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.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Joni's top 30 songs

The new issue of UNCUT magazine has another great Joni Mitchell feature (see Joni label for others) - this one compiles a list of her Top 30 songs, with in-depth comments on them by the likes of Joni pals like Graham Nash, Davd Crosby and other music makers. Fascinating reading - all the biggies are here and some odd choices. It all makes one realise how subjective music is and how we relate to it. These are my Top 30 - which are pretty consistent choices.

"Be Cool" and "Man To Man" from WILD THINGS RUN FAST, 1982
"Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" - the live version with Jaco, Metheny etc on the SHADOWS AND LIGHT live concert album, 1980.
"Let The Wind Carry Me" from FOR THE ROSES in 1972
"A Strange Boy" from HEJIRA, 1976
"Car On A Hill", "Down to You", "Just Like This Train" from COURT AND SPARK, 1974.
"Chinese Cafe"/"Unchained Melody" also from WILD THINGS RUN FAST.
"My Secret Place" and "Number One" from CHALK MARKS IN A RAINSTORM, 1989.
"Both Sides Now" - the 2000 version on her BOTH SIDES NOW album with orchestra.
"The Circle Game" and "For Free" on LADIES OF THE CANYON, 1970 (which features her great and individual piano playing).
"You Turn Me On I'm A Radio" and "Urge For Going" - both sides of a single release in 1972, from FOR THE ROSES era.
"Night In The City" and "Marcie" from her first album SONGS TO A SEAGULL, in 1968.
"Chelsea Morning", "Tin Angel" and "I Don't Know Where I Stand" on CLOUDS, 1969
"I Had A King" also on that first album, 1968.
"Talk To Me", "Off Side Back Street", "Cotton Avenue" and "Dreamland" on DON JUAN'S RECKLESS DAUGHTER, 1977
"Amelia" and "Coyote" on HEJIRA, 1976.
"Edith and the Kingpin" and "Harry's House" - THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS, 1975.
"All I Want", "My Old Man", "River", "Blue" - BLUE, 1971 - where every track is a classic, as are
"A Case Of You" and "The Last Time I Saw Richard".
"Barangrill" and all of FOR THE ROSES and COURT AND SPARK, and that live version of  "Woodstock" on the MILES OF AISLES live double. 
"Night Ride Home" and "Ray's Dad's Cadillac" on NIGHT RIDE HOME.
"God Must Be A Boogie Man" from MINGUS

Well, that may be more than 30 .... but there are so many, from all those eras. It was great seeing her at those early 70s concerts in London in '70 and '72, and dashing back to London by boat and train from Milan and Paris in 1974 for that new jazzy Joni at the New Victoria Theatre ..... 
(I won't mention again that I met her in 1972...)

Good to see the renewed interest in Joni and her works, recent interviews etc. and there was that boxset of her first 10 albums with mini-gatefold sleeves; her own recent collection LOVE HAS MANY FACES, the ballet peformed in Canada, and so on. Her art and music and songs are all still vivid, and her reputation grows, and there may be even more from her, as it seems she is back writing again, now in her early 70s, and smoking as much as ever, just like that other blonde painter: David Hockney.

Unlike those other great singer-songwriters, I like all of Joni's work, whereas with Dylan, Neil Young, Paul Simon, et al I go for certain albums or eras of theirs (and certainly not 30 songs!), viz Dylan's JOHN WESLEY HARDING, NASHVILLE SKYLINE, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS or his second album; Young's AFTER THE GOLDRUSH and HARVEST, Simon's STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, GRACELAND and his early solo albums, and of course Carole King's TAPESTRY (Joni and James Taylor sing backup vocals on that), Carly's NO SECRETS, and those sublime albums by Laura Nyro, Tim Hardin and Tim Buckley .... but Joni's back catalogue tops them all. 


  1. Martin Bradley4 March 2015 at 13:35

    It's actually 41 but bending the rules (or even breaking them) has never kept a Kerry man down, particularly one who happened on Joni on the King's Road once upon a time. Of course, there are many classics there we will both agree on but there are also many there, (particularly from the newer albums), that won't make my list when I get round to it. And I will stick to 30!

  2. If you check out my Facebook page you will see you (and Uncut) have me on a Joni kick at the moment.