Joni Mitchell: Classic or Dud

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I'm not normally one for the acoustic singy-songwrity pantheon but I'll be gosh-darned if "Blue" doesn't just *floor* me. So for that, classic.

Trouble is, I'm too unfamiliar with the rest of her work. Enlighten me but answer the thread question as well, please. ;-)

Venga, Friday, 13 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Dud, Dud and thrice Dud. Annoyingly "twee" hippy songstress with a piercing warble that could make dogs' heads explode. Ick!

alex in nyc, Friday, 13 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Is she related to Grant and Phil?

DG, Friday, 13 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I liked "Urge for Going" and "Conversation". Poor homebound Canadian girl!! True though, she does warble too much. Final verdict-dud.

Joseph Wasko, Friday, 13 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Classic. I remember that on one ill-advised attendance of a cadet leadership camp, mentally replaying her better songs in my head was pretty much what got me through the week. Now admittedly I was fourteen and high-strung at the time, but I still reckon she was, when on form, an unbeatable lyricist. The true classic in her back catalogue is _Hejira_, which of course everyone needs, as it strikes the perfect balance between her early directness and her later abstraction (and her early warbling and later nicotine-enhanced rasp, for that matter).

Tim, Friday, 13 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

The single worst artist to ever live? Not only do I hate her on principle, but I found Blue to be the most painful album to get through this side of Pink Moon.

Otis Wheeler, Saturday, 14 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

'Hejira' is the only album I've heard- 'Song for Sharon' and 'Coyote' in particular are excellent. The lyrics and instrumentation floor me.

Geordie loves it fretless, Saturday, 14 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Pure garbage. Not fit to pick the toenails of Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Tim Buckley. Bloody ugly, as well.

Johnathan, Saturday, 14 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

cobblers. She was & is HOT!!! "Hejira" is a truly beautiful record, better than all that dylan shite wot folks from old-fart magazines get all hot & bothered over. Joni=classic!

x0x0

norman fay, Saturday, 14 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

HOT!!! Joni Mitchell! Now you're just being silly.

Johnathan, Saturday, 14 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

No, he's NOT! (though it's beside the point)

I got "Blue" and "Ladies of the Canyon" for my parents, not thinking I'd ever want them for myself. And why is it that 'warbling' should be considered a bad sound to listen to? Her voice on those two records is lovely!

youn, Saturday, 14 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I figure there's just something I don't get about her music. I've tried it on for size lotsa times over the years & the only song i ever developed a lasting liking for is "The Jungle Line" off "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns".
I'm glad I still don't get it actually, it means I'm (still) Not Adult-Oriented.

Duane Zarakov, Saturday, 14 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I have Blue and Court And Spark and like both a lot. Blue, especially. I do think, though, that my appreciation has something to do with nostalgia. The whole hippie outlook of that kind of music, (and the sound, too) were what the softer side of the radio was all about when I was a kid in the 70s (both records came out a few years before I would have heard them; but the late 70s still had plenty of that singer/songwriter stuff going.) So I'm not going to cram it down anyone's throat, just because I have certain associations from a certain time & place. I will say that Blue has some fantastic melodies & I'm going to say Classic just on the basis of those two records. I guess I'm more of a hippie than a punk.

Mark, Sunday, 15 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Dud as hell. One only needs to listen to her whining at the Isle of Wight festival. Along those lines, the whole of the 60's folk revival (with Dylan et al) has always escaped my sphere of likes, or even my sphere of intellectual appreciation. It just seems so fake. Or maybe I'm just a cynic.

JM, Monday, 16 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

'My Old Man' (Blue) astonishes me. I used to hear it as a kid, and rediscovering it recently made me shiver with - with memory, nostalgia, something recovered, I suppose; but also with what felt like its innate qualities, the extraordinary intuitive suppleness of the melody, her delivery of it, the plangency of the piano chords. The one thing that let me down was reading the lyrics (I'd not really made them out from listening), which didn't measure up to the sheer emotional charge of the pure aural experience at all.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 18 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I hate "Big Yellow Taxi" with a passion called hate, to paraphrase Mr Weller and Ms Headon. But wherever "Night In The City" is (not on 'Blue' I don't think), I like it there.

