Reasons to love Joni Mitchell's Hejira album

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7. The diddy-diddy-um backing vocals on "Song for Sharon"

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 13 April 2006 02:08 (8 years ago) Permalink

8. How the guitar hook on "Refuge of the Road" seems to stretch farther and wider, mirroring the character's finding increasing solace going farther away from the people who love her.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 13 April 2006 02:09 (8 years ago) Permalink

9. the bass on "Strange Boy"

reason #7 seconded

10. the sound of the rhythm guitar in "Coyote"

sleeve (sleeve), Thursday, 13 April 2006 02:13 (8 years ago) Permalink

I was partial to Coyote in college myself. Listening to Mingus right now for the first time since then. As a rule, I find her jazzy period more listenable than her folkie one.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 13 April 2006 02:52 (8 years ago) Permalink

jazzy period >>>>>>> folky period

mingus gets a bad rap, but that part when the party chimes in for the chorus on "God Must Be a Boogie Man" is retardedly genius

Jaxon von Jaxon (jaxon), Thursday, 13 April 2006 02:54 (8 years ago) Permalink

11. It was the hexagram of the heavens
It was the strings of my guitar

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 13 April 2006 02:56 (8 years ago) Permalink

12.Well there's a wide wide world of noble causes
And lovely landscapes to discover
But all I really want right now
Is find another lover

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 13 April 2006 03:00 (8 years ago) Permalink

mingus gets a bad rap

I think the idea of flaxen-haired Joni cooing about Birdland did turn a few people off, yes.

but that part when the party chimes in for the chorus on "God Must Be a Boogie Man" is retardedly genius

YES. Really, the whole thing is pretty engaging musically.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 13 April 2006 03:02 (8 years ago) Permalink

For the air-conditioned cubicles
And the carbon-ribbon rides
Are spelling it out so clear:

Either he's gonna have to stand and fight
Or take off out of here

Joseph McCombs (Joseph McCombs), Thursday, 13 April 2006 03:25 (8 years ago) Permalink

Coyote's in a coffee shop
Starin' a hole in his scrambled eggs
He picks up my scent on his fingers, while he's
Watching the waitress's legs

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Thursday, 13 April 2006 06:34 (8 years ago) Permalink

15. You just picked up a hitcher
A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway

alex in mainhattan (alex63), Thursday, 13 April 2006 07:13 (8 years ago) Permalink

jazzy period >>>>>>> folky period

Also, it's interesting how Don Juan's Reckless Daughter has suddenly emerged as The Great Lost Joni Album...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 13 April 2006 11:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

I've... tried with that one, but I still don't feel it as much as some Joni fans seem to say I should. I like some stuff on it though.

I hate to say it's become not so much the "great lost album" as "the great difficult "true fan" favourite". That thing where people recommend first the most outre parts of an artists discography so they can feel somehow superior?

I want to listen to Heijira again now...

fandango (fandango), Thursday, 13 April 2006 11:24 (8 years ago) Permalink

16. "Mama's nylons underneath my cowgirl jeans"

Such an evocative image...and that funny little micro-yodel stuck in the middle of the word "cowgirl"...

Marcel Post (Marcel Post), Thursday, 13 April 2006 13:06 (8 years ago) Permalink

if she'd stuck "The Wolf That Lives in Lindsey" to Hejira instead of holding it for another couple of years, it would have been a perfect album.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 13 April 2006 13:10 (8 years ago) Permalink

17. "your boom-boom pachyderm" is a really fucking funny phrase

Marcel Post (Marcel Post), Thursday, 13 April 2006 13:11 (8 years ago) Permalink

if she'd stuck "The Wolf That Lives in Lindsey" to Hejira instead of holding it for another couple of years, it would have been a perfect album.

Was it written then? I don't have it in front of me, but was that not one of the Mingus-written songs?

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 13 April 2006 13:14 (8 years ago) Permalink

why is it that I am vaguely annoyed by Joni Mitchell? I really don't even know that much about her, and do in fact like some of her songs. However, something about her seems a little, I don't know, taken care of, or priviledged. I can't put my finger on why I think this though, it's certainly a gut reaction rather than a rational one.

