She looks a little like Nico and sounds a bit like Joan Baez and Judy Collins—but Joni Mitchell writes songs like no one else today!
I first uncovered her material on Judy Collins' WILD FLOWERS album and I thought then, as I do now, that From Both Sides Now and Michael From Mountains highlight that record. Soon I began noticing that everyone was recording Joni Mitchell — Tom Rush's CIRCLE GAME album includes three of her songs: Tin Angel, Urge For Going and the title cut, Circle Game. (All three are masterpieces!) And Dave Van Ronk's most recent album hits its high point with a lusty interpretation of From Both Sides Now.
More than curious about this new prolific writer, I asked Tom Rush (the first to record one of Joni's songs) about her. He told me simply that she was Canadian and that they'd met some years back in Detroit while she was making the club rounds.
Not more than a week later, her first album, JONI MITCHELL (REPRISE RECORDS) was on the market. Certainly there's little doubt that this album will go down as one of the most important contributions to "folk" music in some time. I personally have some reservations about her singing style and several of the album's cuts, but nevertheless, I Had A King, Night In The City and Cactus Tree are jewels. Though some of her material tends to bog down from over-ornamened poetry, Joni Mitchell still writes the kind of music others want to sing; and today, real songs (no matter what "bag" they're in) are far too rare.
This is definitely the season for talented writers to stand up and be recorded! For years popular folk singers like Richie Havens and Peter, Paul & Mary have delighted audiences with the songs of Gordon Lightfoot (Early Morning Rain, For Lovin' Me, Can't Make It Anymore).
Today however, the gift of Gordon's rich and intensely moving voice has been added to some of his new songs, and the outcome is magnificent—GORDON LIGHTFOOT: DID SHE MENTION MY NAME? (UNITED ARTISTS RECORDS).
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