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Joni Mitchell|Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975)

Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975)

Joni Mitchell

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Joni Mitchell's ongoing Archives series has been an overwhelming success and the third volume somehow manages to outdo its predecessors. Where Volume 1 gave a raw, warts-and-all look at a developing talent wrestling with her creative identity and Volume 2 showed that talent operating at an astonishingly high level, Volume 3 documents Mitchell's transition from a truly gifted artist pushing the boundaries of the rock-culture zeitgeist into a mad genius staking her own sonic territories. This set, probably more than any other that has been or will be part of this series, is dynamic and revelatory, like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz and finding an actual wizard doing real wizardry. While Vol. 3 falls short of giving blow-by-blow documentation of the incredible studio-as-an-instrument work Mitchell did to transform For the Roses, Court and Spark, and—most triumphantly—The Hissing of Summer Lawns from jazz-inflected pop-folk records into towering artistic statements (most of the songs here are presented in either spare embryonic versions or funky, recalibrated live takes, with little middle ground).

This volume repeatedly demonstrates Mitchell's unerring gift for songwriting that is singular and superlative, as well as her willingness to build sonic scaffolding for those songs that is as complementary as it is challenging. The results are often just as impactful in their simplest renditions (a live acoustic version of "This Flight Tonight" loses the electric filigree and multi-tracked harmony vocals but still can stop traffic), and there are real revelations in the early and alternate versions of these well-known album tracks. In fact, most of these early versions would have made excellent album tracks. "See You Sometime" especially benefits from a loose, swinging airiness that's replaced with a denser arrangement on For the Roses, a streamlined, acoustic demo of "Raised on Robbery" is missing the full-band energy of the final version, but employs some wild background vocals that give the number an entirely different vibe, and a demo of "Help Me"—just Mitchell and a guitar—is breathtaking in its elegance. Despite the strengths of these more straight-ahead versions, Mitchell was clearly going to be dissatisfied with releasing them in forms that were merely "really good," when—with more work in the studio and the multi-track editing suite—they would be transformed into work that was "truly great."  © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975)

Joni Mitchell

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1
Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire (Graham Nash David Crosby Session)
00:03:58

Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

2
For the Roses (Graham Nash David Crosby Session)
00:04:03

Joni Mitchell, Producer, Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

3
Banquet (For the Roses Demo)
00:03:13

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

4
Lesson in Survival (For the Roses Demo)
00:03:14

James Burton, Guitar - Joni Mitchell, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

5
Like Veils Said Lorriane (For the Roses Demo)
00:02:15

WILTON FELDER, Bass - Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

6
See You Sometime (For the Roses Demo)
00:03:04

Russ Kunkel, Drums - James Burton, Guitar - Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

7
This Flight Tonight (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:30

WILTON FELDER, Bass - Joni Mitchell, Composer, Lead Vocals, Recorded by, MainArtist - Graham nash, Harmonica

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

8
Electricity (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:25

Russ Kunkel, Drums - Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist - Bobbye Hall, Percussion

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

9
Cold Blue and Sweet Fire (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:05:21

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist - Bobby Notkoff, Strings - Graham nash, Harmonica

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

10
Big Yellow Taxi (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:15

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist - Bobbye Hall, Percussion - Tommy Scott, Woodwinds

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

11
Blue (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:02:37

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist - Bobby Notkoff, Strings

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

12
For Free (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:04:36

Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist - Tommy Scott, Woodwinds

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

13
Banquet (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:19

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

14
All I Want (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:37

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

15
Intro to A Case of You (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:00:38

Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

16
A Case of You (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:04:40

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

17
Intro to Carey (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:01:28

Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

18
Carey (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:18

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

19
Lesson in Survival (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:17

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

20
Woodstock (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:04:05

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

21
Intro to You Turn Me On I'm a Radio (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:00:29

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

22
You Turn Me On I'm a Radio (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:02:54

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

23
Intro to For the Roses (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:00:37

Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

24
For the Roses (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:52

Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

DISC 2

1
Both Sides Now (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:05:41

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Recorded by, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

2
My Old Man (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:03:53

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

3
Intro to The Circle Game (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:01:49

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

4
The Circle Game (Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2/23/1972)
00:05:56

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

5
Medley: Bony Moronie/Summertime Blues/You Never Can Tell (with James Taylor) (For the Roses Early Sessions)
00:03:58

Chuck Berry, Writer - JAMES TAYLOR, FeaturedArtist, With Vocals - Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - LARRY WILLIAMS, Writer - Eddie Cochran, Writer - Jerry Capehart, Writer

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

6
Electricity (with James Taylor) (For the Roses Early Sessions)
00:03:32

JAMES TAYLOR, FeaturedArtist, With Vocals - Joni Mitchell, Producer, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

7
You Turn Me On I'm a Radio (with Neil Young & The Stray Gators) (For the Roses Early Sessions)
00:03:25

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Neil Young & The Stray Gators, FeaturedArtist, With Ensemble

