie
    Posted 26/02/2011 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    what does it mean “vinyl version”….a CD from the record and including the ten new songs? Confused. and what stores released at? Thank you.

  2. diverse
    Posted 01/03/2011 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    Hi Laurie,
    We’re a vinyl label and are issuing the album on 180g Double LP. The second LP has unreleased demos on it. We distribute worldwide so you can ask in your local record shop or order it from this site once it’s released next month.

  3. Richard Wuerth
    Posted 10/03/2011 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

    Hello Diverse, Would you please tell me when I can order the new reissue of Joan Baez “Play Me Backwards”? double vinyl,
    I can’t find a place to pre-order on your web page. Do I have to wait until AFTER the release date? Please advise.

  4. Ed Ckark
    Posted 12/03/2011 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    When I be able to order this album, and how long will it take to receive it in the US? ( Play Me Backwards)

  5. diverse
    Posted 15/03/2011 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

    Hi, we’re waiting on test pressings to approve. We’re aiming to release it by the end of the month. We don’t have a pre-order facility on here yet but you can pre-order it from our sister company at

  6. diverse
    Posted 15/03/2011 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

    You can pre-order it at and it will hopefully be released by the end of March although we’re currently awaiting test pressings to approve. We’ll post a date on the site as soon as we have one.

  7. Ricardo
    Posted 21/04/2011 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    Come on Diverse….you are killing us! Where is the Baez album you promised at the end of March? It’s already out on Proper UK which does us no good as they don’t ship to the US………Today is April 20th……..Please get moving or I’ll go to the UK to pick one up !

  8. diverse
    Posted 27/05/2011 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    It’s out! We finally had it in yesterday! It’s been a long time coming but I hope you like it.

    Best Wishes

One Trackback

  1. [...] and Europe, so you’ll have to import the disc if you want a copy. However, another label, Diverse Records, will release the expanded set as a 180-gram double LP that will be available in all territories. [...]

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