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Pop - Released January 23, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Pop/Rock - Released December 15, 2009 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released June 30, 1975 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released May 7, 2013 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop/Rock - Released September 24, 2013 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop/Rock - Released March 12, 2013 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released October 30, 2020 | Rhino

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"I got to beat these leeches to the punch." That's one of the reasons put forth by Joni Mitchell—an artist famously averse to looking backward, especially at her earliest years as a musician—as to why she compiled this massive collection of the first recordings she ever made. The "leeches," of course, are the bootleggers and other folks seeking to exploit her performances, so, in an approach similar to Neil Young's Archives series, Mitchell's audio biography cuts them off by presenting a set that is both chronological and comprehensive. And, surprisingly for broadcast tapes, demos, and live recordings from more than a half-century ago (but perhaps not so surprising for a collection overseen by the fidelity-conscious Mitchell), the audio quality is consistently superb. While many other artists have undertaken similar vault-clearing expeditions, the sheer fact that Mitchell was willing to revisit the era in which she was very explicitly a folk singer—a label she disliked and quickly pivoted away from creatively—is a real surprise. It's almost as surprising as how good of a folk singer she was! The earliest recordings here, from a Saskatoon AM radio broadcast in 1963 and a 1964 cafe concert in Toronto, are all folk standards like "Nancy Whiskey," "Maids When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man," and "House of the Rising Sun." Mitchell's voice molds itself to the warbly pitch favored by female folk singers of the era (and she even plays a ukulele), but it's clear she's merely trying on a costume, using a pre-built form to copy so she can develop her technical skills. By the time the first Mitchell originals appear on the set—on a tape she made for her mother's birthday in 1965—both her music and her voice have begun to transform, and by the 1967 recordings, the more resonant singing voice associated with her—as well as her affinity for unique guitar tunings—s on full display. In fact, when one radio show host comments "Are you ever in straight tuning?" Mitchell kind of laughs and says "just in one song" like it's the most normal thing in the world. (Mitchell's infamous stage banter—honed so she could tune her guitar between songs without completely losing the audience—is in abundant evidence on this set. There is literally an album's worth of her talking and tuning here, and it's all pretty wonderful.) The early demos and concert performances of songs like "Morning Morgantown," "Night in the City," and, of course, "The Circle Game" and "Both Sides, Now" are revelatory in their own way, and one can hear on these recordings why so many of her contemporaries in the folk scene gravitated toward them and why Mitchell included them on her first three, pre-Blue albums. However, the Mitchell originals that never appeared again are even more interesting. Tracks like "Urge for Going" (which Mitchell calls her "first well-written song") and "Born to Take the Highway" are exceptionally strong pieces of work that show just how high her standards were for her own work. To be sure, this era is the least interesting period in Joni Mitchell's musical career, at least from a creative standpoint, but this installment of Archives is nonetheless a substantial, intriguing, and revelatory set, which bodes quite well for the future of the series. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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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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Pop - Released December 15, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop/Rock - Released November 19, 2013 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released June 28, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Accompanied by the London Philharmonic under the direction of Vince Mendoza, Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell revisits with great emotion, in a voice marked by time and supported by sumptuous orchestral arrangements, several standards of the American music hall from the 1920s to the 1970s, as well as very heart-moving remakes of two of her songs, her famous hit 'Both Sides', now from 1968 and 'A case of you' from the 1971 album 'Blue'.
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Pop - Released June 30, 1975 | Reprise

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

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Pop/Rock - Released December 15, 2009 | Rhino - Elektra

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Folk - Released March 9, 2004 | Nonesuch

