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Anniversaries: 'Blue' and 'Hejira' - Mile posts on a Lonely Road Print-ready version

by Mark Scott
JoniMitchell.com
June 17, 2011

2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Joni Mitchell's album 'Blue'. Another one of Mitchell's recordings, 'Hejira', reaches its 35th anniversary this year. 'Blue' is cited in nearly every one of those lists that regularly pop up in various music publications of record albums that are deemed as important or significant in some way. 'Hejira' is not as well known or as frequently lauded as 'Blue', but there are a large number of critics and hard-core Joni Mitchell fans who would say 'Hejira' is her crowning achievement.

I joined the die-hard Joni Mitchell fan base when I first became familiar with her 1974 release, 'Court and Spark'. I was fascinated by the depth of Joni's perceptiveness and captivated by the beauty of the music. I was also amazed that the songs on 'Court and Spark' seemed to be expressions of my own thoughts and feelings. I began to explore her earlier recordings and discovered one of the most frequently cited qualities of Joni's musical output. No two albums have the same sound. Each stands apart from the rest. It is my belief that 'Court and Spark' came at a point where the trajectory of Joni's artistic growth just happened to intersect with the tastes of the record buying public. The album produced two Top 40 singles and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard chart. It is her most commercially successful album.

But Joni Mitchell has never been content to stay in one groove. There was an artistic evolution that led up to 'Court and Spark' and continued after its success. I developed an undying respect for this artist who refused to remain static or compromise her artistic vision for the sake of producing hits. This respect has kept me interested in each album that she has produced even when I have not been as magnetically drawn to a new release as I was to 'Court and Spark'. The best of Joni's albums have enough depth that they continue to reveal new layers, even after surprisingly long periods of time. In the succession of Joni's studio recordings, 'Court and Spark' falls exactly in the middle of the five album sequence starting at 'Blue' and ending with 'Hejira'. Since Joni never stays in the same place musically, 'Blue' and 'Hejira' are very different from 'Court and Spark' and also very different from each other. The significant differences from the first Joni Mitchell album I got to know and fall in love with may be partly the reason why both 'Blue' and 'Hejira' have taken me years, maybe even decades to fully appreciate. Neither 'Blue' nor 'Hejira' by any stretch of the imagination can be labeled as 'main-stream pop'.

I wasn't among the enlightened people who purchased 'Blue' at the time of its release 40 years ago. By the time 'Hejira' came out I was hooked on Joni and I did buy it when it was new in 1976. I had never really considered these two albums in relation to each other. But having their respective 35 and 40 year anniversaries brought to mind, I began to mentally compare the two.

Starting with something as superficial as the packaging, both album covers are photographic images as opposed to the original artwork that Joni frequently puts on her records. Carrying this one step further, the photographs that make up 'Hejira's' cover are all black and white. 'Blue's' cover looks like a black & white photograph that has been stained completely blue. As my thought process continued I found that although, in some respects, there is a tremendous difference between the two albums, there are also a surprising number of similarities that had never occurred to me before.

1971's 'Blue' begins with Joni 'on a lonely road...traveling, traveling, traveling'. Five years later, in the chorus of 'Hejira's' first song she describes herself as 'a prisoner of the white lines on the freeway' and in the album's closing line, she is still 'seeking refuge in the roads'. So this pair of records are book-ended by references to a journey. As the lyrics suggest, both records were at least partially the products of physical travel. Some of the 'Blue' album came out of Joni's wanderings in Europe while 'Hejira' was inspired by a car trip across the U. S. 'Hejira' may be more conceptually focused on travel but the opening lines of 'Blue' sound like an earlier segment of the same long trip. Whether or not you buy into this this line of logic or whether you fall into the 'Blue' or 'Hejira' camp, it is hard to deny that both of these albums represent significant mile markers on the road of Joni Mitchell's personal and musical journey.

I think of 'Hejira' as the chronicles of a journey with a purpose. Joni has said that it mostly came out of her experiences from a car trip across the U.S. She had returned to L.A. from the chaos of Bob Dylan's 'Rolling Thunder' tour when the opportunity presented itself to motor across the U.S. with some friends. Eventually she struck out on her own, driving solo down from New England to the Gulf Coast and eventually back to California. Joni has also said that she wanted to make a clean exit from a romantic relationship at this time without any recriminations or sense of failure. The trip led to encounters with a wide variety of people. It also allowed her to step outside of her life and gain a different perspective. The feeling of the record is one of almost constant motion with brief stops along the way. Driving an automobile requires that an appropriate amount of attention be paid to the road and the operation of the car. But even with the best of drivers, long stretches behind the wheel will cause the mind to range over its own inner landscape, especially when the driver is alone in the car. 'Hejira' describes both the physical and inner landscapes of Joni's trip in beautifully constructed language. Joni probes and analyzes her own psyche, laying it all out alongside her eloquent descriptions of her physical journey in the exceptionally fine lyrics.

