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Recordings of Special Merit Print-ready version

by D. H
Stereo Review
September 1969
Original article: PDF

RECORDINGS OF SPECIAL MERIT

JONI MITCHELL: Clouds. Joni Mitchell (voice and guitar). *Tin Angel; Chelsea Morning; I Don't Know Where I Stand; That Song about the Midway; Roses Blue; and five others. REPRISE RS 6341 $4.98 (B) M 61-11 $6.95, (C) X 6341 $5.95

Performance: Superb songs by a major artist
Recording: Very good
Stereo Quality: Good

In little more than a year, Joni Mitchell has come from virtual obscurity to a position of considerable prominence as a young songwriter-performer. Her first recording sold slowly at first, then took off in the wake of Judy Collins' version of Both Sides, Now. The establishment of Miss Mitchell's reputation as a bona fide talent followed quickly.

I prefer Miss Mitchell's own versions of her tunes to any other. It is always more interesting, of course, to hear composers do their own material, but in addition, Miss Mitchell's voice seems to me superior in quality, flexibility, ranger, and style to those of the many performers who had recorded her songs. Quite simply, she is a superb performer herself.

*Both Sides, Now* becomes virtually a new song when Miss Mitchell does it, despite its familiarity in other versions. Chelsea Morning, already recorded by Miss Collins, is one of the finest songs of recent memory, and will, I am convinced, soon be a standard. The Fiddle and the Drum, an unaccompanied and somewhat uncharacteristic Mitchell song, is a sad questioning of American political aggressiveness (and a potentially fascinating new direction for Miss Mitchell). The Gallery and I Don't Know Where I Stand offer contrasting facets of a woman's life.

Like her first release, this is a major collection from a major artist, and should not be overlooked. I have yet to hear Miss Mitchell write (or perform) a song that does not move me.

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