Singers: Into the Pain of the Heart

From Guthrie to Dylan, contemporary folk composers have usually been their own best interpreters, but they have not always had an easy time trying to sing their own stuff.

Tim Hardin's If I Were a Carpenter was a big hit for Bobby Darin, while Hardin's own recording was ignored. Few people paid any attention to Laura Nyro's version of Stoned Soul Picnic, but the song sold a million for The 5th Dimension.

For a time, Canada's Joni Mitchell had much the same problem. She ranked as one of the best young composers in the business, and her tender ballad, Both Sides Now,...

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