'Blue' contains narratives of people and adventures that Joni encountered during her travels in Europe in 1970. The break-up of a romantic relationship plays an important part on this record & the self-analysis is present as well. But 'Blue' is not infused with the sense of constant motion that is present in almost every song on 'Hejira'. The songs that are set in Crete, Paris and Spain tell stories that happened during extended stays in each of these places. Some of the songs do not necessarily relate to Joni's time in Europe at all. There are other elements in 'Blue' that set it apart from 'Hejira'. The songs that specifically address the break-up are emotionally charged and not without a sense of regret. They include some painful self-criticism and also depict negative characteristics and tendencies of Joni's ex-lover. The wounds are deep and fresh, making it impossible to maintain a philosophical, purely analytical view of the relationship. 'Blue' contains some of Joni's most beautiful songs. Her vocal performances are packed with an unbridled emotional honesty that make them unforgettable. The emotions range from joyful abandon to profound loss to a kind of weary, almost bitter resignation. With its poetic, heartfelt lyrics and intriguing melodies, 'Blue' is more a probing of the heart than of the mind.

After finding similarities in some of the basic ingredients of the two albums, my mind started sifting through the individual songs. I began to find a number of common images and symbols in their makeup. In some cases the imagery in 'Hejira' almost seems to pick up and progress from where it first appeared in 'Blue'.

Sooner or later after being away on an extended trip most of us begin to hanker for the comfort and familiarity of our own homes. Joni Mitchell does not seem to be immune to homesickness. In the lyrics of 'Hejira's' 'Black Crow', she laments 'I've been travelling so long/how'm I ever going to know my home/when I see it again?' The album's penultimate song finds her in a 'Blue Motel Room' thinking about the man she has split up with while she's 'traveling home alone.' She finds that 'it's funny how these old feelings hang around' and seems to be having thoughts of a possible reconciliation. If you are familiar with both 'Hejira' and 'Blue', a 'blue motel room room with a blue bed spread' and 'the blues inside and outside my head', while probably not deliberate references to the earlier album, certainly call it to mind.

'Blue' contains two songs that find Joni longing for two different homes with a brief reference to one of those homes in a third. In the song 'California' while 'sitting in a park in Paris France' she complains that 'it's too old and cold and settled in its ways here.' The warmth of the climate and the excitement of the L.A. music scene are calling her back when she sings 'Oh, but California/California I'm coming home'. In the end of this song she asks 'will you take me as I am/strung out on another man?' as opposed to the final lyrics of 'Hejira's' 'Blue Motel Room' which find her wondering 'Will you still love me/when I get back to town?'

In the song 'River', when she sings 'it's coming on Christmas...but it don't snow here/it stays pretty green' she is ready to 'quit this crazy scene'. The mild southern California weather has lost its charm for her and now she is feeling a pang of nostalgic longing for the winter cold of her native Canada. She regretfully admits 'I'm so hard to handle/I'm selfish and I'm sad/now I've gone and lost the best baby/that I ever had'. She names the country of her birth in connection with a rough patch in a romantic relationship in 'A Case of You'. 'On the back of a cartoon coaster' she draws 'a map of Canada/Oh Canada/with your face sketched on it twice'. Joni's emotional barometer is near its nadir and makes her yearn for a frozen river that she 'could skate away on'.

Ice skating must have been a frequent activity during the winters of Joni's childhood in Saskatchewan. It carries over from 'Blue's' 'River' into the lyrics of 'Song for Sharon' on 'Hejira'. But whereas Joni wants to skate away from the pain of a lost love on that frozen 'River', she is skating in pursuit of love in 'Song for Sharon'. 'Song for Sharon' is an open letter to a childhood friend. Joni recalls the awakening of her adolescent notions of romance when she 'went skating after Golden Reggie....chasing dreams'. The photograph that spreads across the inside of the gate-fold cover for the original vinyl issue of 'Hejira' shows Joni skating across a large body of frozen water with a garment that resembles black wings draped over her shoulders and arms. Perhaps a metaphorical 'Golden Reggie' is the 'shiny thing ' that draws the 'black crow' across the ice in this image. Later in the same song a 'blank face at the window stares and stares and stares and stares' showing little interest in '29 skaters on Wollman Rink/circling in singles and in pairs'. Neither the skaters nor thoughts of pursuing a new love seem to engage the preoccupied mind of the singer at this point.

