The Riddle Song (Joan Baez). 40 Songs for 40 Years, 1973

My first musical memory is the sound of my mother singing lullabies to me, and she had a pretty wide repertoire of folk songs (of which The Riddle Song is the most vivid for me). When I listen to Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Buffy Sainte-Marie records from the late sixties and early seventies, it’s a little strange, because they all sound like they’re covering my Mom.

Mom also played guitar, and I think this gave me the earliest idea that playing an instrument was a cool thing for a grownup to do; I still feel that way. Hearing this song reminds me of being rocked to sleep, and I think about it every time I sing to my kids. I hope they have happy memories of me singing to them, too.