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  1. #1

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    I know that Joni started off folky and got jazzy along the way. Was this because her songwriting went in that direction or because her session musicians had a lot of freedom within her songs? I grew up in the 80/90s and came across her music via the Jaco/Metheny when in my teens connection rather than through the radio-play of the time.
    Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny. FZ

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    she just evolved from a singer/songwriter/"folk singer" and expanded her horizons.
    she was slowly going in that direction, hiring jazz musicians along the way, probably beginning w/ Court and Spark to a degree and culminating in Mingus

    big fan btw....


  4. #3
    I love those albums from the seventies. I was surprised by how quickly she evolved, but there is no doubt that she is a master songwriter.
    Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny. FZ

  5. #4

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    She said in an interview that she had been trying to get folk musicians to play what were her natural rhythms, only to be told time and again that she had too many beats in this or that bar, or too few. And then one day she played a song to a pro jazz drummer, who just played her songs perfectly. He'd say, "love that 7/8 to 4/4 to 11/16 change!" or something like that, and she instantly realised that there was nothing wrong about what she had been naturally doing, she just needed musicians who were capable of realising it. So, possibly that was when she started looking to jazz musicians for band members, and they in turn would influence her. I adore the Mingus album!

  6. #5
    My all time favorite album with her is without a doubt Hejira. Extremely beautiful songs, and Jaco is amazing there, he shows off his melodic sense, and kills it.
    Testing a Gibson ES335 vs Harley Benton HB 35 (very inexpensive semi hollow body guitar)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fGMIs1wNEA&t=185s

    I am playing a solo over my buddys song, Cookies and Cream

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJHqt_lpyKM

  7. #6

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    Her guitar approach involved trying her usual chord grips with different tunings. She attributed this partly to having a weak left hand due to childhood illness. Approaching the guitar that way is going to result in some non-standard chords. Write some songs with that approach and you're getting yourself ready for jazz.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Her guitar approach involved trying her usual chord grips with different tunings. She attributed this partly to having a weak left hand due to childhood illness. Approaching the guitar that way is going to result in some non-standard chords. Write some songs with that approach and you're getting yourself ready for jazz.

    A huge part of her original/unusual untraditional voice on the guitar is of course the alternative tunings. Very powerful indeed.
    Testing a Gibson ES335 vs Harley Benton HB 35 (very inexpensive semi hollow body guitar)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fGMIs1wNEA&t=185s

    I am playing a solo over my buddys song, Cookies and Cream

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJHqt_lpyKM

  9. #8

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    I just played a gig at a big theater that is having a tribute to Joni Mitchell Concert, and a guy who worked there said she's very ill right now. Don't know the details.

  10. #9

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    Her singing and writing are what skyrocketed her. She plays guitar and piano just right to support her voice and lyrics. She's extraordinary.
    MG

  11. #10

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    Loved Blue, but that's probably a bit common. After that it seemed it was more of the same. Jazzier, very good, but the impact had gone.

  12. #11

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    A great Guitarist .

    On her way to becoming a great Songwriter , she became a great Guitarist .

    I have voicings that simulate ' Odd Tunings ' with unisons and seconds
    and minor seconds etc.. and have been rhythmatizing them (lol - sure that's a word ) .

    I don't listen to much music these days except occasional youtube but was listening to some Joni recently .

    Cool thing about her is the general lack of Travis Picking Ragtime thing ...Travis Picking is cool but eventually gets monotonous ( Ragtime Stride Piano etc.) ...
    She doesn't rely on that much and her voicings and chord progressions are often very interesting...

    Brilliant Musician/Guitarist IMO.

  13. #12

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    Not a bad pianist either.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Not a bad pianist either.
    Exactly ,or Singer or Songwriter.Or , lyricist.

    Must be nice to be a genius ...

    On one of the ' Science ' broadcasts Physicist Michio Kaku was explaining how the heavy elements in our bodies like Iron and Calcium were forged in Stars and the very heavy elements were forged in Supernovae ...he said 'we are literally made from Stardust- try to find a song about that ' .

    Joni Mitchell 1969 'Woodstock' 'we are stardust ' - I thought it was a metaphor but Joni may have had physicist friends (?) or ...

