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Isle of Wight Festival 'Joni's Triumph' Print-ready version

Calgary Herald
September 4, 1970
Original article: PDF

LONDON (CP) - The leading British pop newspaper has termed the Isle of Wight festival "Joni's triumph" in praise of Alberta-born Joni Mitchell's performance during the five-day extravaganza.

Melody Maker, in it's front-page story this week, says the folk-singer "overcame her considerable nervousness and stunned the crowd with a set full of peerlessly beautiful songs, leading to an ovation after several encores."


Joni Michell, who at the age of 26 has had an outstanding career as a folk-singer and guitarist throughout Canada and the United States, was born in Fort MacLeod but raised and educated in Saskatoon before going to Calgary to study commercial art at the Alberta College of Art and it was in Calgary where she really began her career with performances at Depression, a Calgary coffee house.

She later moved to Toronto, then to Detroit, where she was married at the age of 21 to Chuck Mitchell another real musician and singer until she became divorced after which she moved to New York and later to Laurel Canyon, Calif.

A number of other Canadians entertained at the festival last weekend including Leonard Cohen of Montreal, Zal Yanofsky of Toronto and the Lighthouse, a 13-piece band from Toronto.

One singer who did not appear was Neil Young, son of Toronto newspaper man Scott Young, who is a member of the group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. He had accompanied Mrs. Mitchell to the island.

The newspaper says Young was set to make a guest appearance on Saturday night, but left quickly, "upset by the festival's over-all atmosphere."

Yanofsky jumped on stage to join John Sebastian, a colleague in the defunct Loving Spoonful - a surprise reunion called "a nostalgic sight."

The newspaper praised the lead guitar work of Yanofsky with Sebastian, and later with American singer Kris Kristoferson.

Cohen, supported by The Army, sang a couple of new tunes early Monday morning in a set which also included "a beautiful treatment of Lady Midnight, one of his most caressing songs."

The newspaper continues:

"Whether he's the kind of artist best heard in the company of half a million other people is another matter--though he seems such a private singer, his music speaking to its listeners on such personal terms that it's best heard in comparative seclusion. And there can't be too many people capable of keeping up the necessary concentration until almost dawn."

The Lighthouse, led by drummer Skip Propkop, "staggered everyone by their instrumentation" which was three trumpets, two saxophones, electric piano, guitar, bass-guitar, drums, singer and an electric string section of two violins and a cello.

But the jazz-rock band's "various long solos were defiantly uninspired and appallingly cliche-ridden."

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