Billie Joe Becoat – Reflections From A Cracked Mirror (1969)

FrontCover1Becoat made a little-known 1969 folk-rock album for Fantasy that leaned closer to folk than rock, although it did use a light rhythm section. Reflections From a Cracked Mirror was an apt title considering the rather scrambled, earnest reflections of the singer/songwriter. His vocal delivery is like a cross between Van Morrison and Dino Valenti, as odd as that combination might sound. Although there are full-band arrangements, the impression is that of a folky troubadour being dragged into the modern era, with bluesy and reasonably tuneful, well-sung compositions whose lyrics are considerably more downcast than the relatively upbeat music. The songs are those of a man approaching the edge, hounded by some internal demons and an external society with which he’s finding hard to cope. It wouldn’t have been at all surprising to come across him a few years later, scraping a living on the street as a busker, unable to adjust to any other job, after his album sold virtually nothing.

“I’ve got everything I need to drive me on out of my feeble mind,” sings Becoat in “I’ve Got Everything I Need,” and that’s a fair signal that we’re dealing with a fellow whose worldview is both self-aware and skewed. Becoat sings — without undue self-pity, it should be noted — about crumbling relationships, the failure of anyone to take responsibility for inner city rioting (“Who Struck the Match?”), chaotic domestic situations, and the inability of educational and social institutions to meet his needs and expectations.

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It’s the sound of a man who could be just a few months away from becoming a junkie or dropout, fleeing his wife and children, or suffering a nervous breakdown, but managing to keep a fairly level if anguished head for the moment. It’s a peculiar and somewhat interesting recording, but not so musically excellent as to merit a belated cult following, on the order of other cracked late-1960s acid folkies like Skip Spence or Dino Valenti. It’s also not as fully served by the production as it could be, the skeletal arrangements favoring acoustic guitar, the accompanying bass and drums tentatively running through and adjusting to the offbeat tunes, rather than confidently complementing them. (by Richie Unterberger)

What a great album from one of these loosers of music history … lisen to “Caledonia, The Second” and you´ll know what I mean … a singer/songwriter with such a strong blues and soul power in his voice …

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Personnel:
Billie Joe Becoat (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
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unknown bassplayer and drummer

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Tracklist:
01. And I Was Gone 2.43
02.  Caledonia, The Second 4.09
03. Hi Fiddle Dee Fee 2.11
04. Hold On, Boy 4.14
05. I Guess I’ll Have To Learn To Fly 2.55
06. I’m A Good Man, A Sweet Man 2.58
07. I’ve Got Everything I Need 3.32
08. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep 2.46
09. Sheepskin Blues 2.59
10. Who Struck The Match? 2.09

All songs written by Billie Joe Becoat

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Roy Harper – Stormcock (1971)

FrontCover1Stormcock is the fifth album by English folk / rock singer-songwriter and guitarist Roy Harper. It was first released in 1971 by Harvest Records and is widely considered his best record.

Harper was inspired by a trip to, and time spent in, Big Sur, California. “Me And My Woman” is a love song backed by David Bedford’s orchestral arrangements (Bedford would also collaborate on some of Harper’s later releases). “Hors D’Oeuvres” was inspired by the fate of Caryl Chessman who spent nearly 12 years on death row – at the time the longest ever in the United States – before being executed in a gas chamber in May 1960. “One Man Rock’n’Roll Band” is a critique on the pointlessness of violence.

“Same Old Rock” is an attack on government, the history of war, and organized religion featuring both guitar work and a final intense solo by Jimmy Page.

The album’s four extended songs showcase Harper’s talents, both as a songwriter and guitarist. But, significantly, Stormcock “…epitomized a hybrid genre that had no exclusive purveyors save Harper — epic progressive acoustic.”.

At the time, the album was not particularly well promoted by Harper’s record label. Harper later stated:

RoyHarper01They hated Stormcock. No singles. No way of promoting it on the radio. They said there wasn’t any money to market it. Stormcock dribbled out.

Nonetheless, Stormcock would remain a favourite album of Harper’s fans. In October 2013 NME placed Stormcock at 377 in their list of “The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”

Although the album features Jimmy Page on guitar, upon its release, Page was credited as “S. Flavius Mercurius” for contractual reasons.

In 2006, 35 years after its initial release, fellow Mancunian Johnny Marr of English alternative rock band The Smiths said:

If ever there was a secret weapon of a record it would be Stormcock. I don’t know why it’s such a secret. If anyone thinks it might be a collection of lovely songs by some twee old folkie then they’d be mistaken. It’s intense and beautiful and clever: [Bowie’s] Hunky Dory’s big, badder brother.