Dominique (dleone), Thursday, 13 April 2006 13:16 (8 years ago) Permalink

Dom, agreed. A friend of mine used to point to the line from "Free Man In Paris" on Court and Spark where she sings "I felt unfettered and alive" as unintentionally revealing. I would concur — it's hard to believe anyone who truly felt "unfettered and alive" would ever describe themselves that way.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 13 April 2006 14:31 (8 years ago) Permalink

I'm not telling you not to get annoyed by Joni's hippie narcissism, but the first-person speaker in "Free Man" was never supposed to be Joni -- it was David Geffen. The irony in the lyrics is pretty heavy-handed, including the point you make here.

Vornado, Thursday, 13 April 2006 16:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

And it was only in Paris where the speaker felt unfettered and alive. Until Hejiramost of Joni's characters are FAR from unfettered.

Was it written then? I don't have it in front of me, but was that not one of the Mingus-written songs?

I think I've read that this song was lying around for a while.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 13 April 2006 16:05 (8 years ago) Permalink

I would concur — it's hard to believe anyone who truly felt "unfettered and alive" would ever describe themselves that way.

Except, of course, that this song is written from the perspective of David Geffen.

Tho one could argue that knowing David Geffen well enough to write this sort of song bespeaks an even more ridiculous level of privilege.

Myke. (Myke Weiskopf), Thursday, 13 April 2006 21:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

Don't judge Joni on "Free Man In Paris", it's one of her most awkward songs lyrically.

However am I the only one who thinks the cold war metaphor in "Blue Motel Room" is brilliant?

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 14 April 2006 02:52 (8 years ago) Permalink

Tho one could argue that knowing David Geffen well enough to write this sort of song bespeaks an even more ridiculous level of privilege.

Geffen was not exactly unreachable back then, he was an up-and-comer - anybody opening for anybody at the Troub from '72-'78 coulda made friends with DG

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Friday, 14 April 2006 12:35 (8 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...
I think I finally feel some affinity with Don Juan's Reckless Daughter.

It really works as a somewhat exhausted, 10 at night cooking session record. I never realised how vast, how high she was aiming on this. Not all of it works (and it's no Heijera) but it's prime Joni all the same.

fandango (fandango), Saturday, 1 July 2006 21:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

I'm glad I found a way in though, but it's only a crack still. I need to explore the obtuse parts some more but happy to do it instead of it being a chore now.

fandango (fandango), Saturday, 1 July 2006 21:03 (8 years ago) Permalink

it's all about "Dreamland" for me on that record.

sleeve (sleeve), Saturday, 1 July 2006 22:28 (8 years ago) Permalink

'Paprika Plain' used to be my biggest hurdle, but I've really turned around since I got the "remix" that's on one of her recent compilations.

Baaderonixx immer wieder (baaderonixx), Sunday, 2 July 2006 09:20 (8 years ago) Permalink

I've said this before here: Anyone who writes a song like "Furry Sings the Blues" that's at once so abominally clueless about its subject and so self-satisfied -- "I don't know what you play" but I get such a great vibe from you, man -- deserves its subject's dismissal: "I don't like you."

And I count myself among her fans. But . . . shit.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Sunday, 2 July 2006 09:50 (8 years ago) Permalink

This is no "Blue." Nor no "Gaucho."

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Sunday, 2 July 2006 09:56 (8 years ago) Permalink

Yikes, "abominably."

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Sunday, 2 July 2006 09:56 (8 years ago) Permalink

"Dancing with wild abdomen."

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Sunday, 2 July 2006 09:57 (8 years ago) Permalink

Hmm, this has been discussed on the other thread linked above, but I think Joni's very conscious of the awkwardness of her position and is actually mocking herself. The wording "I'm not familiar with what you play, but..." is pretty funny, and the joke's on Joni.

Baaderonixx immer wieder (baaderonixx), Sunday, 2 July 2006 11:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

yes, but ... two things; one, Joni's narative voice is not necessarily Joni; she's one of the few pop writers capable of writing within a persona, and two, even if she is writing as JM, she's not hung up on being right all the time; can't think of another writer able to pass up the dionysan pleasures of the mermaid cafe- or admit to it - because 'I miss my clean white sheets and fancy french cologne'. I think she knows the limits of the narrators approach in 'Furry ...' but isn't arrogant enough to assume that she can speak for Furry either; instead, by speaking the limits of both sides she shows without saying the misrecognition at the heart of the appropriation of Black music by the white boho...

sonofstan (sonofstan), Sunday, 2 July 2006 11:09 (8 years ago) Permalink

Not long after the line Ricky quotes she asks, "Why should I expect that old man to give it to me true? Fallen on hard luck, and times, and on other thieves, while my limo was shining on his shanty streets..."

