Los Angeles, June 5
Joni Mitchell, Hedge & Donna; $2.50 admission
Sweet and solemn Joni Mitchell made her L.A. nitery bow here Tuesday (4) for what augurs as solid biz throughout her two-week stand. She's a sound and thorough folk warbler who needs little instruction in the rudiments of lilting one sad song after another, which definitely helped to mesmerize the capacity audience. For her first frame, Miss Mitchell is being supported by the vastly improving Hedge & Donna[;] next week it will be comic Dave Van Ronk.
The Canadian-born, delicately-appearing Miss Mitchell's only mistake is that she has too much sameness in her repertoire. Perhaps, though, that is her style with her one Warners-7 Arts album, something which has prompted her into thinking it's the way to fly on p.a.'s. It's really not good showmanship, with a few livelier ones like her well received, upbeat closer, "It Was A Chelsea Morning," serving as better fare for swifter pacing.
Otherwise, Miss Mitchell really has it as a performer and personality. With her long, silken blonde hair and fresh-as-spring look, she resembles one of those fair maidens out of a Prince Valiant comic strip. The tone is true, articulation exceptional and musicianship excellent. Accompanying herself on guitar, Miss Mitchell has a fascinating assuredness in romping through her 50-minute set of personal compositions. If it isn't a touching "Roses Blue," it's rolling a natural on "Seasons Go Round and Round In The Circle Game."
Hedge & Donna put forth a spirited 35-minute turn but, like Miss Mitchell, tend to get a little too downbeat in their material. Donna is actually the front-runner in the one-two attack. They have fine audience rapport and, through showing an extreme tenseness in delivery, they come off in a loose, smooth working manner. It's their third reprise here over past several months. Intricate backing is provided by C. C. Carter, congas, and "Chops" Moore, bass guitar.
Next complete change of bill, June 18: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
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