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Mitchell, Baez albums get mixed reviews Print-ready version

by J Eddie Field
Trintonian (Trinity University)
December 3, 1976
Original article: PDF

The Turkey weekend record sales were marked with the appearance of Joni Mitchell's new record titled, "Hejira." Mitchell's nine songs have a pleasant melody with small light progressions that act as the backrop [sic] for her spelling of verbal poetry - that's the summation of this record in a nut.

The album's lead is "Coyote" and is the best of the collection. The song has a swift beat and the words dance with Mitchell's high voice geared in quick delivery. "Coyote" rolls along with little rhyme and a quick two-line refrain: "You just picked up a hitcher./ A prisoner of the white line on the freeway"

Here is the style mastered by Mitchell, but she peaked right off and leveled out to a very even pace; songs like "Amella [sic]," "A Strange Boy," and "Hejira" and like the verbal movies found on "The Hissing of Summer Lawn [sic]."

The task of weeding through the lyrics will reward a few excited metaphors, but not a total high. Grab what you can, while most songs will eventually grown on you, the search for favorable ground takes longer with this album.

"Furry Sings the Blues," "Song for Sharon" and "Refuge of the Roads" are lengthy epics with Mitchell on the prowl. First we meet Old Furry, a blues singer in Memphis, and Mitchell's attempts to relate with her fellow singer fail. Mitchell asks: "Why should I expect that old guy to give it to me true."

In "Song for Sharon" Mitchell questions Sharon endlessly about marriage, and the song is a fine showcase for Mitchell's cynical humor. "There's a gypsy down on Bleecker Street/ I went in to see her as a kind of joke/ And she lit a candle for my love luck/ And eighteen bucks went up in smoke."

"Blue Motel Room" offers a sea of sweet sorrow for the diehard Mitchell freak. This seedy smoked-filled night club song is painful. Oooee wee! The ploy of the love starved singer can be heard so long, and I'm past my limit.

The album is a lyrical travelogue that ends with "Refuge of the Roads" that is a barrage of images from traveling the highways. Like many roads the song is too long and monotonous.

I was warned by the cover of Mitchell as a modern day Garbo with a picture of a rolling highway superimposed in her body, but I still wanted to travel along these songs. The talent of Joni Mitchell is not to be overlooked, and I'm just waiting until her next release.

I wonder what is left for the blonde haired goddess of love songs to do. Why not pack up her guitar and be the guest host of NBC Saturday Night?

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