I always used to think the song was slightly patronising, it's only been in the last year or so that I've felt like I really got the lyrics. And this has been one of my absolute favourite albums for ten years. Odd how sometimes things just slide over you like that.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Sunday, 2 July 2006 12:58 (8 years ago) Permalink

FWIW, I heard Mitchell perform "Furry" (and "Coyote" and "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter") about 10 months before Hejira came out. She did a long intro to it, telling a story of hunting down Furry Lewis in Memphis. There was no question that she was self-consciously mocking her own narcissism and cluelessness (and in fact enhancing it: there was also no question that she had a fair degree of familiarily with his music before she saw him). She also said she was trying to revisit the feelings that had prompted "For Free" with a sharper appreciation for the nuances and ambiguities of a well-heeled pop star romanticising people who were desperate to get paid anything for their art.

Vornado (Vornado), Monday, 3 July 2006 14:53 (8 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...
Yeah, comparing "For Free" and "Furry" is pretty symbolic of how Joni had evolved during those 5 years.

is anyone anticipating the new Baaderonixx? (baaderonixx), Friday, 19 January 2007 10:08 (7 years ago) Permalink

I like "Furry Sings The Blues" even more now. It used to be my least favourite track on the album and now it's one of my favourites. The "I'm not familiar with what you play..." bit is actually brilliant! There's something about the whole album where it's sort of like Joni reaches this true non-judgmentalism as a narrator, she's very detached from herself - she's in the songs themselves as a character judging and being judged but the songs themselves are so deeply ambiguous and inconclusive, certainly until the last few tracks.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 19 January 2007 13:38 (7 years ago) Permalink

Actually, thinking of it, this theme is also at the core of "The Boho Dance". It seems like Joni had some issues with being a professional artist (which kinda contradicts all the tales of Joni as diva bitch)

is anyone anticipating the new Baaderonixx? (baaderonixx), Friday, 19 January 2007 14:15 (7 years ago) Permalink

I don't know if it does... That's kinda my point above - it's entirely possible that Joni was deeply patronising in any vaguely-true-core-story behind "Furry Sings The Blues", but then she realises later what she's doing and makes a song about it.

Likewise Joni could very well have been a diva bitch one minute and then felt deeply uncomfortable with success the next.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:05 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Refuge of the Road" is now my favorite Joni song.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:12 (7 years ago) Permalink

yeah that song is unstoppable

Night Ride Home carried me through autumn, that thing is underrated - even her gigantic-ego resetting of a Yeats poem works for me

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:21 (7 years ago) Permalink

I adore Night Ride Home. Up there with her best records for me.

fandango (fandango), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:29 (7 years ago) Permalink

Having exhausted the golden years, I am tempted to get 'Night Ride Home' although the one time I listened to it in a store, I remained unconvinced. How's 'Chalk mark in a rain storm'?

is anyone anticipating the new Baaderonixx? (baaderonixx), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:32 (7 years ago) Permalink

the way she says "No regrets, Coyote"

M@tt He1g3s0n: oh u mad cuz im stylin on u (Matt Helgeson), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:32 (7 years ago) Permalink

How's 'Chalk mark in a rain storm'?

Not so good, nowhere near as good... and occasionally fucking terrible.

fandango (fandango), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:37 (7 years ago) Permalink

That's the one with the "superstar" duiets, no?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:51 (7 years ago) Permalink

Haven't heard Chalk Mark. I remember hearing mixed things about Night Ride Home for years and since Joni's lower voice on Turbulent Indigo kinda really bummed me out, I didn't give it a chance. When I finally got it I was like "Holy shit" - right now for me it's up there with Hejira, I can't see it supplanting Blue but then again Blue is such a pivotal album for me personally that its place in my heart is pretty extra-textual

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Friday, 19 January 2007 15:57 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Come In From The Cold" is pretty marvelous; I love the synths and guitar.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:00 (7 years ago) Permalink

I actually kind of like the Peter Gabriel one, synth slush-fest that it is... but the BILLY IDOL(!) track is unbelievably (or maybe not) bad.

