Joni now has been very outspoken about the music business in all those interviews and profiles in magazines in recent years, she probably won't be recording or touring any more, she paints a lot now, but she will always be THE female singer/songwriter with that great combination of voice, lyrics and music - which are all so distinctive. She is the template for legions of girls with guitars... and she still smokes non-stop too !
Joni now gets covered a lot - I love George Michael's version of "Edith and the Kingpin", plus Ronan Keating's version of "River" and that Ian Shaw album of covers with that delightful "Barangrill". She must make a good living from her back catalogue which are all still available and must get discovered every year. She never played the hit single game though - perhaps only "Big Yellow Taxi" is her enduring hit single - though I did like "You Turn Me On I'm A Radio". Janet Jackson's "Got Till its Gone" is a lovely tribute and very funky with those re-mixes.
Back to Joni: These days of course when performers have bodyguards and minders one would not dream of approaching them, but maybe we were more laid back back then. I went to her next concert when she was back in London in 1974 and it was the new jazzy Joni with the John Guerin band - I was in Italy at the time and dashed back across Europe by train from Milan to Paris and then to the ferry to Dover and got to London just in time for that evening concert - and somehow got a seat in the middle of the stalls. Perfect, just perfect.
She remains a brilliant lyricist, poignant, visceral, profound, moving, a brilliant musician and artist with that unique voice and phrasing. Those gatefold albums and songs like "A Case of You", "Good Friends", "Chinese Cafe", "For Free", "The Circle Game", "Marcie", "All I Want", "River", "A Strange Boy", "Tin Angel", "The Last Time I Saw Richard", "Both Sides Now", "Urge for Going", "Let The Wind Carry Me", "Down To You", "Chelsea Morning", "Car On a Hill" and "Just Like This Train" and "Peoples Parties" will always be important to me. That run of albums from SONG TO A SEAGULL in '68 rate from great to absolutely essential. In many ways she stands alone in popular music, with her reliance on unusual open tunings and jazz inflections... one of a handful of truly original and lasting figures to emerge in the past half century, often compared to Dylan of course, she is at least his equal. Her last album SHINE was well-received a year or so ago, as was Herbie Hancock's tribute album THE JONI LETTERS. That Tom Rush album THE CIRCLE GAME from '68 is also very nostalgic for me now, with its early covers of Joni and James Taylor numbers, a reminder of how we lived then in our twenties.
Coming soon: that Doors concert in 1968, and meeting Freddie Mercury...