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The soft Joni Mitchell

Walliser Volksfreund
March 4, 1975
Original article: PDF

Translated from German by Hans Post Uiterweer

On a fall evening in the year 1966 organist Al Kooper went home with a blond girl after a club gig with his band Blues Project. The 22 year old Canadian played her own compositions on piano and guitar for her host. Al Kooper was enthusiastic.

Roberta Joan Anderson, daughter of an Air Force soldier, was born on 7 November 1943 in Fort McLeod, Canada. She studied graphics and art history at the Alberta College of Arts (and used her learning later when designing her album covers). In 1965, after a tour of coffee bars and folk clubs she married the folk singer Chuck Mitchell and followed him to Detroit. But the marriage ended in divorce after a little more than a year. Joni Mitchell did not return to Canada. She took her guitar and toured the folk clubs of the State of Michigan. She was not regarded as an interpreter, but as a composer. Tom Rush performed her "Urge for Going", Dave van Ronk performed her "Both Sides Now." The last song was to be interpreted by over 50 artists, including Judy Collins, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.

It took until the spring of 1968 before the first Joni Mitchell album would appear: "Joni Mitchell" produced by David Crosby, with Stephen Stills playing bass. And it wasn't until after "Clouds", her second album, that appeared a year later, which also featured "Songs to Aging Children Come" (used for the film "Alice's Restaurant") besides "Both Sides Now," that critics and reviewers wrote about her talent in composition and lyrics. And so also began her career as an interpreter. More albums followed. Her greatest success, which reached first place on the American charts, was her 1974 album "Court and Spark."

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