More to the point, did anyone see that Norwegian girl doing Joni Mitchell on Stars In Euro Eyes?

Tom, Thursday, 19 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Yeah Tom ...she had scary teeth

Geordie Racer, Thursday, 19 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

"whining"? "Warbling"? Are some posters getting Ms Mitchell mixed upw/joan baez? (now she was *d*u*d*!) I think Joni Mitchell's voice is very pure-sounding, not warbly at all.

x0x0

NoRMaN FaY, Thursday, 19 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

By 'warbling', I thought people meant that she used vocal effects - modulations in pitch, etc. - too much, with the implication that her singing was skilled, but heartless, like Mariah Carey's. I think her voice sounds very pure, too, and didn't know that the terms were mutually exclusive.

Norman, it's funny that you mention Joan Baez in relation to this. Joan Didion has this essay about her in which she writes: "When it was time to go to high school, her father was teaching at Stanford, and so she went to Palo Alto High School, where she taught herself "House of the Rising Sun" on a Sears, Roebuck guitar, tried to achieve vibrato by tapping her throat with her finger, and made headlines by refusing to leave the school during a bomb drill." I love the myth that's suggested by these facts, esp. in relation to the setting.

youn, Thursday, 19 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...
That's an interesting thread. The positions are quite clear. I'd say my favorite post in here was the Pinefox's. "My Old Man" is an emotionally very intense song with great lyrics: "But when he's gone. Me and them lonesome blues collide. The bed's too big. The frying pan's too wide". She delivers this song in a pure and vulnerable way which is typical for her. As a lyricist she is a genius. A line like "I could drink a case of you and I would still be on my feet" is simply beautiful. I always loved her crystal-clear articulation. So it really makes me wonder that the Pinefox did not get the vocals on "My Old Man".

She warbled most on the first album where she sings false in places. That record is even for me as a fan hardly bearable. I am with Tom concerning "Big Yellow Taxi". Musically it is terrible whereas from the lyrics and the premonition of men destroying nature it is pure genius. "Woodstock" is another of her melodically inferior songs. "Last Flight Tonight" also never gripped me. Absolutely essential are "Blue", "Court and Spark" and "Hejira".

BTW Joan Baez who I always found too folky made a great album in 1992 called "Play Me Backwards".

alex in mainhattan, Sunday, 24 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

surely it is women who destroy nature, with their lipstick and their hairspray...

as i am allergic to the entire countryside, i liked that they paved over paradise and put up a parking lot: asphalt = better than pollen dust, IMO

mark s, Sunday, 24 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

she is so yearningly honest , i find that refreshing

anthony, Tuesday, 26 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Some reasons to admire Joni:

1. The completely unique sound she gets out of an acoustic guitar on "Blue". 'A Case Of You' = classic.

2. "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns": my definition of Pazz & Jop. Also includes Burundi music way before it was fashionable to do things like this.

3. A band like Nazareth can do great covers of her material. Also her vocal lines are ideal fodder for bootlegs (as Fluke demonstrated years ago). Recontextualisation and all that.

4. She kept Jaco busy - hence fewer shitty Jazz Rock records were made.

(I'm joking about No.4 alex!)

Jeff W, Tuesday, 26 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
she uses capos well

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 29 August 2003 07:45 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"blue" reminds me of summer camp. fond memories.