    Just a Genius .

    I mean it's not super hard to fingerpick like that but to dream it up before anyone else was doing it and some of her chord changes and voicings , creativity ....

    Mike Moreno mentioned her as an influence , I admire his creativity on Acoustic or fingerstyle Electric also .... I thought it was cool that a straight Jazzer ( probably no such thing though ) would have Joni as an influence .

  15. #14

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    She is a genius and I listen to her all the time, mainly the early to middle stuff. Probably my favorite album is Court and Spark. What great songs, a great voice, a great band (Larry Carlton, Tom Scott, Joe Sample, etc.), and great arrangements.

    As you may be aware she had a brain aneurysm about 4 years ago and has made a very slow recovery. I don't know about her current health status.

    Joni Mitchell At 75: Trouble Is Still Her Muse : NPR

    She has been known to say some pretty unfiltered things about her peers, such as Bob Dylan. She reminds me of my birthmother in this respect. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing for her art, but that's who she is.

    Brandi Carlisle had an interesting story about hanging with Joni earlier this year:
    “I’ve been doing this job — and it is the greatest job in the world — for such a long time. But overnight, my life changed. The craziest shit that happened is that the night after the Grammys, we got to go out to dinner with Joni Mitchell. She made us all drink Pinot Grigio and ordered all our food for us,” Carlile explained. “She’d had an aneurysm about six years ago, and she was unconscious in her kitchen for two days before they found her. And she was already a polio survivor, and has had to learn to walk and talk again twice in her life. But she’d sworn off music.
    “At end of the night, she said to me, ‘The only thing that bothers me is I’ve got all these instruments in my house. Maybe you’d want to put together a group of young people and come and play.’ I didn’t tell her I’m like the world’s shittiest guitar player,” she laughed.
    As the story goes, Carlile brought Hozier with her to Mitchell’s house the next week. They drank more wine and ate enchiladas. Carlile and Hozier played for Mitchell for a while. And then, in walked Chaka Kahn and then Herbie Hancock.
    “Our hearts were in our throats. And we were just terrified, but the vibes were good on that magical night. Herbie’s hands started gliding around the piano while we’re all introducing ourselves. And then from the middle of the room, we hear this voice sing, ‘Summertime, and the living is easy.’ And it’s (expletive) Joni Mitchell. She opened her mouth and she sang again, and she didn’t stop singing for an hour. I don’t think I’ve been so inspired in my life.”

    How Brandi Carlile Made Her Way to the Grammys | CMT
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 08-14-2019 at 01:03 PM.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  16. #15

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    Yes. I read what she said about Bob Dylan she said' he is a made up person , he sings in a hillbilly voice ( lol) and is not a good guitar player '.(I am paraphrasing but the gist).

    It's a shame she has health problems ...I would have liked her to stay the same with just a few wrinkles....

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa View Post
    Exactly ,or Singer or Songwriter.Or , lyricist.

    Must be nice to be a genius ...
    Probably not.

    On one of the ' Science ' broadcasts Physicist Michio Kaku was explaining how the heavy elements in our bodies like Iron and Calcium were forged in Stars and the very heavy elements were forged in Supernovae ...he said 'we are literally made from Stardust- try to find a song about that ' .

    Joni Mitchell 1969 'Woodstock' 'we are stardust ' - I thought it was a metaphor but Joni may have had physicist friends (?) or ...

    Just a Genius .
    Yeah but she got it wrong, because it's more like 13 or 14 billion year old carbon. I don't care whether it scans or not. Scientific accuracy makes more better songs.

    Only kidding.

    Always wondered where she got that from. She must have know some people up on cosmology but it was well known in the scientific community by that point - Carl Sagan wasn't doing TV shows back then....

    I mean it's not super hard to fingerpick like that but to dream it up before anyone else was doing it and some of her chord changes and voicings , creativity ....

    Mike Moreno mentioned her as an influence , I admire his creativity on Acoustic or fingerstyle Electric also .... I thought it was cool that a straight Jazzer ( probably no such thing though ) would have Joni as an influence .
    I know a few jazzers influenced by Joni.