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

8
See You Sometime (Early Version with Bass and Drums) (For the Roses Early Sessions)
00:03:10

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

9
You Turn Me On I'm a Radio (Early Version with Bass and Drums) (For the Roses Early Sessions)
00:02:57

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

10
Intro to Judgement of the Moon and Stars (Ludwig's Tune) (Live at Royal Festival Hall, London, England, 5/5/1972)
00:00:45

Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

11
Judgement of the Moon and Stars (Ludwig's Tune) (Live at Royal Festival Hall, London, England, 5/5/1972)
00:05:48

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

12
Blonde in the Bleachers (Alternate Guitar Mix) (For the Roses Sessions)
00:02:42

WILTON FELDER, Bass - Stephen Stills, Additional Instruments - Russ Kunkel, Drums - James Burton, Guitar - Joni Mitchell, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Bobbye Hall, Percussion - Bobby Notkoff, Strings - Graham nash, Harmonica - Tommy Scott, Woodwinds

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

13
Let the Wind Carry Me (Piano/Vocal Mix) (For the Roses Sessions)
00:03:59

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

14
Barangrill (Guitar/Vocal Mix) (For the Roses Sessions)
00:02:51

WILTON FELDER, Bass - Russ Kunkel, Drums - James Burton, Guitar - Joni Mitchell, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Bobbye Hall, Percussion - Bobby Notkoff, Strings - Graham nash, Harmonica - Tommy Scott, Woodwinds

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

15
Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire (Sax Guide Vocal) (For the Roses Sessions)
00:04:17

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

16
Sunrise Raga (For the Roses Sessions)
00:03:41

Joni Mitchell, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

17
Twisted (Early Alternate Version) (For the Roses Sessions)
00:02:00

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Wardell Gray, Writer - Annie Ross, Writer

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

18
Intro to Big Yellow Taxi (Live at Paul Sauvé Arena, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 4/15/1973)
00:00:58

James Burton, Guitar - Joni Mitchell, Composer, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

19
Big Yellow Taxi (Live at Paul Sauvé Arena, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 4/15/1973)
00:02:40

WILTON FELDER, Bass - Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

DISC 3

1
Piano Suite: Down to You / Court and Spark / Car on a Hill / Down to You (Court and Spark Demo)
00:12:33

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

2
People's Parties (Court and Spark Demo)
00:03:02

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

3
Help Me (Court and Spark Demo)
00:03:31

Tom Scott, Woodwinds - Henry Lewy, Engineer - Joni Mitchell, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Ellis Sorkin, Engineer - The L.A. Express, Drums, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Bass

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

4
Just Like This Train (Court and Spark Demo)
00:03:48

Patrick Milligan, Producer - Joni Mitchell, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

5
Raised on Robbery (Court and Spark Demo)
00:02:54

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

6
Trouble Child (Court and Spark Demo)
00:03:53

Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

7
Raised On Robbery (Early Working Version) (Wild Tales Session)
00:03:09

Russ Kunkel, Drums - Joni Mitchell, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2023 Elektra/Asylum Records, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. ℗ 2023 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

Album review

Joni Mitchell's ongoing Archives series has been an overwhelming success and the third volume somehow manages to outdo its predecessors. Where Volume 1 gave a raw, warts-and-all look at a developing talent wrestling with her creative identity and Volume 2 showed that talent operating at an astonishingly high level, Volume 3 documents Mitchell's transition from a truly gifted artist pushing the boundaries of the rock-culture zeitgeist into a mad genius staking her own sonic territories. This set, probably more than any other that has been or will be part of this series, is dynamic and revelatory, like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz and finding an actual wizard doing real wizardry. While Vol. 3 falls short of giving blow-by-blow documentation of the incredible studio-as-an-instrument work Mitchell did to transform For the Roses, Court and Spark, and—most triumphantly—The Hissing of Summer Lawns from jazz-inflected pop-folk records into towering artistic statements (most of the songs here are presented in either spare embryonic versions or funky, recalibrated live takes, with little middle ground).

This volume repeatedly demonstrates Mitchell's unerring gift for songwriting that is singular and superlative, as well as her willingness to build sonic scaffolding for those songs that is as complementary as it is challenging. The results are often just as impactful in their simplest renditions (a live acoustic version of "This Flight Tonight" loses the electric filigree and multi-tracked harmony vocals but still can stop traffic), and there are real revelations in the early and alternate versions of these well-known album tracks. In fact, most of these early versions would have made excellent album tracks. "See You Sometime" especially benefits from a loose, swinging airiness that's replaced with a denser arrangement on For the Roses, a streamlined, acoustic demo of "Raised on Robbery" is missing the full-band energy of the final version, but employs some wild background vocals that give the number an entirely different vibe, and a demo of "Help Me"—just Mitchell and a guitar—is breathtaking in its elegance. Despite the strengths of these more straight-ahead versions, Mitchell was clearly going to be dissatisfied with releasing them in forms that were merely "really good," when—with more work in the studio and the multi-track editing suite—they would be transformed into work that was "truly great."  © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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