I am a complete Joni Mitchell nut. I once went for nearly a solid year listening to nothing but Court and Spark
and Ladies of the Canyon
in the car. I’ve easily played those two albums, 500 times each. My life has been immeasurably enriched by her music. There is nothing better to listen to when you are really, really sad, but her more joyous tunes can have you dancing around the house singing along like a fool.
When the we’re all dead and gone and future musical historians write the history of the 20th century’s greatest music, I have no doubt whatsoever that Joni Mitchell’s artistic contribution to our culture will rank alongside those of Lennon and McCartney, Miles Davis, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.
And if you want to know how I really feel…
Here’s a stunning performance of a very young and very beautiful Joni Mitchell (then going by her maiden name of Joan Anderson) on the “Let’s Sing Out” TV show, hosted by the renowned Canadian folk singer Oscar Brand. Here Mitchell sings her own composition, “Urge for Going” which is better known as Tom Rush’s cover version.
I also found this clip. The audio is less than stellar, so turn it up, but what’s interesting about it, is that you can really see her hands playing the guitar. As a child Mitchell caught polio and it left some residual damage in her hands. So to get around this, she created custom tunings that allowed her to play exactly the sound that was in her head, and what her hands would have otherwise had trouble doing. It’s an extraordinary thing to see.