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 29 August 2003 07:50 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Uber Classic! I have to second Jeff's points about the amazing angular guitar tones she got (cf. Blue) and the pazz and jop..
Lyrically she is much more than the fay hippie she's been portrayed as. She's got a great gift of observation re. people and relationships, which I guess puts her in the 'mature' category... Also, that kind of hippie outlook, she started out with, gave her a great perspective on the end of that dream during the 70s, as fantastically displayed on her classic trilogy: Court & Sparks, Hissing of Summer Lawns and Hejira

Fabrice (Fabfunk), Friday, 29 August 2003 08:02 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

While I find "Blue" slightly overrated, here excellent mid 70s output ("Court And Spark", "Hissing Of Summer Lawns", "Hejira") definitely makes her classic. No doubt about that.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 29 August 2003 10:12 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

ok how big a bummer is it when Geir likes what u like

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Friday, 29 August 2003 12:01 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

...and conversely how reassuring it is to find that Geir likes an artist you loathe

Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 29 August 2003 13:38 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

she uses capos well

and/or multiple alternate tunings, some of her own invention, i believe?

she's one of the greats, compositionally, subject-matter-wise and maybe persona-wise. and yes, arguably hot, if you like the personality. and probably harder than anyone who thinks she's "twee".

Both For the Roses and Court and Spark are arguably better than Blue. Her best singing (and guitar-playing?) may be on the otherwise middling though convenient pre-C&S-greatest-hits live Miles of Aisles

gabbneb (gabbneb), Friday, 29 August 2003 13:49 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

j0hn otm.

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 29 August 2003 13:59 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Saskatchewan ROOLZ

Horace Mann (Horace Mann), Friday, 29 August 2003 17:33 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure why I never answered this the first time around. Joni's one of my all-time favorites. Just listened to Don Juan's Reckless Daughter the day before yesterday, The Hissing of Summer Lawns is also a great one. Her dour seriousness as of late is a bit of a pity, but what a huge talent.

Sean (Sean), Friday, 29 August 2003 17:55 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I love Blue. I dunno ´bout her later stuff, though.

Francis Watlington (Francis Watlington), Friday, 29 August 2003 18:12 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

gabbneb her tunings are often fairly conventional (open D and G are probably her most used non-standard tunings). she has a real grace with the open tunings (e.g., "you turn me on (i'm a radio)") that requires a level of skill fairly uncommon, maybe someone like malkmus, someone who can sing and (uppercase) PLAY pretty sophisticated lines simultaneously.

gygax! (gygax!), Friday, 29 August 2003 18:19 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Geir Hongro has made me listen to Court and Spark again after I had mentally filed it away as something to sell or to give to my parents, and I'm glad. There's a version of 'Just Like This Train' on one of those KCRW compilations, which I like a lot. I'm trying to figure out why the arrangements on the album aren't as straightforward for me.

youn, Friday, 29 August 2003 18:21 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(but possibly her inventedness is maybe variations on D and G... hey! again kinda like malkmus!)

gygax! (gygax!), Friday, 29 August 2003 18:21 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Also, having Charles Mingus call you up and say here's some songs I wrote for you, why don't you put some lyrics to them is pretty classic.

Sean (Sean), Friday, 29 August 2003 18:22 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(but ultimately maybe more like richard thompson, burt jansch or even anne briggs)

gygax! (gygax!), Friday, 29 August 2003 18:26 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

the title track to "court and spark" was running through my head last night, despite not having heard it for years.

i wish i liked anne briggs more.

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 29 August 2003 18:26 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(i wish i knew who anne briggs or bert jansch were shocker)

gabbneb (gabbneb), Friday, 29 August 2003 19:02 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

they are some guitarists i got into in college shortly after i first heard the led zeppelin bbc session ("white summer/black mountain side") and how it was page's electric rip of several bert jansch songs. it turns out jansch learned the originals from friend/partner anne briggs... but primarily 60s british folk stuff, he was in pentangle and had a lengthy solo career, she stopped playing after a couple records.

gygax! (gygax!), Friday, 29 August 2003 19:08 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

anne briggs was an english folk singer who started out singing unaccompanied traditional ballads for topic records. later she made a few singer-songwriter type records, with a traditional quality to them. she was very good-looking and had a reputation as a free spirit. she dated bert jansch, who is a v. famous english guitar player/songwriter/singer who wrote "needle of death" and was in pentangle. briggs was a pretty good guitar player too and a decent songwriter. i don't like her voice much on the ballads stuff, it's been claimed as unadorned but it sounds florid to me. the lp the time has come though is very pretty.

just noticed gygax's post. well, a 2nd opinion then.

