A lot of good albums came out in 1976. There were three albums that came out at the tail end of the year that are worth mentioning this year: Joni Mitchell's Hejira, Jean-Luc Ponty's Imaginary Voyage, and Eagles' Hotel California.
Hejira is a return to basics for Joni Mitchell. After her last few albums, which featured the jazz musicianship of Tom Scott and L. A. Express, this record is simply Joni. There are not keyboards on this album, only two songs with horns, and no more than three people accompanying her at a time. It's all reduced to Joni Mitchell's voice and guitar, with a rhythm section to back her up.
Hejira is a Joni Mitchell album and it's quite refreshing. The emphasis is on her vocals, lyrics and guitar strumming, all of which are outstanding. "Coyote" opens the album and sets the mood perfectly. The music never lets you down until it's over. My favorite is "Furry Sings the Blues," which features Neil Young on harmonica. This could be her best album yet.
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