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Joni Mitchell

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Lionne posted 2/8/2019 10:55 AM

Her 75th birthday celebration was made into a film, which I saw last night. It prompted me to get out my Joni collection and play it all day.

She had an amazing career peppered with drugs, dysfunction, ego mania. Her poetry amazed me and was a soundtrack to much of my early 20's. Her creative guitar work, including odd, alternative tunings was a constant challenge to me, an adequate player at best. I once had a few gigs in a local venue where, with long blonde hair and soprano-ish voice, I channeled my inner Joni.

She looks terrible, overweight and seemingly unable to walk or stand on her own. I've heard rumors that her childhood polio has affected her health, and clearly, at the last concert where I saw her live, it appeared that she was losing control over her right arm. Apparently she has a condition that seems that she has "fibers" under her skin, and she had an aneurysm a few years ago.

James Taylor, Graham Nash, Kris Kristopherson (who it appears is fighting dementia) were among the artists singing, all most exclusively, her compositions, not an easy feat given her complex songs.

Man, those old rockers are O-L-D!!! Including myself and most of the audience...

It's definitely worth a watch if you are a fan, or even just lived through that time.

[This message edited by Lionne at 11:21 AM, February 8th (Friday)]

Chili posted 2/8/2019 11:29 AM

I loves me some Joni Mitchell songs and all of her art actually...but I've struggled with mixed feelings about "Joni Mitchell" given some choices she's made throughout the years.

Her songs have always been very important to me and man - she sure put so much of herself into her art.

I saw a documentary with her a few years ago and she definitely did not look well. I think it might be difficult for me to see her now. I have a hard time with that - to see Kris battling dementia..sigh. I know Glen Campbell did a filmed tour with his family while struggling with full-blown Alzheimer's...I thought it was just horrible they did that. I can't imagine Glen would really want people to remember him that way....but I ramble.

If you can sing or play her songs - major kudos to you. I simply can't sing that high (or in most of the keys she sang in even as her voice lowered in later years actually). Definitely one of a kind.

Lionne posted 2/8/2019 12:01 PM

Isn't that odd? I too, start to question my taste in music when I find out things about the personal life of those I admire. I've come to the conclusion that I can still enjoy the work while knowing that James Taylor was a bipolar, abusive drug addict, Graham Nash traded in his wife for a newer model, etc. I do draw the line at racism and misogyny. I'll never be able to listen to Leonard Cohen again,

Chili posted 2/8/2019 12:50 PM

Uh-oh....did his "muse-ness" plow right into misogyny? Can't say I know enough about him outside of his songwriting to have discovered this about him.

Do I have another sigh coming?

Lionne posted 2/8/2019 12:55 PM

Yeah. His lyrics often hint at it. If you Google him +mysogyny you'll
get the story.

Have you read Girls Like Us? Joni, Carly, and Carole. Great stories.

FaithFool posted 2/8/2019 13:31 PM

I did a lot of Joni starting out back in the day when my voice was higher, and I loved those open tunings. She touched so many of us and I'm not alone in saying her albums were the soundtrack to so many stages of my life.

I prefer not to watch the decline and will stay in the moment with all those gems of brilliance she will leave us when she goes. What an amazing artist she is on so many levels. Those were the days.

Chili posted 2/8/2019 13:37 PM

Yep, sigh.

Rose colored glasses for me. I read:

"You toss around a couple of allusions, and nobody notices what you’re really up to."

(You have to admit he was brilliant at muddying all sorts of lines in his spirituality as it were).

I have been saddened of late as I remove artists from my playlists, stop watching movies with other actors...even reading some authors. It makes me wonder too about my "taste" sometimes. Or maybe so much is just recently being revealed publicly. My young adult interest in Bob Dylan and Sam Shepard were likewise shattered at some point.

I do not judge those who have the ability to separate the artist from the art. But when *it's* all I can think about when I experience their work - time to go. (Or I refuse to line their pockets with my dollars in some egregious cases).

The book you suggested has been immediately put on my wish list in my book exchange club - thank you. Those are definitely 3 cool chicks.

