“Perhaps the pictures in the Times could no longer be put in rhymes,” Joan Baez sang in 1972’s “To Bobby,” a song which not only begs her former musical/romantic partner Bob Dylan to return to writing the kind of civil rights music (or “protest songs”) that once made him the so-called “voice of a generation,” but also guilts him with a form of social responsibility (“Do you hear the voices in the night, Bobby? / They’re crying for you”).
Now forty-seven years after Dylan and Baez sang at the same March on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, the pair are performing in the District of Columbia again, not in protest, but for a performance at the White House’s “Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement.”
As previously reported, Dylan, Smokey Robinson, John Mellencamp, Blind Boys of Alabama, and many other artists will take part in the event, which will be broadcast on PBS this Thursday night (Feb 11), but now, as BroadwayWorld reports, Baez has been added to the lineup as well, turning what was already an historical event for Dylan fanatics like myself into a truly remarkable reminder of the history between that legendary rally and the present.
In addition to PBS’ broadcast and President Obama’s opening remarks to be streamed live on Whitehouse.gov, NPR will air a one-hour concert special throughout the rest of the month that will also be made available online.