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Joni Mitchell - Archives – Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)

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Archives – Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)

Joni Mitchell

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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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Archives – Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)

Joni Mitchell

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1
House Of The Rising Sun
00:02:54

Trad., Composer, Writer - Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Ukulele, MainArtist - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

2
John Hardy
00:02:25

Traditional, Composer, Writer - Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Ukulele, MainArtist - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

3
Dark As A Dungeon
00:03:07

Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Ukulele, MainArtist - Merle Travis, Composer, Writer - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

4
Tell Old Bill
00:03:00

Traditional, Writer - Joni Mitchell, Vocals, Ukulele, MainArtist - S. Flint, Arranger - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

5
Nancy Whiskey
00:03:23

Traditional, Composer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Patrick Murphy, Arranger - TOM BROWN, Arranger - Steve Twigger, Arranger - Steve Wehmeyer, Arranger - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

6
Anathea
00:04:10

Traditional, Composer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

7
Copper Kettle
00:02:18

Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Albert F. Beddoe, Composer - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

8
Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)
00:02:48

Traditional, Writer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

9
Molly Malone
00:02:46

Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - TRADITIONNEL, Writer - Peter Briquette, Arranger - Barry Bowman, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

10
Introduction Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:01:03

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

11
Nancy Whiskey Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:03:03

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Traditional, Composer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Patrick Murphy, Arranger - TOM BROWN, Arranger - Steve Twigger, Arranger - Steve Wehmeyer, Arranger

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

12
Intro To The Crow On The Cradle Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:00:21

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

13
The Crow On The Cradle Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:04:07

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Sydney Carter, Writer

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

14
Pastures Of Plenty Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:03:00

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Woody Guthrie, Writer

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

15
Every Night When The Sun Goes In Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:04:28

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Traditional, Composer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

16
Intro To Sail Away Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:00:27

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

17
Sail Away Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:03:09

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Sail Away, Composer

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

18
John Hardy Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:03:04

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Traditional, Composer, Writer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

19
Dark As A Dungeon Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:04:04

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Merle Travis, Composer, Writer

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

20
Intro To Maids When You're Young Never Wed An Old Man Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:00:19

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

21
Maids When You're Young Never Wed An Old Man Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:02:41

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Traditional, Composer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

22
The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:03:22

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Traditional, Composer - Joni Mitchell, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

23
Deportee (Plane Crash At Los Gatos) Live at The Half Beat, Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, 10/21/1964
00:05:21

J. Robinson, Recorded by - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Woody Guthrie, Composer

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

24
The Long Black Rifle
00:03:17

Norman Gimbel, Composer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Lawrence Coleman, Composer

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

25
Ten Thousand Miles
00:02:51

Mark Kelly, Arranger - Dermot Byrne, Arranger - Traditional, Composer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Arranger - Ciaran Tourish, Arranger - Ciaran Curran, Arranger

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

26
Seven Daffodils
00:02:59

Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - L. Hays, Composer - F. Mosely, Composer

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

DISC 2

1
Urge For Going
00:04:25

Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

2
Born To Take The Highway
00:03:35

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

3
Here Today And Gone Tomorrow
00:02:51

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

4
What Will You Give Me
00:03:49

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

5
Let It Be Me
00:03:33

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

6
The Student Song
00:02:36

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

7
Day After Day
00:02:10

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

8
Like The Lonely Swallow
00:02:51

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

9
Favorite Colour
00:02:37

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

10
Me And My Uncle
00:02:39

John Phillips, Writer - Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

11
Sad Winds Blowin'
00:02:39

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

12
Just Like Me
00:02:40

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

13
Night In The City
00:02:34

Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

14
Brandy Eyes Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:02:27

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

15
Intro To Urge For Going Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:01:04

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Vocals, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

16
Urge For Going Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:04:55

Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

17
Intro To What's The Story Mr. Blue Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:01:01

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Vocals, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

18
What's The Story Mr. Blue Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:03:03

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

19
Eastern Rain Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:03:53

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

20
Intro To The Circle Game Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:03:52

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Vocals, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

21
The Circle Game Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:05:13

Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

22
Intro To Night In The City Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:01:32

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Vocals, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

23
Night In The City Live at The 2nd Fret, Philadelphia, PA, 11/1966
00:03:33

Joni Mitchell, Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

DISC 3

1
Intro To Both Sides Now
00:02:05

Joni Mitchell, Composer, Vocals, MainArtist - Ed Sciaky, Recorded by

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

Album Description

"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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