Happy Birthday to Joni and my good friend Gregg. Enjoy your day, both of you… Just don’t sing, Gregg… or try to play the guitar. Happy Birthday to Amanda M, too!!! You can sing AND play the guitar!
I know I forgot to do a birthday blog for the great Kenny Burrell who turned 80 on July 31, so that is obviously overdue and coming for sure. The man is a jazz legend and local hero!
I can also tell you what is coming tomorrow based on the wonderful evening I had at McCabe’s last night… hanging out with some of the band members from The Decemberists. I blogged about their amazing album The King Is Dead in April, but more needs to be discussed… Great, great people one and all and just a joy to see such talented and gifted artists on stage having such utter musical bliss and joy! Man do I love music. I love it!!!
Joni Mitchell – Ladies of the Canyon
I adore this album so much… How have I not done it yet??? This is Joni’s third album and another masterpiece in a career filled with a few of those! Most folks will know the last three songs, which happen to be three of her biggest hits: “Big Yellow Taxi”, “Woodstock” and “The Circle Game”. I love them, too… Especially “Woodstock” and the irony that she actually missed the whole thing. Crazy when you think about it.
But for me, this 1970 album shines most on “For Free”, a song of such brutal honesty and self-realization and also striking beauty. Not many artists would describe things so openly like Joni does. But that is the power of her music and writing. The adjectives describing that song can also describe Joni Mitchell herself… beautiful, honest and unafraid… She is and has always been a musician and writer who never shies away from taking a flashlight and microscope to her own life!
Joni was clearly influenced by the Laurel Canyon music scene of the ’60s (thus the title) and of course, Crosby, Stills and Nash. This would include music, friendship, romance and heartbreak… in other words… A LOT of songwriting material! I was just admiring her artwork for the cover of their So Far album with Neil Young yesterday… the one he refuses to sign for me! I wonder if she would sign it… Hmmm…
I was going to start picking out other tracks I love, like “Morning Morgantown” and “Conversation” but there is not anything but great songs here… each and every one. It does make me frustrated to know that too many artists no longer make albums with so much thought and heart… a hit song or two and they are good to go, along with a record with a lot of filler…
I guess that is why I am a true classic rocker… Back then it was all about the album… writing great songs, but making sure they tied together and all meant something…
This album is absolutely gorgeous and lets us in on what’s to come… elements of jazz and an even deeper musical understanding and sophistication… Folky singer/songwriter, yes… but so much more… always so much more with Joni.
Happy, happy birthday… Thank YOU for the gifts!