Joni Mitchell, Walker Do Own Songs

by Samuel L. Singer
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 21, 1969

It isn't often that two popular singers present an entire evening of songs they composed, but this happened Sunday at the Academy of Music. Joni Mitchell, who got her performing start at the 2d Fret a couple of years ago (she had already been writing songs), and Jerry Jeff Walker were the stars.

This was a low-keyed evening - no high-decibel stuff - and the near-capacity audience was almost entirely under the age of 25, fresh-faced young ladies and some fuzzy-faced youths. And one of the most polite audiences of the season. (Note to Mayor Tate and Mr. Rizzo: this concert was under Electric Factory auspices).

Miss Mitchell, wearing long blond hair and of all things, a long dress, accompanied herself on the guitar in nearly every number. Once she played the piano (for "Blue Boy") and another she sang unaccompanied. In still another, "Come Along, People," she endeavored with not too much success, to get the audience to sing with her.

More remarkable than the originality of her songs, many of which have a British Isles folk touch, in Miss Mitchell's voice. It changes color as it ascends from deep throaty tones to a brighter, thinner timbre. And she can sustain a long final note for measure on end, staying on pitch.

The composer-singer-guitarist kept her good humor and aplomb when the microphone failed several times.

The Texas-hatted Walker, also a singing guitarist, was accompanied by Gary White on electric bass and David Bromberg on second guitar and dobro (guitar played horizontally).

The trio also offered a dozen songs with low pressure. And Walker won laughs with a narrative on how he learned to play the git-tar.

In the animated "I Makes Money, Money Don't Make Me," hits such as "Mr. Bojangles," "Stone Man" and "Losing My Mind" and finally "My Old Man," Walker's accompaniment was harmonious, well constructed and even a mite sophisticated.


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