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Archives - Volume 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) Print-ready version

Hi-Fi World
April 2022
Original article: PDF

Volume 1 of this impressive archival series followed the story of Mitchell The Younger, getting to grips with her talent, creating demos, building confidence within live scenarios and the like. Creating an artistic foundation, in other words, finding her boundaries, discovering her capabilities. This box set moves the story into a more hectic and demanding existence.

From the 1968 debut 'Song to a Seagull' that includes home demos and a major live outing of twenty-three tracks at the Le Hibou Coffee House (1968) plus outtakes from the album. Then we're straight into 'Clouds' combining home-based demos, TV-based demos (the Dick Cavett Show in 1969 is one of those) and the 1 February 1969 Carnegie Hall concert (22 tracks).

There's a fascinating sense of evolution that derives from combining the familiar with the rough and ready, that are sometimes dependent on location. So demos at friend's houses tend to be more 'kickback-and-relax' affairs. The creation process is also illustrated as some songs feature wordless singing while the right words are still to be found.

What is impressive is the speed of this evolution. That Carnegie appearance contrasts, sometimes starkly, with some of the early versions of the same song just a year earlier.

'Ladies of the Canyon' (1970) is explored via a range of 1969 demos while the masterful 'Blue' (1971) is addressed during a BBC 'In Concert' rendition of twenty-three tracks and more.

Mastering is varied, as you might expect from a compilation - yet Rhino has done a good job. Nevertheless, the point of this set is that it exists in the first place. Essential for Mitchell fans.

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Added to Library on October 21, 2023. (460)

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