Joni is nearly always bad at those straight rock'n'roll-ish tracks.

I really should get round to hearing/owning Taming The Tiger, Shadows And Light (Live)... and maybe Both Sides Now and Travelogue just to complete things.

fandango (fandango), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:00 (7 years ago) Permalink

I actually don't have the problems with Turbulent Indigo a lot of people seem to... I'd probably rate it fairly equally. But I listen to Night Ride Home far more, such a gorgeous sprawl (but not bloated) of a record. But with daggers "Cherokee Louise" just... tears me up.

fandango (fandango), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:04 (7 years ago) Permalink

speaking of bad tones.

Does anyone else fucking HATE Jaco's playing and tone on Hejira...drives me nuts, mr. bloop bleeeeeble ddee whale humping sound maker beret dude.

M@tt He1g3s0n: oh u mad cuz im stylin on u (Matt Helgeson), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:05 (7 years ago) Permalink

It used to be my least favourite track on the album and now it's one of my favourites

I never understand the hate toward "Furry Sings the Blues," tbh.

jaymc (jaymc), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:07 (7 years ago) Permalink

sorry dude I think Jaco kicks ass on Hejira, perfect lazing complement to the winding slinky wandering songs there

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:08 (7 years ago) Permalink

I really can't get into Jaco solo, or the Weather Report I've heard.Bought, borrowed, tried.

But I love the work with Joni.

fandango (fandango), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:08 (7 years ago) Permalink

Wow, Jaco's bass is what I like best on Hejira. It's funny how he only played on a few of the tracks, although the whole album seems to bear his mark. His bass also makes the greatness of "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" (the title track)

is anyone anticipating the new Baaderonixx? (baaderonixx), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:12 (7 years ago) Permalink

weather report is horrid fusion. i'd bet i'd like spyro gyro better if i'd ever heard spyro gyro.

I guess the Jaco thing is mostly cuz I prefer the more forward moving vers. of Coyote on The Last Waltz so much better...it feels like low flying crop spraying plane zooming over empty fields (on the Last Waltz)

M@tt He1g3s0n: oh u mad cuz im stylin on u (Matt Helgeson), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:13 (7 years ago) Permalink

well yeah - the Band, whatever else one wants to say about them, are pretty much the ideal backing band at that time & on that night especially

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:16 (7 years ago) Permalink

actually fuck it, Night Ride Home is better than Turbulent Indigo, clearly.

fandango (fandango), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:17 (7 years ago) Permalink

yeah my favorite parts of Hejira are the bass, like the slide from the dominant before resolution in Coyote (or wait, is that the Last Waltz version?!)

gabbneb (gabbneb), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:46 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Coyote" is performed in The Last Waltz? OK, top of queue.

jaymc (jaymc), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:49 (7 years ago) Permalink

I've been thinking about the decline in Mitchell's songwriting and I wonder whether she doesn't have a George Harrison problem. Their grievances against the industry, misanthropy, and proselytizing tendences ultimately crippled them, even though each is capable of the occasional marvel. (And Mitchell's better than George anyway).

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Friday, 19 January 2007 16:53 (7 years ago) Permalink

I love her vocal melodies, they're like nothing I've ever heard. She sings her words like a saxophone solo. In a way it almost seems irrelevant to the music in the background but they aren't, they're just the least predictable way around the song. And I love that her lyrics are at the same time cryptic and utterly frank.

Period period period (Period period period), Friday, 19 January 2007 21:55 (7 years ago) Permalink

5 years pass...

This counts as another reason to love this record

Milton Parker, Saturday, 18 February 2012 05:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

iirc, Hejira is Prince's all-time favorite record, by anyone.

I love Hejira almost as much as Court and Spark, but this is as far as I've gotten, chronologically, in Joni's discography. I took a stab at Mingus but, to echo some of the comments upthread, I just can't get with that fretless bass guitar sound. Intellectually, I can recognize and appreciate the importance of what Jaco did, but I can't stand to listen to it.

Let A Man Come In And Do The Cop Porn (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 18 February 2012 05:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

Get Night Ride Home!

Tim F, Saturday, 18 February 2012 06:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

iirc, Hejira is Prince's all-time favorite record, by anyone.

