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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Song Review : 'Seabirds' (Gulf Winds,The Complete A & M Records) by Joan Baez

Seabirds is unfortunately one of the very underrated songs written,composed and sung by Joan Baez.Though both the albums as compilations have earned quite nice reception,both critically and from the public but the point of fact is that this particularly beautiful song is on the verge of getting lost in the cyber world.I hardly could find traces of it on the internet!

The song however,unfolds so boldly its beauty that I find it might not be as legendary as 'Echoes' by Pink Floyd but it is thousand times better than Grandchester Meadows,if not even more.It is just that the instrumentals differ,since the genres do and so does the nature of the lyrics.

The Complete A & M Records (2003) Front Cover by Joan Baez 
(Photograph Source)

The Complete A & M Records (2003) Back Cover by Joan Baez

Seabirds Lyrics
(Credit :

Don't worry about my politics
They are what they are
I work best when I get some rest
Right now I'm in a bar
Overlooking the whole wide world
It's over the Pacific
I've never written when I was drunk
This could be terrific!

And the seabird struggles in the wind
She topples, balances again

The lady sitting next to me
Is gazing in the eyes
Of the stranger sitting next to her
Who is mouthing truths and lies
He's actually quite nice I guess
He has an honest look
He doesn't know I've lost my mind
Scribbling in this book

And the seabird struggles in the wind
She topples, balances again

Consumed by the evening's masterpiece
Completely introverted
From here I could stare down eternity
leave alone and not feel deserted
I'm tired of interesting faces
And the dull ones make my weep
Don't ask me what my sign is
Instant intimacy runs cheap

The ocean is so bountiful
It spreads from coast to coast
The winds scale off the whitecaps
And the things I love the most
Come wafting up into my lap
In the colors of the great sunrise
Children holding cupcakes
With paradise in their eyes

And the seabird struggles in the wind
She topples, balances again

Four big pelicans just flew by
The room got very still
One of them carried the breath of God
Tucked way back in his bill
I know it was the breath of God
It's the same as the secret of life
He's carrying it off to the Shah of Iran
To trade it for the end of strife

And the seabird struggles in the wind
She topples, balances again

© 1976, 1977 Gabriel Earl Music (ASCAP)

Gulf Winds (1976) by Joan Baez

About The Album (Gulf Winds)
(Credit : Wikipedia)

Gulf Winds was an album composed of songs written and performed by Joan Baez. The album was released in 1976, and was her final album of new material for A&M. Baez stated in her autobiography, And a Voice to Sing With, that most of the songs were written while on tour with the Rolling Thunder Revue with Bob Dylan. "O Brother!" was a clever reply to Dylan's song "Oh Sister". On the title song, a ten-minute long autobiographical recollection of her childhood, Baez accompanies herself only with her own acoustic guitar (the rest of the album features standard mid-1970s pop/rock backup), creating a sound reminiscent of her earliest pure folk recordings.

Gulf Winds is the only Baez album without one single cover; each song was written by Baez herself.

From the album's liner notes:

"Sometimes, I wake up at night and write a song. Sometimes a tune comes to my head when I'm walking in the hills, and I have to make up words for it. Sometimes I sit in a bar in San Francisco and scribble into a notepad what I call my 'streams of unconsciousness.' When I have enough scribbles in the pad, and enough tunes in my head, I go into the studio and make an album. That's how I made this one."

- Joan Baez

Song Review

The song is not the ultimate legendary composition from Joan Baez but I love what it is - a mixture of a feeling of addiction giving birth to dreams,which rather than being weary,dull or vulgar are indeed very constructive,have a nice philosophy and make you feel light,just like waves along the coast.
Moreover,those who love the sea will have to love this song.It starts with the call of a seabird and covers some notes from musical pedals which though not as mighty as the instrumentals covered in Echoes are realistic enough.
The song explains how the lady with the guitar without whom it is impossible to write on mainstream country music of the United States of America imagines that the whole wide world is over the Pacific,the Pacific born right from her own thoughts,with pelicans moving around her.It amazes me personally as to how the thought of children holding cupcakes and the paradise shining in their eyes comes to someone when in a drunk state!
(Perhaps this review went more philosophical than real but consider this,what is reality without philosophy?)
The last part of the song links the entire casualness to a wider philosophy,to that of the end of strife in Iran.I have never seen Joan Baez without thinking of the words 'power' and 'division' and this indeed is expected and gives the song a much higher esteem,something that drives deeper into the ocean,flies high like the seabirds and something that calls for life,rather than war.How she accommodated that adding everything in a line has to be called natural talent.
Overall,I love the lyrics,that is the best part of the song,the melody is nice as well but I am not as impressed by the instrumentals as by the two former components mentioned.The voice is extremely pretty,as always.

Lyrics - 5/5
Melody - 5/5
Instrumentals - 3.5
The voice behind - 5/5

As A Song - {(18.5/20) * 100%} = 92.5%

Disclaimer - The photographs that are not watermarked do not belong to me.

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  1. Never seen anyone doing Song review. You have done a nice job.


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