According to Joni Mitchell, Travelogue is her final recorded work, and if that is so, it's a detailed exploration of moments in a career that is as dazzling as it is literally uncompromising. Over 22 tracks and two CDs (and as stunning package featuring a plethora of photographs of Mitchell's paintings), Travelogue is a textured and poetic reminiscence, not a reappraisal, of her work -- most of it from the 1970s through the 1990s. A 70-piece orchestra, as well as jazz legends Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Kenny Wheeler, drummer Brian Blade, bassist Chuck Berghofer, producer Larry Klein, and organist Billy Preston, among others, accompanies her. It's true that Mitchell dabbled in this territory in 2000 on Both Sides Now, but that recording only remotely resembles this one. Cast in this way it is true that this is no easy cruise, but given the nearly 40 years of her sojourn in popular music, Mitchell's work, particularly from the mid-'70s on, has been difficult for many to grasp on first listen and always gives up its considerable rewards, slowly making her records age well over time; they are not disposable as much of the music from her peers is. These completely recast songs cover the entirety of her career, from her debut, Song From a Seagull, to Turbulent Indigo (with certain albums not being represented at all). It's true there aren't high-profile cuts here except for "Woodstock," which is radically reshaped, but it hardly matters. When you hear the ultrahip, be-bopping "God Must Be a Boogie Man," there is an elation without sentimentality; in the scathing and venomous "For the Roses" and "Just Like This Train," the bitterness and aggression in their delivery offers the listener an empathy with Mitchell's anger at the recording industry -- and anyone else who's crossed her. But while there is plenty of swirling darkness amid the strings here, there is also the fulfillment of prophecy; just give a listen to this version of "Sex Kills" that bears its weight in full measure of responsibility and vision. Her voice, aged by years of smoking, is huskier and is, if anything, more lovely, mature, deep in its own element of strength. The restatement of W.B. Yeats, "Slouching Toward Bethlehem," is more stunning now than ever before as is "Hejira." In "The Circle Game" and "Slouching Toward Bethlehem," you hear the ambition in Mitchell's musical direct as she has moved ever closer to the tone poem as a song form. Though it may not be as easy on first listen as Court and Spark, Travelogue will continue to unfold over time and offer, like her best work, decades of mystery and pleasure. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released April 24, 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop/Rock - Released March 5, 1976 | Rhino

On For the Roses, Joni Mitchell began to explore jazz and other influences in earnest. As one might expect from a transitional album, there is a lot of stylistic ground explored, including straight folk selections using guitar ("For the Roses") and piano ("Banquet," "See You Sometime," "Lesson in Survival") overtly jazzy numbers ("Barangrill," "Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire," and hybrids that cross the two "Let the Wind Carry Me," "Electricity," "Woman of Heart and Mind," "Judgment of the Moon and Stars"). "Blonde in the Bleachers" grafts a rock & roll band coda onto a piano-based singer/songwriter main body. The hit single "You Turn Me on I'm a Radio" is an unusual essay into country-tinged pop, sporting a Dylanesque harmonica solo played by Graham Nash and lush backing vocals. Arrangements here build solidly upon the tentative expansion of scoring first seen in Ladies of the Canyon. "Judgment of the Moon and Stars" and "Let the Wind Carry Me" present lengthy instrumental interludes. The lyrics here are among Mitchell's best, continuing in the vein of gripping honesty and heartfelt depth exhibited on Blue. As always, there are selections about relationship problems, such as "Lesson in Survival," "See You Sometime," and perhaps the best of all her songs in this genre, "Woman of Heart and Mind." "Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire" presents a gritty inner-city survival scene, while "Barangrill" winsomely extols the uncomplicated virtues of a roadside truck stop. More than a bridge between great albums, this excellent disc is a top-notch listen in its own right. © David Cleary /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 5, 1968 | Rhino

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Pop - Released July 1, 1973 | Rhino

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Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Geffen

Cutting back on the guest musicians of her previous effort and paring down to a basic small group of musicians helps add immediacy to Night Ride Home. While this release features several of Joni Mitchell's favorites, nothing here would become a hit, as Joni tended to buck trends and follow her own beat. Very involved and a rather tough listen, but well worth the attention, this would be her last for Geffen, where she languished unnoticed while the label went heavy metal crazy. © James Chrispell /TiVo