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Will You Take Me As I Am

  Joni Mitchell's Blue Period

by Michelle Mercer   [Simon & Schuster - 2009]
ISBN-13: 9781416559290
ASIN: 1416559299

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Hey, remember rock criticism? No, not record reviewing, which is what passes for criticism these days. I'm talking about taking an artist, looking over the artist's work, connecting the work and the artist to the larger culture, and drawing conclusions which illuminate the work, the artist, and the culture. Michelle Mercer has created the best piece of rock criticism I've seen in ages with Will You Take Me As I Am. You don't even have to be a Joni Mitchell fan to get excited by it. All that's required is intellectual curiosity and a willingness to entertain some thought-provoking ideas. Neither rockademic nor fan-girl, Mercer shows how it should be done.

-- Ed Ward, Rock and roll historian for Fresh Air with Terry Gross (NPR)

Related articles from the Library:
» Bluer Than You (Jazz Chronicles, 2009)
» Feeling Blue about Joni Mitchell's Blue period (NOW Magazine, 2009)
» Hoppe on the Arts: Bob Dylan & Joni Mitchell (Nuvo (Indianapolis), 2009)
» Joni Mitchell (Herizons, 2010)
» Joni Taught Me To Wait Before Judging Elizabeth (, 2009)
» The Hissing of Summer Lawns (Los Angeles Times, 2009)
» Two Prairie Girls (TMI Weekly (Kansas), 2009)
» Will You Take Me as I Am: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period (Library Journal, 2009)
» Will You Take Me as I Am: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period (Dirty Laundry, 2009)
» Will You Take Me as I Am: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period (Rolling Stone (Germany), 2010)
» Will You Take Me as I Am: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period (Music Box, 2010)

Browse Books and DVDs 

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» Morning Glory On The Vine by Joni Mitchell  1971
» Starart by Deborah Chesher  1979
» Voices: The Work of Joni Mitchell by G Hebert (Editor)  2000


» Joni Mitchell by Leonore Fleischer  1976
» Off the Record by Joe Smith  1988
» Rock Lives by Timothy White  1990
» Music of our Times by Marco Adria  1990
» Paved Paradise by Paul Barrera  1998
» Visionaries: Canadian triumphs by Charles J Humber  1998
» Both Sides Now - The Biography by Brian Hinton  2000
» Shadows and Light by Karen O'Brien  2001
» Joni Mitchell by Mark Bego  2005
» Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller  2008
» Whispering Pines by Jason Schneider  2009
» Joni by Katherine Monk  2012
» Rock Star: by David Shumway  2014

Opinion and Commentary

» The Joni Mitchell Companion by Stacey Luftig  1999
» Rock Troubadours by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers  2000
» Lexikon Der Singer & Songwriter by Christian Graf  2001
» Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, and the Torch Song Tradition by Larry David Smith  2004
» The Rock Cries Out by Steve Stockman  2004
» Court and Spark (33 1/3) by Sean Nelson  2006
» The Music of Joni Mitchell by Lloyd Whitesell  2008
» The World in Six Songs by Daniel Levitin  2008
» Will You Take Me As I Am by Michelle Mercer  2009
» Heavy Rotation by Peter Terzian  2009
» Will You Take Me As I Am by Michelle Mercer  2012
» Gathered Light by Sornberger, Lisa & John  2013


Miscellaneous books

» Architectural Digest Celebrity Homes by Paige Rense  1977
» California Rock, California Sound by Anthony Fawcett  1978
» Joni Mitchell: The Complete Poems and Lyrics by Joni Mitchell  1979
» The Rolling Stone Interviews by Peter Herbst  1981
» Sirens of Song by Aida Pavletich  1982
» Heart of Gold by Martin Melhuish  1983
» Joni Mitchell by Steve Clarke  1985
» Angels of the Night by Wilfrid Mellers  1986
» O'Keefe by Jeffrey Hogrefe  1992
» Strikes 'n' Spares by Ned Powers  1993
» Songs in the Rough by Stephen Bishop  1996
» Before the Gold Rush by Nicholas Jennings  1997
» The Complete Writings of Emily Carr by Emily Carr  1997
» Joni Mitchell: The Complete Poems and Lyrics by Joni Mitchell  1998
» Sitting on my Groceries by Marian Russell  1999
» Rock 'N' Roll Trivia by Michael Harling  2002
» Secret Gardens of Hollywood  by Erica Lennard & Adele Cygelman  2003
» Chelsea Morning by Brian Froud and Joni Mitchell  2004
» Onstuimig indigo by Joni Mitchell/Huib Fens  2006
» California Dreaming by Henry Diltz  2007
» Miss O'Dell by Chris O'Dell  2009
» Canyon of Dreams by Harvey Kubernik  2009
» You Should Have Heard Just What I Seen by James Hamilton  2010
» From Where I Stand by Mary McCartney  2010
» Fire and Rain: by David Browne  2011
» The Circle Game by Brian Deines and Joni Mitchell  2011
» Jack Robinson: On Show: Portraits 1958-72 by Jack Robinson  2011
» Joni Mitchell by Malka Marom  2014

Comments on this Book

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jjrose on 2010-Aug-24 at 14:40:06 GMT-5:
I am so looking forward to this book. It will be, I'm sure reminiscent of a past "Blue" period in my own life. Thank you, Thank you. Kudows
rflynn on 2009-Feb-21 at 16:14:52 GMT-5:
I had the great fortune to read the uncorrected proof of Michelle Mercer's forthcoming book. _Will You Take Me as I Am: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period_ and I can tell you that you are in for a real treat when it comes out in April.

I read a lot of books about music and this one is really distinguished by the high quality of the writing. Mercer breaks with strict chronology that makes run-of-the-mill music criticism so uninteresting. Her discussion about "confessional" songwriting is fully informed by the literary history of confession from Augustine to Robert Lowell. There is a wonderful Joni monologue on Augustine--one of many fascinating excerpts from Mercer's original interviews.

For me, she really captures the core appeal of the records that she focuses on--_Blue_ through _Hejira_--, blending memoir and biography with criticism in useful ways. The book really took me back to my own personal connections with the music. While I like gossip as much as anyone else, this book has none of the prurient interest of Sheila Weller's book; rather, it captures the intricate essence of the music. It has a meditative quality that reminded me precisely about how I felt when I was coming of age with Joni's music. I didn't care about who her boyfriend was; I wanted to know, "How does she understand so well the way I feel?" This book goes a long way toward exploring that question, summed up in the quotation from Wallace Stevens's "The Man with the Blue Guitar" that serves as the book's epigraph:

And they said to him, "But play you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,
A tune upon the blue guitar,
Of things exactly as they are.

The book so exceeded my expectations that I couldn't put it down till I finished it.