That might be 'Hissing' I think.

sleigh tracks (1933-1969) (MaresNest), Saturday, 18 February 2012 11:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

I bought Night Ride Home thanks to this thread. I've never been able to call it anything other than a good minor record with a couple of tremendous tunes (e.g. "Come in From the Cold").

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 18 February 2012 13:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

Naw I think there's so much amazing stuff on here (beyond "Come In From The Cold" which I agree is stunning). The chilling "old as the hills" vibe of "When All The Slaves Free" (her reedily murmured "ecstasy"... "tragedy"...), the heart-cutting double-tracked vocals on "Cherokee Louise", the perfect Tango in the Night pop of "Nothing Can Be Done", the absolute desolation of "Two Grey Rooms"...

I love the sound of her voice here too, damaged by smoking but still just supple enough to hit the targets it aims for, making the damage into just a metaphor for emotional damage, the sense of having seen too much that runs through the album. After this it got to the point where she just sounded limited a lot of the time (though she did use her vocals to great effect on particular songs here and there).

Tim F, Saturday, 18 February 2012 21:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

It was only recently that I realized furry sings the blues was about a real singer, furry lewis

dave coolier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 18 February 2012 21:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah he's good. wasn't happy about the song tho
"The way I feel" says Furry "is that your name is proper only to you, and when you use it you should get results from it. She shouldn't have used my name in no way, shape, form or faction without consultin' me 'bout it first. The woman came over here and I treated her right, just like I does everybody that comes over. She wanted to hear 'bout the old days, said it was for her own personal self, and I told it to her like it was, gave her straight oil from the can." He stares at the surrealistic photo on the Hejira cover. "But then she goes and puts it all down on a record, using my name and not giving me nothing! I can't stop nobody from talkie' 'bout Beale Street, 'cause the street belongs to everybody. But when she says 'Furry,' well that belongs to me!" (Though Joni Mitchell had no response to Furry's comments, her manager, Elliot Roberts, responded: "All she said about him was, 'Furry sings the blues' the rest is about the neighborhood. She doesn't even mention his last name. She really enjoyed meeting him, and wrote about her impressions of the meeting, He did tell her that he didn't like her, but we can't pay him royalties for that. I don't pay royalties to everybody who says they don't like me. I'd go broke.")

tylerw, Saturday, 18 February 2012 21:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

10 months pass...

look, i realize this is coming a bit late, but since it seems to have been revived about a year ago... i feel the need to point something out. when joni mention's she is 'not familiar with what you play' she is referring to WC Handy, who's 'cast in bronze, and he's standin in a little park, with his trumpet in his hand, like he's listenin back...
-so throughout the song she is comparing her limited knowledge of one legend, with her experience of meeting a dying one, in a city which reflects them, and which they embody -she is clearly an outsider, but an admirer.
i am so surprised that so many people who seem to otherwise know her well, or at least this album, did not catch this?!

as for reasons to love hejira (the album)...
the beginning and energy throughout black crow
and
'palm trees in the porchlight like slick black cellophane'

ramblin rose, Wednesday, 16 January 2013 19:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

welcome to ILX, ramblin rose! if you want, here is an introduction thread:

Introduce Yourselves!

sleeve, Wednesday, 16 January 2013 20:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

wow - never read that story about Furry liking her even less after Hejira!

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Thursday, 17 January 2013 10:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

Here's the RS article:

Furry Lewis is Furious at Joni
by Mark Seal - February 24, 1977

MEMPHIS - There's an electrical wire hanging down in front of bluesman Furry Lewis' small, olive green duplex. It drapes across his front porch, and Furry is so worried about it he can hardly get drunk and have fun with the people who have come to visit, "Somebody call up the 'lectric department to fix that thing!" he yells, sitting in the bed that has become his stage and pouring a dose of Ten High bourbon into a well-worn shot glass. "l know I've always been a rascal, but I ain't never done nothin' bad enough to be in the 'lectric chair."

Age and cataracts have dulled Furry's eyesight - though not his feisty spirit - and his public appearances have been whittled down to a cherished few, but Furry's still got the world at his bedside. Guests, from young neighborhood kids seeking guitar lessons to celebrities, stream into his three-room flat.

Lewis played his slide-driven, talking guitar blues with the father of the blues, W.C Handy, on Beale Street in the early 1900s. Today, the street is crumbling, and a small statue of Handy toting a horn overlooks the ruins. To Furry Lewis, Beale Street was "where somebody was killed every Saturday night and born every Sunday."

