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Úvodní stránka » RECORDS » Joni Mitchell — Blue

Joni Mitchell — Blue (June 22, 1971)

CAN Flag                        Joni Mitchell — Blue
•   Blue (1971) is the fourth album of Canadian–born singer–songwriter Joni Mitchell. Exploring the various facets of relationships from infatuation on "A Case of You" to insecurity on "This Flight Tonight", the songs feature simple accompaniments on piano, guitar, and Appalachian dulcimer. Blue was a critical and commercial success, reaching #15 in the Billboard Album charts and #3 in the UK. The single "Carey" reached #93 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Birth name: Roberta Joan Anderson
Born:  November 7, 1943, Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada
Genres: Folk rock, folk jazz, jazz, pop
Occupations: Musician, singer songwriter, painter
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, piano, dulcimer, ukulele, auto–harp
Review by Jason Ankeny;  Score: *****
•   Sad, spare, and beautiful, Blue is the quintessential confessional singer/songwriter album. Forthright and poetic, Joni Mitchell's songs are raw nerves, tales of love and loss (two words with relative meaning here) etched with stunning complexity; even tracks like "All I Want," "My Old Man," and "Carey" — the brightest, most hopeful moments on the record — are darkened by bittersweet moments of sorrow and loneliness. At the same time that songs like "Little Green" (about a child given up for adoption) and the title cut (a hymn to salvation supposedly penned for James Taylor) raise the stakes of confessional folk–pop to new levels of honesty and openness, Mitchell's music moves beyond the constraints of acoustic folk into more intricate and diverse territory, setting the stage for the experimentation of her later work. Unrivaled in its intensity and insight, Blue remains a watershed.
•   Gary Burden Art Direction
•   Sneaky Pete Kleinow Guitar, Pedal Steel, Guitar (Steel)
•   Russ Kunkel Drums
•   Henry Lewy Engineer, Audio Engineer
•   Joni Mitchell Guitar, Piano, Composer, Keyboards, Vocals, Audio Production
•   Stephen Stills Bass, Guitar, Guitar (Bass)
•   James Taylor Jr. Guitar
•   James Taylor Guitar, Vocals
1971     The Billboard 200     #15
All tracks composed and arranged by Joni Mitchell.
01 "All I Want"      3:32
02 "My Old Man"      3:33
03 "Little Green"      3:25
04 "Carey"      3:00
05 "Blue"      3:00
06 "California"      3:48
07 "This Flight Tonight"      2:50
08 "River"      4:00
09 "A Case of You"      4:20
10 "The Last Time I Saw Richard"      4:13
•   Engineer — Henry Lewy
•   Art Direction — Gary Burden
•   Cover Photography — Tim Considine
A Case of You (lyrics):
Just before our love got lost you said
I am as constant as a northern star
And I said, constantly in the darkness
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar
On the back of a carton coaster
In the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada
Oh Canada
With your face sketched on it twice
Oh you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh I would still be on my feet
Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
I'm frightened by the devil
And I'm drawn to those ones that ain't afraid
I remember that time that you told me, you said
Love is touching souls
Surely you touched mine
Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
Still I'd be on my feet
I would still be on my feet
I met a woman
She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life
She knew your devils and your deeds
And she said
Go to him, stay with him if you can
But be prepared to bleed
Oh but you are in my blood you're my holy wine
You're so bitter, bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
Still I'd be on my feet

