Sunday, June 10, 2007


I went to Staten Island, Sharon,
to buy myself a mandolin.

(Joni Mitchell, "Song for Sharon," Hejira)

I have not listened to this album for ages; in fact, it's the only Joni CD I own. So brilliant to hear it again, one that I listened to all the time in the eighties. I don't think it is entirely to everyone's taste, as it is quite melancholy, but it's right up my own alley (where a cheerful person who has melancholy tastes lives).

I'll jam with Joni on mandolins any time she likes!


mrjumbo said...

While on the topic of music, I feel obliged to note that the Traveling Wilburys boxed set (Volumes One and Three, plus a DVD) is supposed to hit the streets in the U.S. today. So for anyone who likes Bob Dylan, or George Harrison, or Roy Orbison or Tom Petty or Jeff Lynne or Jim Keltner or any of the other Wilburys, there's a new reason to spend some cash money.

I don't believe Joni was involved with that project.

I do love her in The Band's "The Last Waltz," though, singing "No Regrets, Coyote" and "Furry Sings the Blues." I think of her voice often when I'm riding, usually when I'm in marshland and I pass some egrets.

Everyone has their own version of a song.

Andrew Shields said...

No egrets, Coyote! :-)

Both those songs are on "Hejira," as I assume you know already.

"There's comfort in melancholy."

Thanks for the Wilburys tip.

Donald Brown said...

I never owned "Hejira" but I remember when it came out in '76 or '77 and was played in its entirety by WYSP in Philly, and certain tracks became regulars in the playlist. It struck me at the time (no great Mitchell fan, but I loved "The Hissing of Summer Lawns" album) as going too much into jazz -- which she subsequently did even more. I'd love to hear the album again sometime.

As to "Coyote" with The Band: I love that version of the song. Watch the expression on her face on the final "free...freeway." Unfortunately neither the film or vinyl LP present "Furry" -- maybe it's on the CD?

Andrew Shields said...

Jazz: Yes, Joni got a lot of attention for her to turn to jazz, but "Hejira" is an album of songs played by jazz musicians, not a jazz album. For a long time, the album that seemed closest to it in feel to me was "Astral Weeks" -- the main difference being, of course, that "Hejira" is mostly electric and AW is all acoustic. But the special effect of a "pop" record played by jazz musicians being give room to flex their muscles in the arrangements is there. ("Pop" here in the broadest possible sense, of course, and for lack of a better word.)