The album’s title, Stormcock, is an old English name for the Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus). The male of this species “is most vocal in the early morning” and has a “tendency to sing after, and sometimes during, wet and windy weather” which “led to the name “Stormcock””. It is also, perhaps, a metaphor for Harper himself. Harper has an appreciation of birdlife and has made reference to many birds within songs on his albums. (by wikipedia)

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Roy Harper achieved some acclaim with releases like his debut, Sophisticated Beggar, and Flat Baroque and Berserk, but 1971’s Stormcock was his first effort that was a fully realized success. Even though all four long songs on the record were arguably superior in subsequent live versions, this is one of only a handful of Harper’s albums that has no weak cuts. “Hors d’Oeuvres” had been previewed two years earlier in a faster incarnation, but this version is pleasingly lethargic in a way much like Pink Floyd’s “Fearless.” “The Same Old Rock” is an extended musical poem about the narrow-mindedness of organized religion and features several movements, including one of Jimmy Page’s best solos, even though the notes list Page as S. Flavius Mercurius. After the strangely melodic “One Man Rock and Roll Band,” the album ends with the grand “Me and My Woman.” This version, while slower than the definitive live take from Flashes From the Archives of Oblivion, features lush orchestration by David Bedford. All four lyrics could stand on their own, showing Harper’s vision to be much more profound than the typical stoned poet.

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His musicianship on acoustic guitar is revelatory, at once thoughtful and hard-edged. Stormcock, in fact, epitomized a hybrid genre that had no exclusive purveyors save Harper — epic progressive acoustic. In this style, Harper amalgamated the best elements of associates Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and folk artists like Bert Jansch into a winning stew of thought-provoking acoustic music. Harper dabbled in this style with mostly good results for the rest of his career, but never again would one of his albums exclusively have these type of songs on it. Stormcock represents a truly original vision comprised of oft-heard parts rarely assembled and therefore is on par with other heavyweights from the class of 1971 such as Led Zeppelin IV or Meddle. (by Brian Downing)

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Personnel:
Roy Harper (guitar, vocals, piano)
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David Bedford (organ)
S. Flavius Mercurius (Jimmy Page) (guitar on 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. Hors d’œuvres 8.37
02. The Same Old Rock 12.24
03. One Man Rock And Roll Band 7.23
04. Me And My Woman 13.01

All somgs  written by Roy Harper.

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Bob Dylan – Another Side Of Bob Dylan (1964)

FrontCover1Another Side of Bob Dylan is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 8, 1964 by Columbia Records.

The album deviates from the more socially conscious style which Dylan had developed with his previous LP, The Times They Are A-Changin’. The change prompted criticism from some influential figures in the folk community – Sing Out! editor Irwin Silber complained that Dylan had “somehow lost touch with people” and was caught up in “the paraphernalia of fame”.

Despite the album’s thematic shift, Dylan performed the entirety of Another Side of Bob Dylan as he had previous records – solo. In addition to his usual acoustic guitar and harmonica, Dylan provides piano on one selection, “Black Crow Blues”. Another Side of Bob Dylan reached No. 43 in the US (although it eventually went gold), and peaked at No. 8 on the UK charts in 1965.

With Dylan’s commercial profile on the rise, Columbia was now urging Dylan to release a steady stream of recordings. Upon Dylan’s return to New York, studio time was quickly scheduled, with Tom Wilson back as producer.

Dylan01The first (and only) session was held on June 9 at Columbia’s Studio A in New York. According to Heylin, “while polishing off a couple of bottles of Beaujolais”, Dylan recorded fourteen original compositions that night, eleven of which were chosen for the final album. The three that were ultimately rejected were “Denise Denise”, “Mr. Tambourine Man”, and “Mama, You Been on My Mind”.

Nat Hentoff’s The New Yorker article in late October 1964 on Dylan includes remarkable descriptions of the June 1964 recording session. Hentoff describes in considerable detail the atmosphere in the CBS recording studio and Dylan’s own asides and banter with his friends in the studio, with the session’s producers, and Hentoff himself.

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott was present during part of this session, and Dylan asked him to perform on “Mr. Tambourine Man”. “He invited me to sing on it with him,” recalls Elliott, “but I didn’t know the words ‘cept for the chorus, so I just harmonized with him on the chorus.” Only one complete take was recorded, with Dylan stumbling on some of the lyrics. Though the recording was ultimately rejected, Dylan would return to the song for his next album.

