An individual's performance of his own material, especially in the folk vein, is rather a personal thing. Much more so than a group, a lone performer has an opportunity to communicate something more than just his music. Friday night in a modified folk concert, both Joni Mitchell and John Fahey took advantage of this opportunity but in different ways, therefore appealing to different kinds of people.
Although Joni Mitchell's delivery is a derivative of Judy Collins', a comparison is unfair, for her youth, freshness, and inexperience can't be compared to Judy Collins' more mature and generally more powerful style. Miss Mitchell was a little unsure of herself, but really had no reason to be, for she had a lovely voice and a fine lyrical sense in her phrasing. Taking advantage of open tunings, her guitar was always adequate, and in some songs, the California kitchen songs for example, it became an integral part of the song - not just background. Her songs were very personal, about people she knew or places and things she had enjoyed or that saddened her; but since everyone's experiences aren't the same, she sacrificed universality in her songs, cutting down her appeal to some people. Her themes were common ones, (loneliness, alienation, joy of "being alive") and I felt that only the depth of feeling behind them and the delicate way in which they were handled saved them from being trite. In all, however, her performance was quite good and should improve with experience and confidence.
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