    I always thought it striking the way she makes her acoustic guitar sound like an orchestra on the earlier albums. Hejira is pretty magical too although I find a lot of the 70s stuff a bit too autobiographical and self involved... I like the music on Court and Spark but that album can drive me up the wall. The early stuff I like best.... The best Joni songs are not about Joni, but a lot of Joni songs are.

  18. #17

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    She's wrong about Bob Dylan. That was a very superficial assessment.

    He didn't get to where he is by singing like a hillbilly and playing average guitar, he did it by writing some cracking songs.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    She's wrong about Bob Dylan. That was a very superficial assessment.

    He didn't get to where he is by singing like a hillbilly and playing bad guitar, he did it by writing some cracking songs.
    Yes , obviously - and he's a good strummer (' Tangled Up in Blue' - I think his voice is cool too for what he does /did.

    I mean 'Tangled Up in Blue ' sounds great as is ( also Dylan's voice goes nicely into the Tenor Range on that tune he's obviously not Steve Winwood or Sting vocally etc. ) - but some of his writing ( most ?) is just classic.
    Chopping Tangled Up in Blue as accompaniment to a vocal into Neo Classical etc. might not be any better...

    Back to Joni - "Free Man in Paris " -
    if you play the Chorus in your mind ( as Alto Sax ) it sounds like a great Alto Sax Solo or piece .

    Perfect Song for Alto Sax ..or a really really nice clean singing Guitar tone.

    The Rhythms and interval leaps in her melodies are amazing in how well they work in addition to the creativity...

  20. #19

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    In fact, edit that. Not just some cracking songs, tons of cracking songs.

    Greatest Bob Dylan Songs - Top Ten List - TheTopTens(R)

    It's unfair to compare them really, two different kettles of fish entirely.

    Best Joni Mitchell Songs - Top Ten List - TheTopTens(R)

  21. #20
    I am not sure I agree with Joni's assessment of Bob, but that's her bag.
    Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny. FZ

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by SandChannel View Post
    I am not sure I agree with Joni's assessment of Bob, but that's her bag.
    Well like all great artists, Dylan puts on a disguise, and steals from his predecessors. In fact, his very name is an invention and a theft

    Joni's had many personae herself. She tried to pass herself off as a black pimp on one of her album covers, and has even admitted as much.

    The way she said what she said about Bob though...

    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  23. #22

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    I read that a certain point in her career she was using so many alternate tunings she was actually considering stopping live shows as it was becoming difficult to manage . She was turned on to a Roland VG-EX and it allowed her to continue playing live shows without the hassle of multiple guitars or long retuning breaks.

    Joni Mitchell & the Roland VG-8 – nicolechupka

    I have the Roland VG 8 EX it is simply an amazing processor. A bit vintage but still capable to this day of some remarkable results with some sympathetic and considered ears.

    Always loved Joni's jazz inspired music , she comes from the next province west of me - good prairie girl!!

    Will

  24. #23

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    I looked up the Roland VG-EX and they're apparently discontinued. Are there substitutes?

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I looked up the Roland VG-EX and they're apparently discontinued. Are there substitutes?
    I want one of these even tho' I don't gig anymore & almost never plug in...as many custom tunings as you can be bothered to program..plus amp/guitar modelling



  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by SandChannel View Post
    I am not sure I agree with Joni's assessment of Bob, but that's her bag.
    Sure, I doubt if any of us think that , Joni might not even really ..



    I bet Pat Metheny has some interesting things to say about her - he toured with her awhile right- and that's where she got Jaco.

    I remember seeing Jaco in some of the South Florida Clubs long ago - he also Jammed with Steve Morse onstage once at a Dixie Dregs Concert at University of Miami.

    I think [ Jaco ] he wasn't in very good shape some of the time ...
    He was just walking around , not jamming or anything so I didn't talk to him ...
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 08-16-2019 at 01:08 PM.

  27. #26

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    I don't want this to sound superficial, because it really isn't meant to be, but it's amazing how many songwriters or artists from the era she had relationships with: a partial list is Leonard Cohen, David Crosby, Graham Nash, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, John Guerin, Sam Shepard, Jaco Pastorius, Don Alias and Larry Klein. It's like a who's who of Laurel Canyon. And she wrote songs about most of them, some of which are brilliant.