Website: http://www.jonimitchell.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jonimitchellcom
Released: June 22, 1971
Recorded: 1971, A&M Studios, Los Angeles
— In 2003, Blue was ranked #30 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, the highest placement for a female artist.
— In 2000, Blue won the top spot in Chart's '50 Greatest Canadian Albums of All Time' (Blue was third place in 1996 and 2005).
— In 2007, Blue was ranked second in Bob Mersereau's book The Top 100 Canadian Albums, behind Neil Young's Harvest (which was the second–place finisher in all three Chart polls).
— In 2001, Blue was ranked #14 on VH1's list of the '100 Greatest Albums of All Time', the highest album by a female artist to appear on the list.
Blue was also voted #13 on Hotpress Magazine's 'Top 100 Albums Ever', by various other artists.
— In 2002, Q Magazine named "Blue" the 8th Greatest Album of All–Time by a Female Artist.
Blue was voted #66 in Channel 4's countdown of the '100 Greatest Albums'.
— In 2006, Blue was listed among Time Magazine's 'All–Time 100 Albums'.
— In 1999, Blue was given the honor of a Grammy Hall of Fame award, which is given to recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance".
— In 2004, Pitchfork Media ranked the album #86 on its list "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s".
— In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked the album #02 on its list "Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Female Albums Of All Time."
February 1, 2014: Signed edition of new book sold out.
— The signed edition of the Joni Mitchell: Complete So Far book sold out in a matter of minutes. There were only 50 copies. The unsigned books will come available soon. Click through at this link to save money on the book, and help support the website at the same time.
June 27, 2013: "This Rain" — new poem
— Joni recited a new poem at the Luminato festival last week. The poem is based on the writings of Emily Carr and is part of one of Carr's journals. Thanks to Catherine McKay (with assistance from Vincenzo Mancini) for the transcription.
Is this the wettest place on earth?
My little fire is sputtering.
Oh, now my hot water bottle's gone and burst,
And I'm mean mad about it
And I'm muttering
Soggy biscuits!
Boggy sheets!
The bucket brimming where the canvas leaks.
I smack my dogs for muddy feet.
Oh, this rain, this rain
will not retreat.
That painting I made yesterday —
Who would want to look at it?
It's just a mess!
The greens and greys.
I threw a stupid book at it.
I'd hoped to capture tree–souls in paint.
But hope! That's for idiots and saints.
My trees are incomplete.
Oh, this rain, this rain will not retreat
I wish I had a real good pal,
Someone I could stand to listen to.
I don't care — a guy, a gal,
Just someone who could stand me too.
If I was nicer, less astute,
Less compelled to spew the truth...
For truth is seldom soft and sweet,
And this rain, this rain, this relentless rain
This rain, this rain
Will not retreat.
All big cities make me sick,
Except New York, I don't know why.
Big buildings stretching up brick by brick.
Like my cedar groves, they scrape that sky.
It doesn't rain like this back there.
Oh, it rains enough, just enough to wash the air
and sweep a little litter off the street.
But THIS rain, oh,
This rain will not retreat
I wrote this poem for Emily Carr,
Though she's been dead for quite some time.
Most of these words are hers,
But some are mine.
I made them rhyme.
This rain,
This rain,
Oh, this nasty rain
This rain, this rain.
© Joni Mitchell