The outside of the 'Hejira' cover has a photo on the back of former Olympic ice skater Toller Cranston. He is posed on the same frozen lake as Joni's black crow figure and is dressed in one of his performance costumes. His body bends to one side which causes his outstretched arms to form a nearly vertical crescent. The figure of a woman in a bridal gown and veil with her hands clasped in front of her is in the distance behind him, slightly to the right of his hands. The bottom hand is positioned directly underneath the bride while the upper hand is just to the left of her head. This image gives the impression that he is either displaying or reaching toward the figure of the distant bride as if she is a statuette or trophy.

In 'Song for Sharon' Joni says that when she was skating after Golden Reggie 'it was white lace I was chasing'. At the time she wrote those words in her early 30s, she had been married, divorced and in and out of several other relationships. And yet 'Song for Sharon' tells us that she still retained romantic notions of marriage from her girlhood. This seems to be contradictory to the ideas she expressed in 'My Old Man' from the 'Blue' album. The idea of co-habitation before marriage was a controversial one in 1971. There is a hint of rebelliousness in the lyric 'We don't need no piece of paper from the city hall/keeping us tied and true.' Whether it was a display of bravado or a bit of self deception, 'My Old Man' was a rejection of 'the ceremony of the bells and lace' that Joni said 'still veils this reckless fool here' in 1976's 'Song for Sharon'.

'Song for Sharon' is one of Joni Mitchell's longest songs and its lyrics touch on many aspects of her thoughts, feelings, memories and personality. It contains a very brief reference to motherhood as a possible means of fulfillment. Joni describes a suicide and speculates that the woman who has drowned herself 'was just shaking off futility/or punishing somebody'. She goes on to conclude that 'it seems we all live so close to that line/and so far from satisfaction'. A friend suggests having children as a possible way to fill up this void that is keeping Joni 'so far from satisfaction'. Although she did not say so in 'Song for Sharon', this advice must have touched a very raw nerve as this was a painful subject for Joni. The song 'Little Green' that she wrote in 1967 and recorded on 1971's 'Blue' describes the plight of a young unwed mother. Joni has always been a superb storyteller and 'Little Green' with its bittersweet lyrics seemed to be a depiction of another person's life. But many years later the origin of 'Little Green' came to light and it turned out that the song was about Joni herself. Joni was a student at the Alberta College of Art when she became pregnant in 1964, a time when single motherhood still carried a fearful social stigma. She eventually felt compelled to 'sign all the papers in family name' and give the baby girl she had named Kelly up for adoption, somehow managing to keep her parents from knowing about the pregnancy and birth. She found her daughter in 1997 and her reunion with 'Little (Kelly) Green', now known as Kilauren Gibb, filled in some of that sorrowful void that Joni had felt for more than 30 years.

Searching is another theme that is common to both 'Blue' and 'Hejira'. Whether it be distraction from a painful break-up, fulfillment, satisfaction or time to ponder the questions about life that always seem to be filling her ever-analytical brain, Joni is always on some kind of quest as she travels her lonely road, 'looking for something/what can it be?' One of the requisite qualities of those who embark on such quests is a certain fearlessness. The true seeker is willing to take risks, whether the quest entails voyages across wide seas to foreign places in the physical world or into the inner depths of the explorer's emotional and psychological reservoirs. And as Joni states in the song 'Amelia' from 'Hejira', 'where some have found their paradise/others just come to harm'.

