Thursday, 8 May 2014

My Top Ten Joni Mitchell Songs

Recently a columnist in the Guardian did a Top Ten Joni Mitchell songs, which prompted this.

Joni Mitchell writes songs for sensitive girls of all ages and both sexes. But listen carefully, and you’ll hear that she’s nobody’s victim. The Sisterhood doesn’t revere Joni like they do Laura Nyro, whose weird avant-garde genius was tinged with a just the right amount of Sister-friendly victimhood. Joni might be “coming to people’s parties / stumbling, deaf dumb and blind” but she’s not apologising for it, and she’s not blaming anyone, it’s just how she feels, and she’s slightly cross with herself for feeling that way.

Anyway, this set me to thinking what my Top Ten Joni’s are. In the end, pretty much any ten songs from up to 1980 will do, but these are mine:

First and always for me will be Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire

That sinister riff, the haunting vocal and the precise lyrics convey the emptiness and squalor of career-junkie-dom,making Bert Jansch’s Needle of Death a sentimental ditty by comparison. First time I heard this song, one November afternoon in 1972, it blew me away.

Next up is You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio

“I know you don’t like weak women, you get bored so quick / And you don’t like strong women, ‘cause they’re hip to your tricks” – and she never even met me. How did she know? Back then I thought it was the weak (strong) woman’s fault she bored (intimidated) me, but now I know it’s my addict-y character.

The rest I’ll leave to you to find on You Tube.

Carey - from Blue

Conversations - from Ladies of the Canyon

Cactus Tree - from Song to a Seagull

Two Grey Rooms - from Night Ride Home

People’s Parties - from Court and Spark

The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines - from Mingus

Refuge of the Roads - from Hejira

Chelsea Morning - from Clouds

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