Joni Mitchell (Asylum) gained attention as a songwriter before her own performances were recorded, through frequent exposure on albums by Tom Rush and Judy Collins. When the public finally heard Ms. Mitchell perform her own songs, and discovered that her exciting visual and tactile lyrics were more than matched by an equally spectacular voice, she was an immediate sensation. Her early works fell within the realm of folk songs, and some of these songs are now virtual folk standards, such as "The Circle Game" and "Urge For Going." The latter tune has never been recorded by Mitchell herself, but is one of her best known and most recorded songs. Songs like "Clouds" and "Chelsea Morning" helped win wider exposure for Mitchell, and her reputation as a performer has grown mightily in more recent years. Her songwriting has developed along totally original lines, though her extremely inventive and unusual melody lines and lyrical images ("You Turn Me On I'm A Radio") have not become at all inaccessible. Of the many artists, male or female, writing today, Joni Mitchell can make one of the strongest claims to genius.
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