    I also remember an interesting article from many years ago which talked about how she wasn't conventionally attractive, but she made herself into a beautiful person who seduced an entire generation.

    Now of course how someone looks or who they sleep with may be irrelevant in many situations, but this is rock and folk music we're talking about, after all. We all know that Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan and David Bowie did the exact same thing. And Picasso and Frank Sinatra and so many others.

    Anyway, like a great artist she turned her volcanic personal life into art, which is really the most one can ask of an artist.
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 08-15-2019 at 02:11 PM.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  28. #27

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    I thought she was really cute lol.

    I was knocked out by her writing and Guitar Playing...not her looks .

    All that other stuff is only trivia to me ..nobody mentions how many people Jackson Browne slept with or James Taylor ...or do they ..who cares or me between 16 and 19 ...lol.
    The important thing about Taylor and Cat Stevens ( and Alun Davies - his Guitar sidekick )to me is they influenced me to play almost exclusively acoustic for about 6 years....

    I play the electric often like an Acoustic -since I am writing and creating harmonic rhythms - it resembles Solo Guitar sometimes.
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 08-16-2019 at 01:09 PM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa View Post
    I thought she was really cute lol.

    All that other stuff is only trivia to me ..nobody mentions how many people Jackson Browne slept with or James Taylor ...or do they ..who cares
    The important thing about Taylor and Cat Stevens ( and Alun Davies - his Guitar sidekick )to me is they influenced me to play almost exclusively acoustic for about 6 years....
    Well I'm not gonna lie, you say "hippie chick" to me, and my heart starts palpitating. Out of the women of her era I probably had the biggest crush on her, maybe second to Grace Slick. Both a little older than me LOL.

    The only reason it's relevant is that she wrote some GREAT songs about her relationships, like River about Graham Nash and a couple of songs about Leonard Cohen:

    I met you on a midway at a fair last year
    And you stood out like a ruby in a black man’s ear
    You were playing on the horses, you were playing on the guitar strings
    You were playing like a devil wearing wings, wearing wings
    You looked so grand wearing wings
    You were betting on some lover, you were shaking up the dice
    And I thought I saw you cheating once or twice, once or twice

    A Case of You is about either Nash or Cohen, depending on which day of the week it is.

    So yeah, it's kind of relevant, IMO anyway.

    And btw Jackson Browne got a ton of action back in the day. I mean, I think that's all they did in the Canyon--have sex and write songs. (There's actually a great [fictional] movie about this called Laurel Canyon, starring Francis McDormand. Highly recommended.)
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  30. #29

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    There are alternatives but the VG 8 EX also has the Vio algorithm which was unique and I would argue is unmatched in what it does. The pitch shifting for individual strings was really a minor feature. For some reason Roland did not include the Vio in later models and did not develop it further but it was capable of some very unique tonalities.

    Sting used the VG8 EX Vio algorithm in a number of songs - for what that's worth. One very lovely use is bringing a breath blown/ bowed sound to a plucked string.



    You can pick them up at a reasonable price but need to make sure you are getting the VG 8 EX and not a VG 8 or VG 8 with an expansion pack.

    Roland VG-8 EX | Reverb

    You can dig into the manual here

    Roland - Support - VG-8EX - Owner's Manuals



    Will

  31. #30
    I read that Dylan and Joni Mitchell were at someone's house in LA (maybe one of their's) with some other people and Joni was playing some new songs she had just written (probably in the '70s if I recall). Dylan acted either disinterested, bored, or rude regarding the songs she was playing during that and apparently it pissed off Joni. So that may have sparked her to dis on Dylan. She of course admitted that he was a great songwriter, but said he was a lousy musician. Is that what happened? Who knows, but that's what I read.

    I find some of her tunes simply brilliant and others boringly self absorbed as someone mentioned above. Coyote is one of my favorites, with the images and moods and emotions she conjurs within an urgent and ever driving tune and her fascination with a man on the prowl, and I especially like the version she played during the Band's Last Waltz performance.

  32. #31

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    Years ago, after one saturday gig to local record stores I put the new purchases to my record shelve. I had bought a Joni Mitchell record and I was amazed to find that I had at least ten Joni's records there already. I had started to collect her records unconsciously. (Later I was almost upset when I noticed that I had the same thing with Van Morrison records!)

