DIAMONDS AND RUST

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

DIAMONDS AND RUST

“Diamonds & Rust” is a song written, composed, and performed by Joan Baez. It was written in November 1974 and released in 1975.
In the song, Baez recounts an out-of-the-blue phone call from an old lover, which sends her a decade back in time, to a “crummy” hotel in Greenwich Village circa 1964 or 1965; she recalls giving him a pair of cuff-links, and summarizes that memories bring “diamonds and rust.” Baez has stated that the lyrics refer to her relationship with Bob Dylan.
The song, which was a top-40 hit for Baez on the U.S. pop singles chart, is regarded by a number of critics, as well as by Baez fans, as one of her best compositions. It served as the title song on Baez’s gold-selling album Diamonds & Rust, which was released in 1975.
For her 1995 live recording Ring Them Bells, Baez performed the song as a duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter. In that performance, she changed the end lines: “And if you’re / offering me diamonds and rust / I’ve already paid,” to: “And if you… well I’ll take the diamonds.” The line “I bought you some cuff links, you brought me something” was changed to “I bought you some cuff links, you brought troubles.” And on 25 February 2009, in Austin, she sang it, “And if you… well I’ll take the Grammy.” In 2010, she recorded it as a duet with Judy Collins on Collins’s album Paradise.

Well I’ll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that’s not unusual
It’s just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I’d known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall
As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin’s eggs
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
Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed
Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you’re smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there
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