'A Case of You' reveals that Joni is 'frightened by the devil' but that she is also 'drawn to those ones that ain't afraid'. 'Blue's ' title track further elaborates this attraction and the pitfalls that come with it:

Well there's so may sinking now
You've got to keep thinking
You can make it through these waves
acid, booze and ass
needles, guns and grass
Lots of laughs, lots of laughs

But in spite of being 'frightened by the devil' her fearless curiosity doesn't stop her from exploring the hedonistic atmosphere of the late 1960s that her popularity as a singer/songwriter has put her into the midst of:

Well everybody's saying
that hell's the hippest way to go
Well I don't think so
But I'm gonna take a look around it though

In 'Hejira's' 'Black Crow' she sees 'illumination, corruption' and likens herself to a crow 'diving down to pick up on every shiny thing'. By 1976 she still seems to have been wading through waves of excess. Joni has alluded to her usage of cocaine during her time with 'Rolling Thunder' and admits that the drug was a strong influence when she wrote 'Song for Sharon'. 'The fine white lines of the free, freeway' she describes herself as a prisoner of in the song 'Coyote' could be a reference to lines of cocaine. Later in the same song she describes 'other players' who 'lick their wounds/and take their temporary lovers/and their pills and powders to get them through this passion play'. She finds a temporary lover of her own somewhere in New England, 'A Strange Boy', and together they get 'high on travel' and 'drunk on alcohol/and on love the strongest poison and medicine of all.' The song 'A Case of You' from the 'Blue' album is built on this analogy of love as an addictive substance, both a positive and a negative force:

But you are in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling
And I would still be on my feet.

The strange 'boy' who refuses to grow up seems to be an exception, however, to the 'mean old daddy' types that Joni runs into elsewhere in her travels on both 'Blue' and 'Hejira'. 'California' tells us she 'met a redneck on a Grecian isle/who did the goat dance very well/he gave me back my smile/but he kept my camera to sell'. She describes him as 'the rogue, the red, red rogue' and he may be the same 'bright red devil who keeps me in this tourist town' she sings about in the song 'Carey'. Joni says of Carey 'oh you're a mean old daddy/but I like you'. She is obviously having a lot of fun with him and 'Carey' is one of the most upbeat songs on 'Blue'. Later 'Hejira' opens with Joni hitching a ride with 'Coyote', a man 'who has a woman at home/he's got another woman down the hall/he seems to want me anyway.' She wonders 'why'd you have to get so drunk and lead me on that way?' 'Coyote' seems to be a devil-may-care, independent type who pays little attention to societal rules, going his own path as he chooses. Her explorations seem to draw Joni to men who excite her and have a reckless edge. As she says in 'Hejira's' title track 'sometimes the slightest touch of a stranger/can set up trembling in my bones'. Sexual attraction is a powerful force and it seems to be another means of distraction from the complexities of Joni's life. Finally another man who 'drank and womanized' offers her some helpful advice when 'he saw my complication/and he mirrored me back simplified' in the final cut of Hejira, 'Refuge of the Roads.' He tells her 'heart and humor and humility....will lighten up your heavy load.' But this was not the end of the journey and she 'left him then for the refuge of the roads'

The very last words on the 'Blue' album come at the end of 'The Last Time I Saw Richard' when Joni sings 'only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings/ and fly away/only a phase, these dark cafe days.' Joni sees herself confined in a dark place. In 'This Flight Tonight' she looks out the window of a plane after leaving a lover behind and feels the 'blackness, blackness dragging me down' and pleads for someone to 'light the candle in this poor heart of mine'. The candle is a hope for someone or something that she desperately needs to light her way out of the dark. But in 'The Last Time I Saw Richard' she has had enough and as she sits in a dark cafe she says 'I'm gonna blow this damn candle out/I don't know want Nobody coming over to my table/I got nothing to talk to anybody about'. Frustration, hurt and anger have made her reject romantic love and blowing the candle out is a signal that she has lost sight of hope and is taking herself out of circulation. She is resigned to her dark cocoon for the time being.

The title track of 'Hejira' finds Joni 'traveling in some vehicle' or, as in 'The Last Time I Saw Richard', 'sitting in some cafe'. Once again she is feeling battered by the down side of a love affair and calls herself 'a defector from the petty wars/that shell shock love away'. Having completed her metamorphosis and emerged from the dark cocoon with her gorgeous wings, she shares her 'dream to fly' with the famous but vanished aviator Amelia Earhart in the song 'Amelia'. But 'like Icarus ascending/on beautiful foolish arms' or Amelia who was 'swallowed by the sky/or by the sea' her flight has ended badly. She speculates 'maybe I've never really loved' and goes on to say 'I've spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitudes'. After 'looking down on everything' from her lofty height, Joni fell and 'crashed into his arms.' But the resulting relationship is 'just a false alarm', and has set her off on a trip that is also a spiritual journey with a number of 'false alarms' along the way. She paints an image in 'Hejira' of candles being lit in a church 'and the wax rolls down like tears.' Here she is seeing the candles as symbols of the light of 'hope' and the tears of 'the hopelessness' she has 'witnessed thirty years'. She has told Sharon Bell that 'the power of reason/and the flowers of deep feeling/seem to serve me/only to deceive me'. Both the head and the heart seem to have led her to an impasse.