At arm's reach from his bed, Furry's got all his daily necessities: battered Martin electric guitar and small amp, two half gallons of Ten High, a .38 revolver stashed inside a drawer, his walking stick, a teddy bear and a cigar box labeled "Business". "I'm 83 years old half blind and gots a wooden leg," he says. "But I sure gots a lot of friends. "

But Furry's got his problems, too. Just a few weeks ago, he explains, he played at a local club and still hasn't been paid. And then there's "that woman" who recorded a song about him.

The song, "Furry Sings the Blues," is on Joni Mitchell's latest album, Hejira. In it, Mitchell paints Furry "down and out in Memphis, Tennessee," and his music "mostly muttering now and sideshow spiel." She had visited the aging bluesman and the pitiful situation on Beale Street had led her to write:

Furry sings the blues
Fallin' to hard luck
And time and other thieves
While our limo is shining on his shanty street.
Old Furry sings the blues.

"The way I feel " says Furry "is that your name is proper only to you, and when you use it you should get results from it. She shouldn't have used my name in no way, shape, form or faction without consultin' me 'bout it first. The woman came over here and I treated her right, just like I does everybody that comes over. She wanted to hear 'bout the old days, said it was for her own personal self, and I told it to her like it was, gave her straight oil from the can." He stares at the surrealistic photo on the Hejira cover. "But then she goes and puts it all down on a record, using my name and not giving me nothing! I can't stop nobody from talkie' 'bout Beale Street, 'cause the street belongs to everybody. But when she says 'Furry,' well that belongs to me!" (Though Joni Mitchell had no response to Furry's comments, her manager, Elliot Roberts, responded: "All she said about him was, 'Furry sings the blues' the rest is about the neighborhood. She doesn't even mention his last name. She really enjoyed meeting him, and wrote about her impressions of the meeting, He did tell her that he didn't like her, but we can't pay him royalties for that. I don't pay royalties to everybody who says they don't like me. I'd go broke.")

Still, Furry can't deny the truths of "Furry Sings the Blues," with its references to Beale Street's doom, that "history falls/ To parking lots and shopping malls."

"They only make a statue of you when you dead and gone," Furry says. "I've known a whole lots of musicianers in my life and lots of 'em are dead now. But I guess that Handy's the only one that's ant a statue of him. But then I ain't gone yet.

"Now I know I ain't a star," he says, reaching for his glass and winking with a wise old grin "But I sure might be a moon."

friday goodness thank it's (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 17 January 2013 13:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

Don't judge Joni on "Free Man In Paris", it's one of her most awkward songs lyrically.
However am I the only one who thinks the cold war metaphor in "Blue Motel Room" is brilliant?

― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Thursday, April 13, 2006

I think there were country songs almost ten years prior that also had puns on Cold War with relationship subjects

Iago Galdston, Thursday, 29 May 2014 18:51 (3 months ago) Permalink

Iago Galdston, Thursday, 29 May 2014 23:05 (3 months ago) Permalink

shit....Floyd Tillman's 1949 country classic "This Cold War With You". Don't know if there are others

Iago Galdston, Thursday, 29 May 2014 23:05 (3 months ago) Permalink

It's not so much the fact of the Cold War pun as the way she runs with the metaphor:

"We're gonna have to hold ourselves a peace talk
In some neutral cafe
You lay down your... sneeeeeaking round the town, honey
and I'll lay down the highways"

Tim F, Thursday, 29 May 2014 23:23 (3 months ago) Permalink

oh yeah, no doubt, those are great lyrics. not that anyone here would care, but i was interested to learn that the male love interest on this record is the playwright Sam Shepard ("Coyote")

Iago Galdston, Thursday, 29 May 2014 23:26 (3 months ago) Permalink

xpost to me this has always been one (possible) hallmark of a good "literary" lyricist, not just simply drawing analogies between things but getting across the detailed structure of the analogy with a few carefully curated side-shots of the same idea.

Another joni example that always comes to mind is in "The Boho Dance": "like a priest with a pornographic watch, looking in longing on the sly", which evokes a much broader metaphor of musical-authenticity/class-authenticity as hypocritical religious conviction and self-denial.

Tim F, Thursday, 29 May 2014 23:29 (3 months ago) Permalink


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