Sounds like we both kind of dig the singer-songwriter genre in general. Of course, you were all out there gigging in a peasant dress, that long blond hair flowing, with an autoharp across your lap...so duh!

Chili posted 2/8/2019 13:41 PM

PS: apologies for the threadjacking Lionne.

Lionne posted 2/8/2019 14:05 PM

Chili, I'm enjoying the conversation.

Loved the autoharp, but loved my guitar more. Still have several but I don't play anymore.

Faith, the movie was lovely and respectful. Joni was not shown a lot. The interpretation of her songs was awesome. Diana Krall was great, Seal also. I think you'd like it a lot.

sisoon posted 2/8/2019 15:59 PM

Never a Joni fan. I was a Judy Collins fan until she wrote her peon to fishermen for never catching more than they can sell in a day ... but they do. Not much of a Dylan fan after he started to get 'poetic', which in his case meant 'monumentally unintelligible.'

To name a few I think of with some frequency: Woody Guthrie, died way too young. Phil Ochs, died way too young. Buffy Ste.-Marie. Dave van Ronk. Ronnie Gilbert. We heard Buffy a few of years ago - still doing new stuff. Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl. The bluesmen from the Mississippi delta.

Dare I say Tom Lehrer? Nope - he's not in the same league as Guthri, Ochs, etc..

The personal lives tend not to bother me, except for Richard Wagner. He was a total pig, with no redeeming qualities. I'd draw the line at R. Kelly, too, but my line doesn't come close to 21st century music.

latebloomer45 posted 2/8/2019 16:05 PM

James Taylor, at his concerts, of which I have been to seven, almost always speaks with great humility about his addictions, how blessed he feels to still be alive. Makes him all the better IMO.

Had to give up my all time fave Billy Joel when he cheated....and others.

Lionne posted 2/8/2019 16:37 PM

We often feel personally offended if our heroes are proven to be less than admirable. Because of the reason I'm on this web site I cannot stand a certain actress, not because of her personal life, of which I know nothing, but because of the character she played. Obviously a ridiculous and unfair reaction from me.

I have no issues with JT's search for sobriety, nor with his struggles with mental illness. He wasn't a faithful guy. He, like many others, was a dog. I don't know that many of the singer/songwriters of the era had morality that I'd consider "good." Joni clearly didn't.

Sisoon I love all those guys, saw a bunch of them as a young teen in a coffee house near Philadelphia. Also saw Tom Rush, Joni, Stone Ponies, Lightfoot, Livingston Taylor, some others that I'm drawing a blank on, and my all time favorite, Jackson Browne with David Lindley (they played Werewolves in London, a bootleg that is floating around somewhere.)
Drugs were everywhere. So was indiscriminate sex. I was probably the only virgin and non-pot smoker in my crowd. Our local music scene was wonderful in spite of it all. I refuse to believe it was "because" of.

Joni spoke to a lot of those cultural issues especially to young women. Her word imagery is unique and entrancing. But her voice wasn't always appealing to everyone.

I never did like Dylan. His poetry is wonderful but I couldn't get past HIS voice. I clearly remember the angst, the disappointment and the histrionics when he "sold out" by plugging in his guitar.

Oh, if that was the biggest controversy we had to deal with today!

except for Richard Wagner

Right. Through history there are tons of examples of musical geniuses who were nasty human beings. But Wagner was an anti Semitic pig.

FaithFool posted 2/8/2019 17:25 PM

My favourite line of Joni's that sums up the era: "acid, booze and ass, needles, guns and grass, lots of laughs..." <sarcasm>

On a side note, my first big gig for money was opening for Phil Ochs. He was a total sweetheart, impossibly drunk and asked me (in the middle of his set) to help him tune his guitar...