    The early ones are a bit hard to listen because of the quality of the singing voice of young Joni Mitchell. But in the 70's starts a long series of good records. And the newer the better, Turbulent Indigo is one of my (many) favourites.

    But the best of all is Travelogue. There has been winters when I don't listen almost anything else. (Ok, Kind Of Blue some times.) It is wonderfully orchestrated album, the music starts from the silence. And there is no hurry anywhere. Plus always tasteful Wayne Shorter!

    Here is an arrangement (praise Vince Mendoza) with swing jazz tint: Be Cool!


  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    I don't want this to sound superficial, because it really isn't meant to be, but it's amazing how many songwriters or artists from the era she had relationships with: a partial list is Leonard Cohen, David Crosby, Graham Nash, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, John Guerin, Sam Shepard, Jaco Pastorius, Don Alias and Larry Klein. It's like a who's who of Laurel Canyon. And she wrote songs about most of them, some of which are brilliant.

    I also remember an interesting article from many years ago which talked about how she wasn't conventionally attractive, but she made herself into a beautiful person who seduced an entire generation.

    Now of course how someone looks or who they sleep with may be irrelevant in many situations, but this is rock and folk music we're talking about, after all. We all know that Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan and David Bowie did the exact same thing. And Picasso and Frank Sinatra and so many others.

    Anyway, like a great artist she turned her volcanic personal life into art, which is really the most one can ask of an artist.
    Don't forget that she was also having an affair with David Geffen (who was bi-sexual back then), right after he started Asylum Records.
    Geffen counted on signing Laura Nyro (whom he was managing at the time) for Asylum, but she wound up signing with Columbia Records, which devastated Geffen.
    He wound up signing Judee Sill instead, along with David Blue, the first two Asylum artists. When Joni came along, it was rumored that she didn't want competition from another woman on the label, and convinced Geffen to drop his support for Sill, according to the British journalist/author who wrote the book, "Welcome to the Hotel California".
    Sill was an extremely talented singer/pianist/guitarist/pianist/songwriter, but her stuff wasn't as commercial as Mitchell's was, so Geffen dropped her like a hot potato when Mitchell came along.
    Mitchell was quite aware of who Sill was, as she was seen in the studio during the recording of "Heart Food", Sill's second album for Asylum, on which Sill both wrote the orchestrations, and conducted the orchestra and chorus, in addition to playing the piano and guitar and singing.

    Sill was so mad at Geffen for dropping all publicity for her second album, she camped out on Geffen's front yard for a week!
    When that didn't work, she outed Geffen as a "Fat little fag" at one of her concerts, and she was booted from Asylum for good.

    This was in 1971, so I think we can assume Geffen wasn't pleased with being outed. In his huge autobiography, Geffen only mentioned Sill in one sentence, calling her an ex- prostitute/drug addict.

  34. #33

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    Joni Mitchell-22899010-0e7c-4ba3-8c01-376ae0c5940e-jpeg
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  35. #34

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    I just read that article from Mojo. It is mainly about a photographer Norman Seeff who took pictures about her for years. Great photos that I’ve never seen.

    It also gives quite bohemian impression about Mitchell’s way of life. No no, I do not mean who-slept-with-who nor sensational narcotic stories, just the attitude of an artist!

  36. #35

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    I still find it strange the attraction the public has for clebs..the intense hunger for every detail of their lives..and the press frenzy to go along with it all..

    Ladies of the Canyon did it for me...as I was in LA during that period and had friends in Laurel Canyon which was right in the middle of it all just above sunset blvd..

    The tune "For Free" was a mini story of LA life in the time limit of a traffic signal..ahhh talk about micro/macro views of the universe..

    not bad for a country girl from Canada singing in bars..and became a top attraction in the music biz..all in a very short time..hmmm..perhaps while wating for "the walk in green.."
    play well ...
    wolf

  37. #36

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    lots of drama and ego here reported about Mitchell.

    I'll say this, Diana Krall in her encore at the end of her 'live in paris' dvd recording killed it on her rendition of 'a case of you'

    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  38. #37

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    This was when she was young and tender... ish :-)