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Folk - Released October 29, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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The first volume of the Joni Mitchell Archives series shed significant light on the beginning of Mitchell's musical journey, compiling a wealth of unreleased demos, radio broadcasts, and live tapes from the years just before she began making records. The extensive collection painted a detailed picture of Mitchell's nascent years growing as a songwriter and performer in the independent folkie scene, and Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 2: The Reprise Years 1968-1971 does just as thorough and impressive a job of drawing back the curtain on the lively period surrounding her first four albums. The collection moves in chronological order, beginning with some rough home demos for songs from 1968 debut Song to a Seagull and its 1969 follow-up, Clouds. Hissy home recordings of tracks like Clouds' "Roses Blue" offer interesting counterpoint to the more polished studio versions, and documentation of this phase also includes outtakes from the Song to a Seagull sessions. The most intimate inclusions here are relaxed demos made at a friend's Manhattan apartment in early 1968. Sketches like "It's Easy" and "Another Melody" find Mitchell humming wordless placeholder melodies and sometimes searching for the next chord on the guitar as she finds her way but still sounding sublime. A complete recording of both sets from a 1968 gig at an Ottawa coffee house (recorded by Jimi Hendrix, no less) captures Mitchell playing at full power to a sparse crowd, and a shortly afterwards the track list jumps to a full performance from a packed Carnegie Hall less than a year later. Mitchell was evolving at a blinding pace in this four-year period, and the collection traces that growth at every turn. The difference is marked between a somewhat mellow September 1968 version of "Chelsea Morning" made with the John Cameron Group for a BBC broadcast and the soaring solo rendition of the same song at Carnegie Hall just five months later. Similar demos, outtakes, and live material are included from the time of third album Ladies of the Canyon and 1971 masterpiece Blue. The Blue-related tracks are some of the collection's most exciting and include a lengthy Paris concert from October of 1970 where Mitchell is joined by James Taylor for duets of Blue songs that were yet to be released at that point. The massive set closes out with three outtakes from the Blue studio sessions, including a version of B-side "Urge for Going" with a string arrangement, the upbeat "Hunter," and an unreleased mix of "River" with French horns playing familiar melodies from Christmas carols over the song's melancholy piano progression. Much like the volume before it, this installment of the archive series is a must for Joni completists, zeroing in on one of her most vibrant phases. If the first volume of the Joni Mitchell Archives tracked the development of an artist finding her voice, Volume 2 illuminates the creative process from a time when that voice was reaching its zenith. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 8, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released August 26, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 13, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released July 30, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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R&B - Released July 16, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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R&B - Released July 9, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released July 2, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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After publishing Archives-Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967), an imposing box set of Joni Mitchell's recordings, running to 119 mostly unreleased tracks that date from before her first official record, there now comes a collection of well-made, overdue remasterings of her studio albums. As its title suggests, The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) brings together the first four of these: Song to a Seagull (March 1968), Clouds (May 1969), Ladies of the Canyon (April 1970) and Blue (June 1971). The first four and nothing else! That means that we dispense with the usual alternative takes and other unreleased demos that we would usually find on this kind of reissue: the focus here is on the essentials. And what is essential here is a young woman gradually extracting herself from a folk idiom (the Canadian always hated being labelled a folk-singer) and creating her own language. This is an identity that takes shape from Songs to a Seagull onwards. The young Mitchell even entrusted the former Byrd, David Crosby, with the production of this first effort, which she divided into two sides: I Came to the City which looks towards the city, and Out of the City and Down by the Seaside, which turns towards nature. Joni Mitchell develops these themes with her open tuning, her high, clear, mesmerising voice, and a certain melodic richness. A big drawback to Songs to a Seagull is its original mix, which sounds almost shameful. This error was rectified for the 2021 re-release by sound engineer Matt Lee. “The original mix was atrocious. It sounded like it was recorded under a jello bowl, so I fixed it!” With Clouds, Joni Mitchell ploughs a similar furrow, but with greater harmonic and instrumental richness. The themes she addresses on this second album remain transparent enough, from the personal and introspective (I Don't Know Where I Stand) to the tormented and fearful (The Fiddle and the Drum), but the music has become denser.This feeling will intensify with Ladies of the Canyon, a hit which boosted her reputation. This third album saw the singer transform her folk sound with richer lyrics and increasingly subtle arrangements. Joni Mitchell was achieving unprecedented sophistication and becoming a unique star in the orbit of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to whom she was still very much attached. Critics and audiences quickly fell in love with all of these quirks. But in spite of her fame she still yearned for freedom, and to get away from the limelight. So after Ladies of the Canyon was recorded, naturally Joni Mitchell wanted to set out travelling.One year later, Blue came out. Her fourth album on Reprise, it proved a cornerstone of her introspective, stripped-down folk sound. For all its lack of artifice and repetitive ingredients, this was a work of peerless grace and depth. A masterpiece conceived as a private journal set to music, it marked a real turning point in the career of the 28-year-old musician. This remaster offers up a definitive version. And that is just one more reason why The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) are totally in-dis-pen-sa-ble! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released June 25, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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R&B - Released June 25, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released June 21, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released June 4, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released May 27, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released May 21, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released May 13, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released May 7, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released April 22, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released April 16, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Rock - Released April 9, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Fleetwood Mac's 1980 double-album Live was released as a way for the physically, emotionally, and creatively exhausted group to continue the winning streak that saw them dominate the last half of the '70s with Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, and Tusk. The band recorded audio and video at every one of the 112 (!) dates they played between October 1979 and September 1980 and then proceeded to put together an album that putatively represented a Tusk tour date. In that regard, Live was perhaps the apotheosis of the Frankenstein-ed "live" album. The 2-LP set didn't just combine recordings from multiple dates on the Tusk tour ... it pulled in songs from multiple tours to present a weird, idealized version of "a Fleetwood Mac concert." The original release threw in a few cuts from the Rumours tour, a song originally released by Buckingham Nicks ("Don't Let Me Down Again") that the Mac performed on tour in 1975, and even a couple of studio rarities ("Fireflies" and a cover of the Beach Boys' "Farmer's Daughter"). However the album may fail as an accurate piece of documentary audio it more than succeeds as a cohesive piece of rock 'n' roll. While some tracks do occasionally suffer a bit from the vagaries of live performance—a cracked voice here, a late guitar melody there—thanks to the embarrassment of riches in their song pool and given that the band was at the peak of their powers, the selection of their best individual performances yielded excellent results, and nearly all of the tracks bristle with energy, vibrancy, and a sense of creative electricity that was surely a bit of a crapshoot on such a long and grueling tour. And, in some cases—"Over and Over" and "Never Going Back Again" especially—the live versions captured here are actually superior to the studio takes, gaining an intensity and immediacy that accentuates their inherent drama. This new edition continues in the original's tradition, tacking on a third disc of live rarities that's similarly wide-ranging, including tracks recorded on the Mirage tour which happened two years after Live was originally released. While those extras feel (obviously) tacked on—more than an encore, but less than a standalone show—they also lack the flowing context of the main album and feel far more disjointed in their presentation. Nonetheless, getting to hear the Rumours band take on "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)" at the Oklahoma City State Fair Arena in 1977 or a transcendent version of "Songbird" from the tail end of the Tusk tour in Arkansas is still quite thrilling. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Pop - Released April 8, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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