By the time Dylan recorded what was ultimately the master take of “My Back Pages”, it was 1:30 in the morning. Master takes were selected, and after some minor editing, a final album was soon sequenced. (by wikipedia)

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The other side of Bob Dylan referred to in the title is presumably his romantic, absurdist, and whimsical one — anything that wasn’t featured on the staunchly folky, protest-heavy Times They Are a-Changin’, really. Because of this, Another Side of Bob Dylan is a more varied record and it’s more successful, too, since it captures Dylan expanding his music, turning in imaginative, poetic performances on love songs and protest tunes alike. This has an equal number of classics to its predecessor, actually, with “All I Really Want to Do,” “Chimes of Freedom,” “My Back Pages,” “I Don’t’ Believe You,” and “It Ain’t Me Babe” standing among his standards, but the key to the record’s success is the album tracks, which are graceful, poetic, and layered. Both the lyrics and music have gotten deeper and Dylan’s trying more things — this, in its construction and attitude, is hardly strictly folk, as it encompasses far more than that. The result is one of his very best records, a lovely intimate affair. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. All I Really Want To Do 4.02
02. Black Crow Blues 3.12
03. Spanish Harlem Incident 2.22
04. Chimes Of Freedom 7.09
05. I Shall Be Free No. 10 4.45
06. To Ramona 3.50
07. Motorpsycho Nitemare 4.31
08. My Back Pages 4.20
09. I Don’t Believe You 4.20
10. Ballad In Plain D 8.15
11. It Ain’t Me Babe 3.30

All songs written by Bob Dylan

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Levon Helm – Electric Dirt (2009)

FrontCover1Electric Dirt is the final studio album from American musician Levon Helm, released in 2009. It is the follow-up to his Grammy-winning 2007 album Dirt Farmer. In Uncut’s list of the 150 best albums between 2000 through 2009, Electric Dirt was listed 80th. It won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Americana Album, an inaugural category in 2010. (by wikipedia)

In a musical career that has spanned six decades, Levon Helm has made more than a few excellent albums working with other folks — most notably as drummer and vocalist with the Band, as well as backing Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, John Martyn, Rufus Wainwright, and literally dozens of others. But as a solo artist, Helm’s record has been considerably spottier, with well-intended disappointments outnumbering genuine successes, so it’s good to report that at the age of 69, Helm has found his second wind as a recording artist, cutting two of his most satisfying solo sets in a row. Following 2007’s excellent Dirt Farmer, Electric Dirt is every bit as impressive and finds him sounding even stronger than he did on that comeback set. Dirt Farmer was Helm’s first album after a bout with throat cancer nearly silenced him, and his vocals sounded firmly committed but just a bit strained; two years on, Helm’s voice is nearly as supple as it was during his days with the Band, and even when it shows signs of wear and tear, his sense of phrasing and his ability to bring the characters in these songs to life are as good as they’ve ever been.

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While Dirt Farmer leaned toward acoustic music in the Appalachian tradition, Electric Dirt aims for a broader and more eclectic sound; “Golden Bird” sounds as if it could have been gleaned from the Harry Smith anthology, but the opening cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed” swings with a solid New Orleans groove like an outtake from the Rock of Ages concerts, a pair of Muddy Waters numbers are subtle but passionate acoustic blues, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” is joyous gospel-infused R&B, and “White Dove” is fervent and heartfelt traditional country. Larry Campbell, who co-produced Dirt Farmer, returned for these sessions, as did most of the same band, bringing a similarly organic touch to the music, and the bigger sound of this album seems to suit everyone involved, with Helm’s drumming sounding especially lively and well-grounded. And though Helm only wrote two songs for this album, they’re two good ones, especially “Growin’ Trade,” a tale of an aging farmer who has taken to raising marijuana, and what could easily have been played as a joke is a moving account of one man’s conscience as it wrestles with his heritage and love of the land. Not unlike his old buddy Bob Dylan from Time Out of Mind onward, Levon Helm seems to have rediscovered his knack for making great records in what some might have imagined would be the latter days of his career; Electric Dirt sounds fresh, emphatic, and as effective as anything Levon has cut since the mid-’70s, and one can only hope he has a few more discs in him just this good. (by Mark Deming)