But the duality of life is something Joni Mitchell has been aware of all or her adult life. In the end she knows that she is in another phase 'until love sucks me back that way' and she once again emerges from her 'dark cocoon'. Her latest journey has given her a new perspective as she looks at a 'photograph of the earth/taken coming back from the moon' She sings 'you couldn't see a city/on that marbled bowling ball/or a forest or a highway/ or me here least of all'. From the dizzy heights she looked down from in her flight she had a view over long distances and of great expanses but she couldn't see the details and elements that make up the picture. As a result, she couldn't properly see her own function in the vast mechanics of the whole. But even though she has a better knowledge of herself at this point of her life, for Joni Mitchell the journey is not yet finished. The lyrics 'west-bound and rolling' may indicate she is headed homeward, but she is still 'seeking refuge in the roads.'

Unfortunately, I am not a trained musician. I can read music and I have sung with a few choral groups and in several musicals in my high school and college days. But I can't write an informed discourse on things like chord structures, shifts from major to minor keys or alternate guitar tunings. All I can do is describe impressions of what I hear and refer to some of the instruments and musicians Joni Mitchell chose to create the sounds of 'Blue' and 'Hejira'.

There are four musicians credited in the liner notes of 'Blue'. While this hardly suggests a densely produced, full-blown musical epic, 'Blue' was the first of her albums that made extensive use of other players besides Joni herself. 'Blue' was Joni's fourth album and the three that preceded it were made almost entirely with no other instrumentation than Joni playing either guitar or piano. 'Blue' added some guitar playing from James Taylor, bass and guitar from Stephen Stills, pedal steel backup from Sneeky Pete and Russ Kunkel contributed his drumming on two tracks. Joni plays acoustic guitar, piano and dulcimer. Her playing takes center stage on each track and she alternates between the three instruments. 'All I Want' features the dulcimer followed by the piano on 'My Old Man', then guitar on 'Little Green' then back to the dulcimer for 'Carey' and so on. This gives some variety to the sound of the instrumentation from one song to the next. The tempos also vary to reflect the particular mood of each song. This is mostly an acoustic musical effort and the sparse instrumentation gives each track an intimacy that goes with the intensely personal nature of the songs. Joni had a very pure soprano voice with a considerable range at this time. The melodies on 'Blue' make full use of her vocal range which matches the emotional range of the lyrics. They are unusual, sometimes almost eccentric, beautiful melodies. The songwriting on 'Blue' is a sterling example of the perfect marriage of words and music. This album is not mentioned in so many '100 Best Albums of All Time' lists without good reason. Joni Mitchell is a master of the art of songwriting and 'Blue' contains some of her most memorable work.

