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Miles of Aisles Print-ready version

by Ward Silver
The Great Speckled Bird
January 23, 1975
Original article: PDF

Miles of Aisles
Joni Mitchell
Asylum AB 202

This live double album collection of old and new material recorded on her recent tour shows Joni at her most vulnerable self yet. She sometimes misses the high notes - check out the difference for example between her voice on earlier albums and this one (as on "All I Want" and "A Case Of You"). And with several exceptions (such as "Carey") the arrangements here aren't nearly as potent as those on her studio LPs. Still, the self-effacement she chooses to retain (I'm getting on my best out of tune voice" she says at one point) give the listener just a little more insight into her.

Two new songs, "Jericho" and "Love Or Money," by her description "hopeful" and "a portrait of a disappointment," put Joni on even par with her excellent band, the L.A. Express. This is to her credit. Few realize how sensitive she is to the hungry jaws of superstardom that would gobble her up given the chance. She granted no interviews (not even with Rolling Stone) on the tour and let Tom Scott do most of the talking. Thus I think she has emerged from the tour even stronger because she understands the fine line between fame and fantasy. She is famous because she is, more than anything else, her own woman and not the company's.

When she was here last March, one will recall the remarkable interplay between Joni and guitarist Robben Ford (heard here on "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio") and sax/flutist Tom Scott ("Rainy Night House"). She is definitely confident in this band. As they challenge each other they are rewarded by several high moments. "Both Sides Now" in particular can be appreciated just as much now as it was way back in 1968.

Once again I look forward to her next album (the sun just came out during "Woman Of Heart And Mind" and it fits). She has proven herself many times over.

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