Song Lyrics

Yvette In English

by Joni Mitchell and David Crosby

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He met her in a French cafe
She slipped in sideways like a cat
Sidelong glances
What a wary little stray!
She sticks in his mind like that
Saying "Avez-vous un allumette?"
With her lips wrapped around a cigarette
Yvette in English saying
"Please have this
Little bit of instant bliss"

He's fumbling with her foreign tongue
Reaching for words and drawing blanks
A loud mouth is stricken deaf and dumb
In a bistro on the left bank
"If I were a painter" Picasso said
"I'd paint this girl from toe to head!"
Yvette in English saying
"Please have this
Little bit of instant bliss"

Burgundy nocturne tips and spills
They trot along nicely in the spreading stain
New chills new thrills
For the old uphill battle
How did he wind up here again?
Walking and talking
Touched and scared
Uninsulated wires left bare
Yvette in English going
"Please have this
Little bit of instant bliss"

What blew her like a leaf his way?
(Up in the air and down to Earth)
First she flusters
Then she frays
So quick to question her own worth
Her cigarette burns her fingertips
As it falls like fireworks she curses it
Then sweetly in English she says
"Please have this
Little bit of instant bliss"

He sees her turn and walk away
Skittering like a cat on stone
Her high heels clicking
What a wary little stray!
She leaves him by the Seine alone
With the black water and the amber lights
And the bony bridge between left and right
Yvette in English saying
"Please have this
Little bit of instant bliss"

© 1994; Crazy Crow Music


From Sam Stone:

"Yvette In English" from 'Turbulent Indigo' is one of only a handful of Joni co-writes, this one with old friend David Crosby. It was made for his album 'Thousand Roads,' which came out in 1993. The story goes that he had originally wanted Joni to produce a track on the album, but she doesn't like producers and offered to write with him instead. He had some unfinished lyrics and they finished them via a fax machine.

Singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop uncovered these original lyrics, followed by Joni's rewrite, which underwent even more polishing:

Rough-draft lyrics faxed from David Crosby to Joni:

"We are speaking in tongues, you and I
sometimes I can catch how the world
looks through your eyes
and I think Picasso drew you

I wonder what wind blew you
and your leaf-like life my way today
the cigarette burns your finger and
you return to earth

flustered and not sure of your worth
you slide sideways as slick as a cat
It stays in my mind you moving electric like that

The night has oozed into electric cafes
and shadows are stealing all the people away.
It's like an exhibition were the pictures are all sold
The walls are getting lovely and I am getting cold."

Joni's first rewrite (although still a bit different from the final version) is as follows :

"We're speaking in different tongues -you and I
Sometimes I catch how it is in your eyes
There's no insulation.
We're wires layed bare
As we fluster along
Feeling touched and scared
You say in English "Here try some of this
Its a little bit of instant bliss."

It's a cold fatigue -the old uphill
As the burgandy nocturn tips and spills

As we slip along in the spreading stain
How did I wind up here again
You say in English "Here try some of this
It's a little bit of instant bliss."

Your cigarette burns your fingertips
It falls like fireworks
And you step on it
What blew your leaf"

Transcriptions of Yvette In English

Yvette In English has been recorded by 8 other artists

  • Chappell Kingsland (from "this 'n' that" - )
  • CPR (from "(Live)" - 1998)
  • Crosby, David (from "Thousand Roads" - 1993)
  • Ebacher, Roger (from "Digital Single" - 2023)
  • Foni Mitchell (from "Foni Mitchell" - 2022)
  • Green, Simon (from "Take Me To The World" - 2004)
  • Jenkins, Kevin (from "She - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2017)
  • Waddell, William (- 2015)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]


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