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 29 August 2003 20:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i mean she was good looking and a free spirit since every liner note written about her seems to mention those things. apologies.

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 29 August 2003 20:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I find For The Roses quite frustrating. Some great stuff on there, but so much of it sounds so... awkward.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Saturday, 30 August 2003 07:10 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

dated bert jansch, who is a v. famous english guitar player/songwriter/singer

That should read v. famous SCOTTISH guitar player etc., hope you never meet Bert on a dark night!

Dadaismus (Dada), Sunday, 31 August 2003 12:43 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

thx for the correction.

amateurist (amateurist), Sunday, 31 August 2003 19:07 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I can't believe the amount of dissent; without doubt, classic.

christoff (christoff), Friday, 5 September 2003 12:59 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

Expanded 2CD remasters of "Court And Spark", "Hissing Of Summer Lawns" and "Hejira" were supposed to have been released by January this year. They are not yet in the shops half a year later.
Does anyone know what happened and when and if they are due?

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 11 July 2007 20:20 (eleven years ago) Permalink

she dumped them in the ocean, I heard.

sw00ds, Wednesday, 11 July 2007 20:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I never thought she was beautiful but i always found her voice so pure and clear and touching at the same time. When she sings i have to listen to what she sings, there are only very few singers where this happens to me. Usually i do not care for the words. She radiates an incredible authority and truthfulness for me. Does this make any sense?

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 28 April 2018 17:47 (five months ago) Permalink

I suspect I'd hear Court the way I view some Altman film now, Long Goodbye or California Split (or Ashby), as this kind of dated "very modern pop but with realist touches" sort of thing, the good old '70s that now seems a bit, a lot, too self-involved and mod-ish to really appreciate

????? ok man, imo it's a good record when you listen to it

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 April 2018 17:55 (five months ago) Permalink

her and becker & fagen were using similar ensembles toward entirely different ends, it's pretty apparent in the albums you haven't heard in many years

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 April 2018 17:57 (five months ago) Permalink

idek how to deal with sentences like "i never thought she was beautiful but i always found her voice so pure etc."

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 April 2018 18:00 (five months ago) Permalink

I never understood what was so great about Steely Dan, I heard them on the radio in the 70s and it was ok but it was still mainstream and slick and kind of over-produced. Joni Mitchell on the other hand I discovered later in the 80s by chance and she spoke to me. Hejira is about a million times more intimate and warm than anything by Steely Dan. Jaco's bass plus her voice were a marriage in heaven.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 28 April 2018 18:08 (five months ago) Permalink

i would like to clarify that evaluating joni mitchell's looks in tandem with her music is some barely-coded misogyny (which eddhurt can't seem to get through a whole post without indulging in) and fuck off with that pls

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 April 2018 18:16 (five months ago) Permalink

Warmth and intimacy were never in steely dan's mission statement imo, but i love joni and the dan plenty for the different things they do

Lou Grant, the Iranian cinema of late '70s TV (stevie), Saturday, 28 April 2018 21:06 (five months ago) Permalink

Sure is a lot of Steely talk on this thread and several others, but to anyone who wonders wtf, I'd say check out everything through Aja(the title track and several others, though they lost me about half way through).
As I said way upthread, always heard thee voice of experience delivering hope and foreboding, quest and unrest---didn't know about giving up the baby as a very young unwed (as we said then) with no money, or bust-up of the (subsequent) marriage, but she sounded like she'd been through stuff, plus the observational, unresolved stuff along the way, as she continued on (and this was the debut). Some romantic, even exotic phrases, with the tunings and all, but in that big dark space, which I pictured as an apartment without much furniture to absorb the sound, dark because utilities not included.
Striking difference--in tone, tempo, spareness--between originals and some early hit covers, esp. "Both Sides Now" and omg "Woodstock." Chirpier later w more AM radio ambitions of her own, but basically mostly okay.
Joy of Cooking! Right on.

dow, Saturday, 28 April 2018 22:24 (five months ago) Permalink

So what's Gaucho? Chopped liver?