But … this was his last album … what a great album ! What a great good bye …

Inside-2A

Personnel:
Larry Campbell (guitar, vocals, fiddle, mandolin, dulcimer)
Levon Helm vocals, drums, mandolin)
Byron Isaacs (bass, background vocals)
Brian Mitchell (keyoards, harmonium, accordion)
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Steven Bernstein (horn, cornet, trumpet on 01., 07. 10. + 11.)
Jay Collins (saxophone, vocals on 01., 06., 07., 09. + 11.)
Clark Gayton (trombone, tuba on 01., 07. 10. + 11.)
Amy Helm (bass, drum, vocals on 02. – 04., 06., 07., 09. – 11.)
Howard Johnson (tuba on 01., 07. + 11.)
Erik Lawrence (saxophone, trombone, tuba on 01., 07., 10. + 11.)
George Receli (background vocals on 04.)
Catherine Russell (vocals on 11.)
Jimmy Vivino (organ, guitar on 01. + 02.)
Teresa Williams (autoharp, guitar, vocals on 01 – 04., 06., 07.  + 09. – 11.)

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Tracklist:
01. Tennesse Jed (Garcia/Hunter)
02. Move Along Train (R.Staples)
03. Growin’ Trade (Campbell/L.Helm)
04. Golden Bird (Traum)
05. Stuff You Watch (Morganfield)
06. White Dove (Stanley)
07. Kingfish (Newman)
08. You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Ever Had (Morganfield)
09. When I Go Away (Campbell)
10. Heaven’s Pearls (A.Helm/Leone/Isaacs/McBain/Patscha)
11. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (Taylor/Lamb)
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Levon Helm (May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012)

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior – Folk Songs Of Old England (Vol.1) (1968)

OriginalFrontCover1Before helping to form Folk Rock group Steeleye Span, Maddy Prior and Tim Hart recorded this album in a small recording studio set up in the owner’s front room. This album, Folk songs of olde England volume one was released on Tee Pee Records in 1968. It took three hours to record and although there are mistakes in some of the lyrical pronunciation it is a beautiful album.
The album features a very simplistic arrangement of the songs with Maddy on vocals and 5 string banjo. And Tim Hart on vocals, guitar, fiddle, and banjo.
This extraordinary album is raw in its performance and there is fine harmonisation and a great selection of songs.
The songs include The “Rambling Sailor”, “Adieu sweet Nancy”, “The stately southerner”, “Babes in the wood” and “Adam and Eve”. These songs are performed without instruments.
Other songs such as the beautiful “Maid that is deep in love”, and the jaunty “Bruton Town”, the lamenting “Farewell Nancy”, and the marvellous “who’s the fool now” are all fantastic illustrations of England’s colourful heritage.
This release does not have the original art work or front cover but the sound is good despite the fact that the recording was made in mono.
The performance is full of spirit and passion and it is a very special album indeed. (Marcia)

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The first album by the trad folk duo of Tim Hart and Maddy Prior, Folk Songs of Olde England, Vol. 1, is as interesting for what came of it as for what it is. This album, recorded in 1968, led directly to the formation of Steeleye Span, whose early albums were an electrified variation on this album’s traditional acoustic British folk-rock. It could also be argued that Hart and Prior’s example was influential in Fairport Convention’s decision to move from a California-style folk-rock sound into something more uniquely British. In light of what came after, Folk Songs of Olde England, Vol. 1 sounds a bit tentative and at times slightly twee (Prior’s voice has not quite matured into the rich, expressive instrument it would soon become), but on their own merits, these sensitive renditions of traditional British folk favorites like “Maid That’s Deep in Love” or “A Wager a Wager” are respectful of tradition but not bound to it, performed with an infectious enthusiasm quite similar to what the Young Tradition were doing around the same period. (by Stewart Mason)

I guess this was one of the most important albums of the early British folk boom in the Sixties.

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Personnel:
Maddy Prior (vocals)
Tim Hart (guitar,banjo, vocals)

BookletA

Tracklist:
01. Lish Young Buy-a-Broom 3.07
02. Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy 2.40
03. Maid That’s Deep In Love 4.15
04. The Rambling Sailor 2.28
05. Bruton Town 4.16
06. Farewell Nancy 2.07
07. The Dalesman’s Litany 4.54
08. The Brisk Young Butcher 2.53
09. The Stately Southerner 2.26
10. Who’s The Fool Now 2.35
11. A Wager A Wager 2.42
12. Babes In The Woods 2.21
13. Adam And Eve 0.54

All songs: Traditional

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Buffy Sainte-Marie – Fire & Fleet & Candlelight (1967)

OriginalFrontCover1Fire & Fleet & Candlelight is the fourth album by Cree singer and songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

More than its predecessor Little Wheel Spin and Spin, it marked a significant departure from the simple folk songs of her first two albums. Following the same path that Joan Baez and Judy Collins were taking at the time, Sainte-Marie relies on the orchestration of Peter Schickele on “Summer Boy”, “The Carousel” and “Hey Little Bird”. In contrast, “The Circle Game” and “97 Men in This Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down” feature for the first time a full rock band consisting of Bruce Langhorne on electric guitar, Alexis Rogers on drums and Russ Savakus on bass. “Song to a Seagull”, the other Joni Mitchell song, is a much simpler voice-and-guitar rendition.

