Posted August 04, 1997
Elektra has begun it's re-release of the eight Joni Mitchell albums that came out on the Asylum label in the 1970's. These projects are re-mastered in HDCD and re-packaged to include all the original artwork, lyrics, typesets, etc. from "FOR THE ROSES" in 1972 to "SHADOWS AND LIGHT" the live album from 1979. I had the occasion to listen to DAT tapes of six of the eight HDCD releases and I have to tell you that this is such a wonderful present for appreciators of Mitchell music. These are stellar sounding and beautiful re-issues. If you have "HITS" & "MISSES," (and if you don't, then why not?) try comparing (A/B) a song between the original CD release and the HDCD version on the anthologies, and you'll hear how good these CD's sound. The upgrade of the sound was done by Joe Gastwirt of Ocean View Digital Mastering in W. Los Angeles.
The first two album packages to be eased into general circulation are Joni's biggest seller "COURT AND SPARK" and her first live album "MILES OF AISLES," both from 1974. I received an e-mail from Robbie Cavolina, art director for the projects, and he told me that "COURT AND SPARK" is "a triumph of repackaging. It's just like the original album." Four minutes of segments of Joni talking to her audience that were removed from "MILES OF AISLES" to accomodate the mid-1980's limit of seventy-five minutes per disc have been restored in their entirety. The inside photos (by Henry Diltz) have been changed from black & white back to color and are now in their proper dimensions. The cover has actually been re-designed to fit Joni's original concept and intent. Robbie Cavolina told the "ICE" newsletter the following about the cover art-
"David Geffen had just sold Asylum when the album came out. Joni designed the cover and had given it to the art director, but she didn't like their proofs; the picture was supposed to be airbrushed to the drawing. They were supposed to sync up together. And she hand-wrote the type up in the corner for them to typeset, (not reproduce as is). She didn't have anybody left on her team there, and they ran out of time...."
I've seen this "MILES OF AISLES" package and it's beautifully done, complete with a fold-out of the photo of Joni with the members of her band, The L.A. Express. Watch the stores throughout 1997 for all eight HDCD re-mastered albums to replace the older versions as they sell out.