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Saturday, 28 April 2018 22:25 (five months ago) Permalink

Never made it through that one.
xp And later on yeah the evidence of travel, and whatcha been reading Joni? "The Painted Word," prob some Didion.

dow, Saturday, 28 April 2018 22:28 (five months ago) Permalink

Holy hell, the first fistful of posts in this thread make ILM seem like the shittiest dude-bro place with no taste at all to exist on the internet, up there with Youtube comments.

Does the thread get any less ultra-dud?

Mitchell is a genius.

Soundslike, Saturday, 28 April 2018 22:28 (five months ago) Permalink

Thinking about "Hejira" (the song): the imagery is so dense, and is piled on so relentlessly, so thick and fast, that you could make a case for it being the ultimate Joni song, even though trying to choose the best is practically a fool's errand.

It's interesting to me that discussions of the developments and changes in Joni's music across the early-to-mid seventies tends to focus on some combination of the subject matter, the style of the musical arrangements and her voice, but not, generally, the changes to her lyrical style, which was the aspect that really struck me with the most force and intensity when I was first getting into her music as a 13/14 year old.

Hejira doesn't represent a break from Hissing in terms of lyrical style (subject matter, sure) - the key difference is that everything is faster, the interlocking metaphors and allusions so rapid that they resemble the ceaseless patterns of the guitar chords:

You know it never has been easy
Whether you do or you do not resign
Whether you travel the breadth of extremities
Or stick to some straighter line
Now here's a man and a woman sitting on a rock
They're either going to thaw out or freeze
Listen
Strains of Benny Goodman
Coming through the snow and the pinewood trees
I'm porous with travel fever
But you know I'm so glad to be on my own
Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger
Can set up trembling in my bones
I know no one's going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tribute to finality to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality
In the church they light the candles
And the wax rolls down like tears
There's the hope and the hopelessness
I've witnessed thirty years
We're only particles of change I know I know
Orbiting around the sun
But how can I have that point of view
When I'm always bound and tied to someone
White flags of winter chimneys
Waving truce against the moon
In the mirrors of a modern bank
From the window of a hotel room

Tim F, Saturday, 28 April 2018 22:30 (five months ago) Permalink

re the early posts: 2001 was a time when ILM was growing quite rapidly and the informal rules of engagement weren't particularly settled, so the nature and quality of threads was heavily contingent on which posters populated them first.

Tim F, Saturday, 28 April 2018 22:33 (five months ago) Permalink

And yes, they get better. Thanks for the lyrics, Tim! Reminds me that I hear this several times every Christmas (incl. on the local jazz station):

River
Joni Mitchell
It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
But it don't snow here
It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby cry
He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I made my baby say goodbye
It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

dow, Saturday, 28 April 2018 23:06 (five months ago) Permalink

Thinking about "Hejira" (the song): the imagery is so dense, and is piled on so relentlessly, so thick and fast, that you could make a case for it being the ultimate Joni song, even though trying to choose the best is practically a fool's errand.
It's interesting to me that discussions of the developments and changes in Joni's music across the early-to-mid seventies tends to focus on some combination of the subject matter, the style of the musical arrangements and her voice, but not, generally, the changes to her lyrical style, which was the aspect that really struck me with the most force and intensity when I was first getting into her music as a 13/14 year old.
Hejira doesn't represent a break from Hissing in terms of lyrical style (subject matter, sure) - the key difference is that everything is faster, the interlocking metaphors and allusions so rapid that they resemble the ceaseless patterns of the guitar chords