Her version of the traditional hymn “Lyke Wake Dirge” predates the version by Pentangle by over two years and the album’s title is taken from one of the lines in that song’s chorus. “T’Es Pas un Autre” is a French language reworking of her well-known composition “Until It’s Time for You to Go” that she originally recorded on her second album Many a Mile.

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Fire & Fleet & Candlelight was ridiculously over-eclectic, so much so that it comes as a surprise when the 14 songs have finished to find that the total length of the album is a mere 37 minutes. That doesn’t mean there’s not some worthy material, but the arrangements and material are all over the place. Variety is a good thing, but only when the quality is extremely consistent, and this 1967 album is erratic. “The Seeds of Brotherhood” is so in line with the kind of utopian singalong common to the folk revival that it inadvertently sounds like a parody of itself. Yet songs with orchestral arrangement by Peter Schickele are entirely different, with “Summer Boy” and “The Carousel” going into the Baroque-folk that Judy Collins was mastering during the same era.

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Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game” and “Song to a Seagull” both predate Mitchell’s release of her own versions, and “The Circle Game” sounds like Sainte-Marie’s shot at making it into a hit single, with more straightforward pop/rock production than anything else she cut at the time. “Song to a Seagull,” by contrast, is quite close in arrangement and vocal delivery to the treatment Mitchell gave it on her 1968 debut album. Her interpretation of the traditional “Lyke Wake Dirge” verges on the creepy; her cover of Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s “Doggett’s Gap” goes way back to her earliest folk roots, complete with mouth-bow; “97 Men in This Here Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down” is her fling at good-timey rock. There are yet more cuts that catch you off-guard, like the French-language pop reworking of her “Until It’s Time for You to Go”; “Reynardine — A Vampire Legend,” a traditional song with only vocals and mouth-bow; and “Hey, Little Bird,” whose upbeat symphonic pop vaguely foreshadows her songs for Sesame Street. Though not without its rewards, on the whole it’s an unnerving record. (by by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Buffy Sainte-Marie
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on “The Circle Game” and “97 Men in This Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down”:

Bruce Langhorne (guitar)
Alexis Rogers (drums)
Russ Savakus (bass)

OriginalBackCover
Tracklist:
01. The Seeds Of Brotherhood (Sainte-Marie) 1.28
02. Summer Boy (Sainte-Marie)  2.41
03. The Circle Game (Mitchell) 3.02
04. Lyke Wake Dirge (Britten/Traditional) 3.47
05. Song To A Seagull (Mitchell) 3.22
06. Doggett’s Gap (Lamar/Lunsford) 1.39
07. The Wedding Song (Sainte-Marie) 2.18
08. 97 Men in This Here Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down (Sainte-Marie) 3.07
09. Lord Randall (Traditional) 3.30
10. The Carousel (Sainte-Marie) 2.34
11. T’es Pas un Autre (Sainte-Marie) 2.56
12. Little Boy Dark Eyes (Sainte-Marie) 1.38
13. Reynardine (A Vampire Legend) (Traditional) 2.58
14. Hey Little Bird (Sainte-Marie) 2.13

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Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)

FrontCover1Blue is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Exploring the various facets of relationships from infatuation on “A Case of You” to insecurity on “This Flight Tonight”, the songs feature simple accompaniments on piano, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. The album peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and number 15 on the Blllboard 200.Blue is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Exploring the various facets of relationships from infatuation on “A Case of You” to insecurity on “This Flight Tonight”, the songs feature simple accompaniments on piano, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. The album peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and number 15 on the Blllboard 200.
Today, Blue is generally regarded by music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time; Mitchell’s songwriting and compositions are frequent areas of praise. In January 2000, The New York Times chose Blue as one of the 25 albums that represented “turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music”. In 2012, Blue was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, the highest entry by a female artist. In July 2017, Blue was chosen by NPR as the greatest album of all time made by a woman.

