Song Lyrics


by Joni Mitchell

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I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
There's comfort in melancholy
When there's no need to explain
It's just as natural as the weather
In this moody sky today
In our possessive coupling
So much could not be expressed
So now I'm returning to myself
These things that you and I suppressed
I see something of myself in everyone
Just at this moment of the world
As snow gathers like bolts of lace
Waltzing on a ballroom girl

You know it never has been easy
Whether you do or you do not resign
Whether you travel the breadth of extremities
Or stick to some straighter line
Now here's a man and a woman sitting on a rock
They're either going to thaw out or freeze
Strains of Benny Goodman *
Coming through the snow and the pinewood trees
I'm porous with travel fever
But you know I'm so glad to be on my own
Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger
Can set up trembling in my bones *
I know no one's going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tribute to finality to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality
In the church they light the candles
And the wax rolls down like tears
There's the hope and the hopelessness
I've witnessed thirty years
We're only particles of change I know I know
Orbiting around the sun
But how can I have that point of view
When I'm always bound and tied to someone
White flags of winter chimneys
Waving truce against the moon
In the mirrors of a modern bank
From the window of a hotel room

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
Until love sucks me back that way

© 1976; Crazy Crow Music

Footnotes to Hejira

"Benny Goodman"
Born into a large, poverty stricken family, Benny began playing the clarinet at an early age. He was associated with the Austin High School Gang, having gone to school with drummer Dave Tough. By the time he was twelve, Goodman appeared onstage imitating famous bandleader/clarinetist Ted Lewis. It was at this concert that Ben Pollack heard the young clarinetist and Benny was soon playing in Pollack's band. Goodman’s first recordings were made with the Pollack group in 1926, and give a strong example of Benny's influences at the time including Jimmie Noone, who was then with Doc Cook and His Dreamland Orchestra and Leon Roppolo of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. During this period Goodman recorded his first sides as a leader with members of the Pollack band including one 1928 date which features the only known recording of Benny on alto and baritone saxophones.

Following the musical migration out of Chicago and into New York, Goodman became a very successful and popular free-lancer, joining the likes of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey in New York studios. In 1934 Benny put together his first big band, featuring Bunny Berigan on trumpet, Jess Stacey on piano and Gene Krupa on drums. With the addition of some excellent, sophisticated arrangements by Fletcher Henderson, the "Swing Era" was born.

Goodman spent the next fifty years recording and touring with various groups big and small, including some very successful trips to Russia and the Far East. He also played many concerts on a classical format that received mixed reviews.

Known by musicians for his stand-offish and "cheap" nature, many sidemen had a love/hate relationship with Goodman. Many musicians claimed that Benny was dishonest when it came time to pay off the band and many more recalled the Goodman "ray", the dirtiest of looks received when a mistake was made. That aside, its clear that without Goodman the "Swing Era" would have been nowhere near as strong when it came, if it came at all.

After his death, the Yale University library received the bulk of Goodman's personal collection including many private never-before-heard recordings and rare unpublished photos.

cali57 noted the following in the Forum: Albert Camus wrote, in 1963: "What gives value to travel is fear. It is the fact that, at a certain moment, when we are so far from our own country... we are seized by a vague fear, and the instinctive desire to go back to the protection of old habits. This is the most obvious benefit of travel. At that moment we are feverish but also porous, so that the slightest touch makes us quiver to the depths of our being... There is no pleasure in traveling, and I look upon it as an occasion for spiritual testing... Travel, which is like a greater and graver science, brings us back to ourselves."

Guitar Transcriptions of Hejira

Hejira has been recorded by 21 others

  • A Bird That Whistles (from "A Bird That Whistles" - 1996)
  • Ahunchain, Felipe  (from "Each So Deep And Superficial " - 2015)
  • Alvarez, Guada (from "Homenaje a Joni Mitchell IX Festival Ondas de Jazz en la cuidad" - 2015)
  • Anne, Emely  (from "The Way Home" - 2011)
  • Blanchart, Dirk (from "Europe Blue (Remastered) [Extended Edition 2012]" - 2012) [buy at Amazon]
  • Butcher, Aimée  (from "The World Is Alright" - 2015) [buy at Amazon]
  • Caputo, Valeria (- )
  • D'Agostina, Simona (- )
  • Diane And Bob (from "Blackberry Winter" - 2014) [buy at Amazon]
  • Jackman, Vanessa (- 2007)
  • Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (from "Live Performance" - 2003)
  • James "Jez" Graham & The Trio (from "Monday" - 2003)
  • Jones, Robert (- )
  • Kadoos (from "Joni Goes Dutch" - 2014)
  • Kevin Halporn & Flor Guillén  (from "HalpornGuillén" - 2010) [buy at Amazon]
  • Khan, Chaka  (from "A Case Of Joni" - )
  • Michael Paz Band (from "PazFest - The New Orleans Tribute to Joni Mitchell at the Howlin' Wolf" - 2002)
  • Persico, Sara (- 2015)
  • Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet (from "Hejira Live" - 2014)
  • Tatyana Balakirsky & Alex Nadjarov (from "Live at MuzEnergo-4" - 2008)
  • Will Taylor And Strings Attached (from "Back To The Garden: A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2007)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]

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