Beautiful, Tim F. This song has two "chords." C-sharp minor 9 and D9. This music has as much to do with Joao Gilberto as it does to "folk," seems to me. Excellent video explains the song's structure and her tuning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYWYb6_ET6U

eddhurt, Saturday, 28 April 2018 23:49 (five months ago) Permalink

tim, great post. was just listening to this this afternoon

k3vin k., Saturday, 28 April 2018 23:57 (five months ago) Permalink

Um, the chords in that video are from "Refuge of the Roads", not "Hejira". It also only covers the two-chord intro, so saying the song has only two chords is way off base.

startled macropod (MatthewK), Sunday, 29 April 2018 00:18 (five months ago) Permalink

lol

sleeve, Sunday, 29 April 2018 00:18 (five months ago) Permalink

WTF, "Refuge of the Roads" and "Hejira" are cross-labelled in my music library. How on earth did that happen? Apologies for the "correction", altho the two chord error is still wrong for "Hejira".

startled macropod (MatthewK), Sunday, 29 April 2018 00:21 (five months ago) Permalink

5:28

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY7MBzjfIvI

flappy bird, Sunday, 29 April 2018 06:41 (five months ago) Permalink

Amazing. Those haunting chords

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Sunday, 29 April 2018 07:08 (five months ago) Permalink

In the mirrors of a modern bank
From the window of a hotel room

I love these vivid images of 70's sterile modernity that she conjures on Hissing and Hejira.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 30 April 2018 15:29 (five months ago) Permalink

^^^ Yes indeed, which is exactly what I love about certain songs on Hissing too.

Harry's House, for instance, which contains this bland, 70s airline magazine imagery, even the softness in the production makes me think of shag carpet in a Hockney painting or an avocado trim phone.

MaresNest, Monday, 30 April 2018 17:16 (five months ago) Permalink

Right---from the beginning of "The Circle Game" (though being a circle, can have no beginning or end--except it's a game)
Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder

to "Harry's House":
A helicopter lands on the Pan Am roof
Like a dragonfly on a tomb
And business men in button downs
Press into conference rooms
Battalions of paper-minded males
Talking commodities and sales
While at home their paper wives
And paper kids
Paper the walls to keep their gut reactions hid

yellow checkers for the kitchen
climbing ivy for the bath

Didn't mean to quote so much, but it's hard to stop with that one.

dow, Monday, 30 April 2018 21:00 (five months ago) Permalink

Cruel, bleak, bitter, reductive, impassive, unblinking, kinda punk---not Didion this time, more Vonnegut, that surly bastard, especially when he was whoring for GE's publicity dept in Schenectady, slaving for the wifenkids---but later on too, when he was a superstar like JM.

dow, Monday, 30 April 2018 21:06 (five months ago) Permalink

But she does it better, in part because she's got the music, not just the page.

dow, Monday, 30 April 2018 21:08 (five months ago) Permalink

I like “A helicopter lands on the Pan Am roof / Like a dragonfly on a tomb,” but the rest seems a bit too much of a “Little Boxes”–style suburbia critique? I should go listen to the whole song...

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Monday, 30 April 2018 21:09 (five months ago) Permalink

Yes the judicious music helps judgmental words: more nuances/gradients of tone.

dow, Monday, 30 April 2018 21:11 (five months ago) Permalink

But yeah the words start at the top

dow, Monday, 30 April 2018 21:12 (five months ago) Permalink

(and not just the roof)

dow, Monday, 30 April 2018 21:12 (five months ago) Permalink

It's a very nice song (or some other, less inadequate, adjective)

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Monday, 30 April 2018 21:39 (five months ago) Permalink

I'm listening to "Hejira" now, and I'm really into it! Her phrasing is incredible.

I've had only minor exposure to Mitchell in the past (her discography is somewhat intimidating), but I'm clearly going to have to spend some time with this, and see where it leads me.

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Monday, 30 April 2018 22:20 (five months ago) Permalink

At the risk of hyperbole, from Ladies of the Canyon to Mingus is one straight run of greatness, she barely puts a foot wrong.

MaresNest, Tuesday, 1 May 2018 07:54 (five months ago) Permalink

No, you're dead right there.