Lionne posted 2/8/2019 18:57 PM

Faith, you are MY hero...I was paid $50 for two 20 minute performances in a tavern where the singer sat in a corner while patrons mingled right at my feet, no stage, no mic. First and last time.

hopefull77 posted 2/9/2019 09:44 AM

There is a beautiful old movie theatre / turned concert venue nearby that has lots of the "old timers" concerts...Saw Graham Nash...he was great
Also Steven Sills &Judi Collins...
For just some good old fun The Happy Together Tour will joggle some good old memories...
I grew up with the HiFi playing music throughout our house...
Then the transistor radio under my pillow listening to the countdown of the top ten ...
Road Trips with the 8 track playing CSN / Buffalo Springfield /Simon & Garfunkle ...
I love music and I love where it takes me...in " good times and in bad" 💗

sisoon posted 2/9/2019 12:03 PM

I was broke as a kid and stuck in Providence. I didn't know of any shows to go to, except amateurs singing in short-lived coffee houses.

Opening for Phil Ochs - WOW! Wow.

Wagner's use by the Nazis is one of the reasons I dislike him. The values he espouses are another. Yet another reason can't be talked about in this forum. I can't figure out how to characterize him easily. To call him a snake is to insult snakes.

Dylan's voice was problematic, to be sure. But his topical civil rights songs helped motivate us when trying to get a bill through our legislature to prohibit racial discrimination in housing.

Stone Poneys - I worked with a guy who was a Stone Poney freak. He was hooked on the singer, talked about her all the time. That was based only on the single; despite the success of 'Different Drum,' he couldn't find the album in Chicago over the 4 months we worked together. Whatever happened to her, anyway? (For those who don't know: think Linda Ronstadt).

In September, 1967, I moved to Chicago and had the benefit of 'The Midnight Special' radio program every Saturday night and New Year's Eve. Ray Nordstrand and Norm Pellegrini played GREAT music every week, so I heard a lot of acts via their show. Delta Blues, Hair, Stan Rogers, Servern Darden, Nichols and May, Newhart, Steve Goodman, John Prine, Country Joe and the Fish, Stan Freburg, Bob and Ray, lots of folk singers live in the WFMT studios.... (I recommend searching for Severn Darden lecture on the universe.)

Money was still a concern, though, so we didn't avail ourselves of the Old Town folk scene. I hated crowds anyway.

In 1968 we moved to Ann Arbor so we heard Bob Seger and the MC5. Neither did much for either of us. We spent limited funds on Buffy - 3rd row center in Hill Auditorium. That was worth every penny and a lot more.

Oh, man, Woodstock is on TCM on demand now....

1, 2, 3, what are we fightin' 4?

Lionne posted 2/9/2019 12:30 PM

That's great history, Sisoon! Oh, for sure, Dylan motivated us. I lived his songs when sung by others.
I live not too far from Asbury Park. Ronstadt traveled a bit without the ponies so I saw her at a local fair. She has Parkinson's and lost much of her range. Last time I saw her in concert, in a big venue, she did a great, albeit short program. But she hit the high note on Blue Bayou!
I'm really tempted to get tickets to the McCartney tour but I know I'll be far, far away from the stage. Not sure it's worth it.

sisoon posted 2/10/2019 10:23 AM

Small world. We used to have friends in Ocean Grove. We regularly walked over to Asbury Park for dinner. Alas, not during festival season.

You can still hear?

[This message edited by sisoon at 10:24 AM, February 10th (Sunday)]

Ripped62 posted 2/10/2019 11:23 AM

Thank you for posting. I will watch the film. Her music both as a singer, song writer, and producer has had a far reaching impact in our society.

Much of what has been done and what we do is because of her impact. Big Yellow Taxi is but one example.

I think I will listen to Blue and Ladies of the Canyon today.

Her art was not as influential....perhaps merely my worthless opinion. I always thought it cool that she did her own album and record covers. Although Big Yellow Taxi looked like something you put on your refrigerator that a child had produced.

Thanks again for each of your comments and discussion. Sometimes we go forward by going back to regain our focus.

[This message edited by Ripped62 at 11:24 AM, February 10th (Sunday)]

Lionne posted 2/10/2019 12:02 PM

I pulled out my cds, too, realized some of my favorites aren't here, but are on Prime music, the free stuff. I'm really enjoying hearing the old lyrics. (How the neck do I remember the lyrics to songs I haven't sung in read but forget the simplest things!?)
Joni was pretty open about who and what her songs referenced. I eat up those stories.
Ah, Sisoon, my hearing is great. The rest of me is falling apart!

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