The sound of 'Hejira' is the sound of a restless soul on the move. The tempo varies with the different literal modes of transportation. 'Coyote' & 'Hejira' roll along with the monotonous regularity of an inter-state highway's lane dividers as they slip endlessly past the wheels of a car. 'Amelia' calls to mind the image of a jet plane in mid-flight that seems to be floating motionlessly above the panorama of a limitless landscape, sometimes morphing into a vision of Amelia Earhart's prop-plane suspended high over a boundless ocean. We feel the vigorous motions of its wings and plummet earthward with the 'Black Crow' as it zeroes in on a glittering object on the ground. There are a couple of stops along the way where the pace slows to one appropriate to leisurely observation & reflection. 'Song for Sharon' is driven by a reflective but restless energy as it ranges through both the physical & mental landscape of this journey. And yet the ensemble interplay of distinctive instrumental voices creates one atmosphere that enfolds all of 'Hejira'. Whereas Blue showcased Joni's playing of guitar, piano & dulcimer, her sole instrument of choice on Hejira is the guitar. Larry Carlton plays lead guitar on several tracks with Joni taking the supporting rhythm guitar part. Other tracks feature Joni on lead acoustic and she plays electric guitar on 'Blue Motel Room'. Max Bennett plays bass on two songs. Most of the tracks have only 3 or 4 players. Compared to the number of musicians utilized on the two albums that preceded it, 'Hejira', like 'Blue', is another minimalist work. Yet the musical setting of each song is expansive, full of sound and depth, creating a limitless backdrop for the vocals. The brilliant bass player Jaco Pastorius plays a large part in the makeup of this expansive sound. Joni had been looking for an electric bass player who would play the bass as a lead instrument instead of sticking to the traditional supporting part the bass typically plays in a rock and roll or jazz rhythm section. Jaco was the man she had been looking for and his playing on 'Hejira' was the precise element she had been wanting. Jaco on bass, Joni playing guitar, Bobbye Hall on percussion and Abe Most who plays a brief clarinet interlude are the only musicians credited on the song 'Hejira'. But the sound-scape produced by Joni & Jaco deceives the ear. In spite of being produced by such minimal instrumentation the musical backdrop seems amazingly full. Joni's voice had begun to acquire a different , earthier tone by the time she recorded 'Hejira'. She is rarely in the upper part of her range on this album. The lyrical lines are frequently long and most of the songs contain more than the three or four verses of a standard pop song. 'Song for Sharon' is eight and a half minutes long and has no less than ten verses. This makes the melodic lines somewhat repetitive and, with the exceptions of 'Black Crow' and 'Blue Motel Room', they do not encompass the wide ranges that the melodies on 'Blue' navigate through. But if there is some sacrifice of melodies that grab the listener's attention, the quality of the lyrics more than makes up for it. Each line is perfectly constructed and there are shining gems of observation and insight in almost every one. The sometimes repetitive nature of the melodies fits the concept of a long trip by car at the record's core. Taking this into account and given the exceptional quality of the lyrics, 'Hejira' is one more proof that Joni Mitchell is unsurpassed as a songwriter. 'Hejira' makes full use of each of its crucial musical elements to create a work of stark but amazingly full and complex beauty.

Returning again to the superficial observation that both 'Blue' and 'Hejira' feature covers that are made up of photographic images, what might seem to be a common element actually turns out to be emblematic of the differences between the two. There is only one image on the cover of 'Blue'. Pale blue highlights of Joni's face and hair emerge from deep blue shadows. There is a microphone in front of the mouth. The lids are the only distinctly visible parts of the eyes which are either cast down or completely closed. The expression on the face looks as though she is in some kind of trance, far down inside of her emotional core, channeling her deepest feelings into the mic. Compare this with the composite black and white photo on the 'Hejira' cover. There is a shot of Joni from the waist up, wearing a beret and a fur coat, holding a cigarette in her hand, standing in front of the backdrop of a frozen lake. There is another photo super-imposed over her torso of a straight stretch of highway, narrowing to its vanishing point at a horizon lined with white clouds. The images are clear and sharp. Joni is looking directly into the camera, the lines of her prominent cheek bones are accentuated by the lighting, her blonde hair flying out to one side of her head. Her eyes are open, clear and expressionless. She looks like some glamorous world traveler who has just stepped out of a limo for a smoke. Although only five years had passed since she had recorded the classic 'Blue', this genius of song had traveled light years into an entirely new, sophisticated musical universe when she created the artistic triumph, 'Hejira'. No doubt, for those who have known these records since their releases, it is hard to believe so much time has elapsed. Both are as fresh and as timeless as they were when they first appeared 40 and 35 years ago. Whether you are spinning one of these disks to enjoy a tried and true favorite, to find an emotional catharsis or to stimulate your grey matter, 'Blue' and 'Hejira' always deliver the goods. There is no reason to believe they will not continue to do so indefinitely.

Afterword:

This piece does not pretend to be the last word on 'Blue', 'Hejira', Joni Mitchell or anything else. It is merely an attempt to record some of my thoughts and impressions about connections that I saw when comparing the two. Lyric quotations and instrumentation credits are taken from the inserts for the DCC Compact Classics release of 'Blue' and the Asylum HDCD release of 'Hejira'. I did take a look at the cardboard jacket of my vinyl copy of 'Hejira' for a look at the original, full-size photographs used and to verify the players cited for the songs 'Coyote' and 'Hejira'. Research for any dates or factual information utilized the JoniMitchell.com articles database and was minimal. However, I did try to find actual interviews with Joni Mitchell to verify information that my sometimes faulty memory could not be counted on to accurately supply.

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