Despite the success of her first three albums and songs like “Woodstock”, January 1970 saw Mitchell make a decision to break from performing. In early spring 1970, she set off on a vacation around Europe. While on the island of Formentera, she wrote some of the songs that appear on Blue. This journey was the backdrop for the songs “Carey” and “California.” Some of the songs on Blue were inspired by Mitchell’s 1968-1970 relationship with Graham Nash. Their relationship was already troubled when she left for Europe, and it was while she was on Formentera that she sent Nash the telegram that let him know that their relationship was over.[ The songs “My Old Man” and “River” are thought to be inspired by their relationship.

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Another pivotal experience in Mitchell’s life that drove the emergence of the album was her relationship with James Taylor. She had begun an intense relationship with Taylor by the summer of 1970, visiting him on the set of the movie Two-Lane Blacktop, the aura of which is referred to in “This Flight Tonight”. The songs “Blue” and “All I Want” have specific references to her relationship with Taylor, such as a sweater that she knitted for him at the time, and his heroin addiction. During the making of Blue in January 1971, they were still very much in love and involved. Despite his difficulties, Mitchell evidently felt that she had found the person with whom she could pair-bond in Taylor. By March, his fame exploded, causing friction. She was reportedly devastated when he broke off the relationship.

The album was almost released in a somewhat different form. In March 1971, completed masters for the album were ready for production. Originally, there were three old songs that had not found their way onto any of her previous albums. At the last minute, Mitchell decided to remove two of the three so that she could add the new songs “All I Want” and “The Last Time I Saw Richard”. The two songs removed were:
“Urge for Going” – her first song to achieve commercial success when recorded by country singer George Hamilton IV. It was later released as the B-side of “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” and again on her 1996 compilation album, Hits.)    “Hunter (The Good Samaritan)”, which has never appeared on any of Mitchell’s albums.

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However, her live performance is now available on the Amchitka CD,[19] together with three other songs that later appeared on Blue, “A Case Of You”, “My Old Man” and “Carey”, which she morphs into Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” in a duet with her boyfriend at the time, James Taylor.    “Little Green”, composed in 1967, was the only old song that remained.

In 1979 Mitchell reflected, “The Blue album, there’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.”

Mitchell continued to use alternate tunings on her guitar to allow easier access to augmented chords and notes in unexpected combinations. Due to the stark and bare revelations in the album, when it was first played for Kris Kristofferson he is reported to have commented, “Joni! Keep something of yourself!”

Today, Blue is generally regarded by music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time; Mitchell’s songwriting and compositions are frequent areas of praise. In January 2000, the New York Times chose Blue as one of the 25 albums that represented “turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music”.

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The album was a commercial success. In Canada, the album peaked at number nine on the Canadian RPM Albums Chart. It the United Kingdom the album peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart and was certified double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales over of 600,000 copies in the UK. In the US the album peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album was later certified platinum for sales over a million copies. The single “Carey” reached #93 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. (by wikipedia)

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Sad, spare, and beautiful, Blue is the quintessential confessional singer/songwriter album. Forthright and poetic, Joni Mitchell’s songs are raw nerves, tales of love and loss (two words with relative meaning here) etched with stunning complexity; even tracks like “All I Want,” “My Old Man,” and “Carey” — the brightest, most hopeful moments on the record — are darkened by bittersweet moments of sorrow and loneliness. At the same time that songs like “Little Green” (about a child given up for adoption) and the title cut (a hymn to salvation supposedly penned for James Taylor) raise the stakes of confessional folk-pop to new levels of honesty and openness, Mitchell’s music moves beyond the constraints of acoustic folk into more intricate and diverse territory, setting the stage for the experimentation of her later work. Unrivaled in its intensity and insight, Blue remains a watershed. (by Jason Ankeny)

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Personnel:
Joni Mitchell (appalachian dulcimer, guitar, piano, vocals)
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Sneaky Pete Kleinow – pedal steel guitar on 06. + 07.)
Russ Kunkel (drums on 04., 06. + 09.)
Stephen Stills (bass, guitar on 04.)
James Taylor (guitar on 01., 06. + 09.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. All I Want 3.37
02. My Old Man 3.38
03. Little Green 3.31
04. Carey 3.07
05. Blue 3.09
06. California 3.56
07. This Flight Tonight 2.54
08. River 4.07
09. A Case Of You 4.27
10. The Last Time I Saw Richard 4.17

All songs written by Joni Mitchell

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