75 Essential Albums – Day #63 Joni Mitchell

Here goes with day 63 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Joni Mitchell – Blue

Blue (1971) is the fourth album of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Exploring the various facets of relationships from infatuation on “A Case of You” to insecurity on “This Flight Tonight”, the songs feature simple accompaniments on piano, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. Blue was a critical and commercial success, and is thought by many to be the best album about relationships ever made.

Mitchell is one of those artists who continually reinvent themselves but ‘Blue’  marked a turning point in just about every aspect of Mitchell’s life.  She had a difficult break up with Graham Nash, went off travelling around Europe and then entered into an intense relationship with James Taylor.  As a result ‘Blue’ is one of the most personal and should baring albums ever written.  The songs “Blue” and “All I Want” have specific references to her relationship with Taylor.  Mitchell was devastated when taylor broke off the relationship and she retreated to the studio to record Blue.  What she emerged with was a collection of songs about relationships.   “A Case of You” is believed to be about Leonard Cohen; “My Old Man” is probably about Graham Nash; “Carey” is almost certainly about an bartender that Mitchell met whilst in Crete. “Little Green,” is about Mitchell’s daughter.

Blue is heart wrenchingly honest from the first line of the first track “I am on a lonely road / and I am traveling, travelling, travelling, travelling” you know from the outset you are being taken on a painful journey.  You sense the emotional vulnerability and the tragedy, the pain, the loss, the foreboding. It has a beautiful intensity that ebbs and flows, swells and recedes, rises and falls across the album.  It is a beautiful tragedy, one that everyone should own and listen to regularly.

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