***   Joni Mitchell (Reprise, 1968)
***½     Clouds (Reprise, 1969)
****     Ladies of the Canyon (Reprise, 1970)
*****      Blue (Reprise, 1971)
****     For the Roses (Asylum, 1972)
*****      Court and Spark (Asylum, 1974)
***    Miles of Aisles (Asylum, 1974)
***½     The Hissing of Summer Lawns (Asylum, 1975)
***½     Hejira (Asylum, 1976)
***    Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (Asylum, 1977)
***    Mingus (Asylum, 1979)
***    Shadows and Light (Asylum, 1980)
***    Wild Things Run Fast (Geffen, 1982)
**½    Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm (Geffen, 1988)
****     Night Ride Home (Geffen, 1991)
***    Turbulent Indigo (Geffen, 1994)
****½      Hits (Reprise, 1996)
***½     Misses (Reprise, 1996)
***    Taming the Tiger (Geffen, 1998)
***    Both Sides Now (Reprise, 2000)
***    Travelogue (Reprise, 2002)
****     The Complete Geffen Recordings (Geffen, 2003)
***½     The Beginning of Survival (Geffen/UME, 2004)
***    Shine (Hear Music/Universal, 2007)
♣   Joni Mitchell strummed her way out of Canada and into the L.A. music scene in the late Sixties, and it wasn't long before she became rock's preeminent female singer/songwriter. Produced by David Crosby, her sparse debut album reveals a striking, if somewhat fragile, folksinger in the accepted acoustic mode. However, Mitchell's heart–piercing cold–water vocals and restless, self–questioning persona separate her from the competition. Judy Collins scored a Top 10 hit with Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" in 1968; Joni's more contemplative version sets the older–and–wiser tone of Clouds, her much–improved second album. Ladies of the Canyon solidifies those songwriting advances. "Woodstock," too self–conscious to be an all–out anthem, is still Mitchell's most outgoing, least analytical moment. "The Circle Game," the album's closer, asserts Mitchell's ability to express complex emotional states in plain language. A supple chorus puts her personalized message across.
♣   Blue raises the autobiographical stakes and intensifies the melodies; arguably, it's Mitchell's masterpiece. She picks memorable vignettes out of the flood of memories and reflections that accompany an extended journey, spinning off songs like "Carey," "California," and "This Flight Tonight." Though the musical backing (by Stephen Stills, James Taylor, and others) is kept to a minimum, Joni's vocals grow in nuance and complexity. Blue stays under your skin for quite a while.
♣   Starting with For the Roses, Mitchell pushes her musical accompaniment to keep pace with her rapidly evolving singing and writing skills. She's not always successful, but few other singer/songwriters extended their quest to include music as well as lyrics. Certainly, the cozy L.A. cowboy–rock studio scene must have beckoned Joni Mitchell with the lure of easygoing hit singles. True to form, she did it her own way with For the Roses. Saxophone player and bandleader Tom Scott can be a vapid fusion–Muzak meister on his own, but his light jazz coloring underscores the subtle depths of Roses. On Court and Spark, Mitchell and Scott concoct a resonant pop-jazz sound that accommodates both swooning melodies ("Help Me") and blue reflection ("Same Situation") with ease. The buoyant humor of "Raised on Robbery" and the Lambert–Hendricks–Ross novelty "Twisted" makes this Joni's most appealing album (if not her most profound). Recorded on the tour following that album, Miles of Aisles features revamped version of Mitchell's better–known early songs. It's a convenient sampler, but the progression from album to album — a big part of the picture — gets lost on both this concert album and the 1980 live set Shadows and Light.
♣   Naturally, Mitchell pursued her muse into more adventurous territory on the next two albums. Some of the impressionistic snippets on The Hissing of Summer Lawns ("The Jungle Line," "The Boho Dance") never quite register, though the effervescent melancholy of "In France They Kiss on Main Street" and "Don't Interrupt the Sorrow" sinks in deeply over time, as does the hauntingly slow "Shadows and Light." Hejira is even more atmospheric — or formless, depending on your attention level. Bassist Jaco Pastorius keeps up with Mitchell's wandering free-form meditations, while the rest of the music — wintry, detached — lulls in the background. No single track leaps out the way Summer Lawns' best ones do, but overall Hejira leaves the more lasting — if mysteriously vague — impression.
♣   Don Juan's Reckless Daughter seems inevitable now — the double album in search of an editor. This time, a real lack of focus allows the session musicians to hotdog their way through Mitchell's stilted set–pieces. Mingus represents a brave attempted collaboration with the noted jazz bassist and composer; unfortunately, the results are sketchy at best.
♣   Mitchell didn't retire in the Eighties, though her intermittent releases indicate that she'd retreated from the artistic vanguard. Wild Things Run Fast is exactly the sort of competent holding–pattern album — complete with cover versions — that Mitchell went out of her way to avoid in the Seventies. Dog Eat Dog, which came out of left field in 1985, comes closer to being the individualistic challenge fans might expect. ♣   Joni confronts producer Thomas Dolby's synthesized sound with feisty vocals and her most pointed set of songs. Rife with withering political opinions and topical insights, this unsettling album is her best of the period — and her only Eighties album to be deleted, though it's available on 2003's The Complete Geffen Recordings. Avoid Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm; a torrent of borderline New Age–easy–listening blandness washes over even the most thoughtful lyrics. Night Ride Home isn't a comeback so much as a chance to catch up with a long–lost confidante. There's a slight return to the jazz–tinged sound of the mid–Seventies; succinct orchestrations and smoky sax lines curl around Mitchell's most tuneful material since Court and Spark.
♣   The albums Mitchell recorded after returning to Reprise in 1994 revealed the extremes of a deeply reflective artist preoccupied with the passage of time and life's ups and downs: Turbulent Indigo sets dark themes drawn from an ever more troubling world in understated acoustic settings, while the jazz–inflected Taming the Tiger finds her counting her blessings after beginning a relationship with her long–lost daughter, whom she'd given up for adoption in 1965, and grandson. Mitchell's mature voice brings added poignancy to the standards she personalizes on Both Sides Now and the original material she revisits with the support of a 70–piece orchestra on the two–CD Travelogue. Shine is a set of solidly melodic new songs that were colored by Mitchell's cigarette–wracked voice, electronics–specked production, and a Mitchell's gripes about cell phones ("Shine") and global overcrowding ("If I had a Heart").
♣   Strangely, Mitchell has yet to receive the career–spanning box–set treatment — the single–disc collections Hits and Misses only begin to cover her expansive oeuvre — but it's only a matter of time before justice is served.
♣   Portions of this album guide appeared in The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (Fireside, 2004). (http://www.rollingstone.com/)

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