Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Happy Birthday Joni !

Happy Birthday to Joni Mitchell - a gentleman doesn't reveal a lady's age but I will just say she is 2 years older than me (mine is on Dec 7) and she looks great in those recent photos. Here is the cover art for her second album CLOUDS - I used to have this on my hall wall when I shared a rambling apartment with two friends back in '69-'70. As per the Joni label, I met her purely by chance in 1972 and we walked along Kings Road, Chelsea, London, having a pleasant conversation. I might dig out COURT & SPARK or WILD THINGS RUN FAST or THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS later ....

Here are also some other great albums from that '68-'69 time that I liked a lot, being in my early 20s. BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS album was terrific with songs I liked such as "Sometimes In Winter", "And When I Die", "Spinnging Wheel" etc / The Band's MUSIC FROM BIG PINK was played all the time when I was sharing with some hippie pals who were taking lots of acid, we went to the Doors concert and others, I saw the Band in concert in 1970 and loved their other albums too and songs like "Whispering Pines", "Long Black Veil", "Lonesome Suzie", etc. Then there was The Doors - WAITING FOR THE SUN was not their best album, but with songs like "Hello I Love You" "Love Street" etc it was pretty good. Strange Days indeed .... Tom Rush's first album THE CIRCLE GAME - marvellous to get it again recently - was spellbinding with those early songs of Joni Mitchell ("Tin Angel", "The Circle Game", the wonderful "Urge For Going") and James Taylor, among others. The sound of 1968, as well as Cream, Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Laura Nyro and "Stoned Soul Picnic", Sly's "There's A Riot Going On" etc. Then came those first Elton John albums - TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION, MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER ("Tiny Dancer" etc); that era of gatefold albums, Joni's cover art always being essential, like THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS, HEJIRA, DON JUAN'S RECKLESS DAUGHTER etc.

I got to know Elton then too, after I moved to Chelsea in 1972 when he would be in the local record store every Saturday afternoon, and at Harrods as well. Stars just must have been more approachable in those days, without the entourages they all have now. That was the '70s - as Joni and James Taylor and Carole King and others reached their zenith - I discovered Tim Buckley's fantastic, elastic voice, particularly the GREETINGS FROM L.A. album, right (and then later his son Jeff) then in the '80s we embraced clubland and disco (The Pet Shop Boys, Joan Armatrading, Annie Lennox and Eurythmics, electro, soul grooves, et al) but also still going back to my roots... that late 60s was also the time of The Loving Sponful - those delicious songs by John Sebastian like "Warm Baby", "Did you ever have to make up your mind?" etc, and that California sound of The Mamas and the Papas and the the whole Byrds, Eagles and LA sound... Paul Simon's "I Am A Rock" is a particular memory from 1966 when I was sharing an apartment in Bayswater (along with early Dylan and Joan Baez), and The Supremes "You Can't Hurry Love" as I moved to Clapham, sharing with my best pal Stan and we discovered Tampla Motown and Aretha Franklin and Atlantic and went to that Otis Redding Show, Nancy Wilson and others.

I kept faith with Joni too, I practically wore out her 2000 album of standards (including two of her own) BOTH SIDES NOW - and she's still smoking! Then there have been those fascinating covers of her lyrics by the likes of George Michael ("Edith and the Kingpin"), Brian Kennedy ("A Case Of You"), Ian Shaw (a whole album of them), Ronan Keating's "River" etc. as well as the Herbie Hancock album and her own recent "Shine".

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