Court And Spark (Asylum 7E 1001). "Help me/I think I'm falling in love again." The opening to Help Me says it all. Joni Mitchell once again exposes her perplexed soul to the scarring gaze of her fellow man, once again delves deep within the complexities of her personality to reveal her particular brand of intellectual / animal / emotional / philosophic quadrophenia. How long her sanity can survive this process of dissection remains to be seen. At least she can provide us with a collection of songs whose poetic brilliance is so far above that of her contemporaries it creates a category of its own. The lady's already carved one masterpiece - Blue - and now comes a second within a comparatively short time span. The music of Court And Spark is not the intrinsic part of the whole it was on Blue, more a framework, a point of reference as on For The Roses, or perhaps more aptly Ladies Of The Canyon. That's not to demean it in any way. Joni's piano work is as individually excellent as ever and the qualities of co-conspirators like Jose Feliciano, Robbie Robertson, Wayne Perkins and Joe Sample have rarely received such incredible exposure. Court And Spark is a conspiracy - its aim the release of the individual no matter what the pain or the consequences of the process. I doubt that we'll see a better album this year and despite the sycophancy surrounding Dylan's Planet Waves, I know we'll not have a more relevant or important one.
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