Lou Grant, the Iranian cinema of late '70s TV (stevie), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 09:29 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Joni sighting:

A reunion for Joni and JT

Mark Shanahan
James Taylor was a long way from his home in the Berkshires this weekend, playing two shows at the venerable Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. And there was something for everyone, from a rousing version of “Mockingbird” — on which opener Sheryl Crow performed the part sung by Carly Simon on the original 1974 recording — to classics such as “Sweet Baby James,” “Fire and Rain,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “You Can Close Your Eyes,” and even “Something in the Way She Moves,” which JT played for Paul McCartney and George Harrison in 1968 before signing with Apple Records.

But the most precious moment took place off-stage: Singer Joni Mitchell, who’s become something of a recluse of late, made a rare public appearance to say hello to her old friend and onetime lover. The pair shared a tender embrace backstage, and despite reports of health problems in recent years, Mitchell looked terrific with her hair fixed in an exquisite fishtail braid.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/names/2018/06/04/joni-mitchell-makes-rare-public-appearance-james-taylor-show-los-angeles/t9eilISLnEEl7Q8YSCeZQK/story.html

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 6 June 2018 21:26 (four months ago) Permalink

have to say just looking at a list of James Taylor's hits make me realize how much I hate the sound of his records

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 6 June 2018 21:32 (four months ago) Permalink

James Taylor sucks as much as Joan Baez

Slippage (Ross), Sunday, 10 June 2018 07:41 (four months ago) Permalink

hmm but neither of them suck?

niels, Sunday, 10 June 2018 08:45 (four months ago) Permalink

I hate them both tbh, their voices are super-grating to my ears

Οὖτις, Sunday, 10 June 2018 16:01 (four months ago) Permalink

I can def see how Baez' voice can seem grating but I can also hear how it's pretty perfect

anyway I only really listen to the songs from Sweet Baby James (except the embarrasing I'm a Steam Train song) and Carolina in My Mind, and with Baez I'm all about Diamonds and Rust

her autobio was p cool too

niels, Sunday, 10 June 2018 21:15 (four months ago) Permalink

Larry Klein can go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.

Category: Animist Rock (Matt #2), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:27 (four months ago) Permalink

Does it get better after Night Ride Home or should I call it a day?

Category: Animist Rock (Matt #2), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:27 (four months ago) Permalink

y'all suck

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:29 (four months ago) Permalink

what happened

flappy bird, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:30 (four months ago) Permalink

Does it get better after Night Ride Home or should I call it a day?

― Category: Animist Rock (Matt #2), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 6:27 PM (nine minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

It doesn't get better but I wouldn't go so far as saying you should call it a day.

Tim F, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:38 (four months ago) Permalink

Turbulent Indigo has its moments. No one much likes "Sex Kills" but I do.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:43 (four months ago) Permalink

"Sex Kills" is fine but the main issue with Turbulent Indigo is realising that Joni clearly thought the best song on Night Ride Home was "The Windfall (Everything for Nothing)".

Tim F, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 19:04 (four months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

I have to see this new film about her performance at the Isle of Wight festival 1970 where she calmed down a crowd of 600,000 people:
https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2018/09/12/646751133/they-fed-me-to-the-beast-joni-mitchell-at-the-isle-of-wight-festival

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Wednesday, 12 September 2018 19:27 (one month ago) Permalink

Ooh nice. P sure I saw some of the footage of that in the Isle of Wight doc. Her pleas to the crowd are very moving and touching and the whole thing puts the woodstock generation in a very different light than woodstock (granted it's in a different country).

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Wednesday, 12 September 2018 19:31 (one month ago) Permalink

Isn't that the same festival where Leonard Cohen went on at 2am on the last night, and also calmed the crowd?
http://www.openculture.com/2012/10/leonard_cohen_brings_a_mob_back_from_the_brink_with_a_spellbinding_set_at_the_1970_isle_of_wight_festival.html

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Thursday, 13 September 2018 02:15 (one month ago) Permalink


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