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4.4 out of 5 stars16
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Here's something rather special for Joni Mitchell aficionados. An 18-track set
recorded live at The Second Fret club in Philadelphia in 1966, a full two years
before the release of her debut album 'Song To A Seagull'. The concert was
broadcast on Temple University's radio station WRTI on 17/11/66. The sound
quality is surprisingly good and it's enlightening to hear how her material was
shaping up this early on in her musical career. Her voice is, as it always has
been, wonderful and the narrative segues between numbers are delightful.

It's especially interesting to hear the early version of 'Little Green', which did not
appear fully-formed on a recording until its inclusion on 'Blue' in 1972; the melody
and fluidity of the vocal line developed considerably in the intervening years.

Songs such as 'Both Sides Now' and 'The Circle Game', however, appear here
pretty much as we have come to know them on 'Clouds' (1969) and 'Ladies Of The
Canyon' (1970) respectively and it's incredibly poignant to hear the melancholy
'Marcie' from 'Song To A Seagull' sounding so beautifully fresh and as clear as
a bell. If I had to pick one track, however, it would have to be the gorgeous
rendition of 'Michael From Mountains' which is alone worth the price of the album.

'Oh! I wish, I truly wish, I'd been there to see her!

A small treasure.

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This is a wonderful live recording of the young Joni Mitchell two full years before the release of her first album. Her songwriting genius and originality are already evident, and her performance is brilliant, with a maturity far greater than one would expect from an artist who has just had her 23rd birthday.

There is a fine variety of material here from songs which have become very well known like Both Sides, Now (beautifully performed) to four which have never been released before. They all show Mitchell's fine musical originality and lyrical brilliance. For example, hearing this fine solo performance of Marcie I was struck again by the exceptional craftsmanship of her poetry with the recurring motif of red and green and the quiet brilliance of couplets like:
"And summer goes,
Falls to the sidewalk like string and brown paper"
with its evocative and original imagery and clever, allusive positioning of the word "fall". It is also deeply poignant to hear her sing the lovely Little Green so soon after giving her daughter up for adoption, now that we know what the song is about. The album is full of such things and she sings with real sincerity and plays magnificently. It's an album of real quality.

The sound is pretty good; it's not studio quality but it's perfectly acceptable and captures the live atmosphere well, and Joni's chat between songs is charming and very interesting in places. I find the whole thing exceptionally good. It's not just an interesting historical document for aficionados, although people of a certain age like me will probably find that their bruised and yearning teenage heart comes pounding back. It's actually a really good live album by one of the greatest singer-songwriters of the last 50 years and I recommend it very warmly.
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on 1 May 2014
Where has this been for 50 years, it's great and the additional narrative she adds to the songs is of great interest and value. Stand well with all the other albums, hope there's more in the vaults??????
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on 14 April 2014
A piece of history here - This was recorded before her first album came out and includes the fabulous Little Green a song written about her daughter which she gave up for adoption when she was first starting out - buy this, you won't be sorry !
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on 16 March 2016
This review is for the Double Vinyl release and I can heartily recommend it. It's been brought out by Let Them Eat VInyl who are quiet an established label and the pressing is good quality. Listening to this LP is perfect for a retro experience and a perfect antidote to a stressful day in the modern world. The sound quality is very nice, the epitome of retro. Yes, there is a little tape hum and the like but it all adds up to the feeling of being transported back in time. Most importantly the music comes across loud and clear. Nice banter with the audience too. I'm not a Joni uberfan so don't have every single one of her records but so far I prefer this to her debut Song to a Seagull and i'm hoping that listening to this will give me a new appreciation of that LP. I do love Clouds and Ladies of the Canyon though and this release compares well with them and features some tracks that would end up on them too. There are also some songs that never made it to a studio album making this essential for Joni completists. I would take a star off for the packaging if I was feeling fussy because the inner sleeves are poor and I had to clean the records before playing and replace them due to bits of paper loose on the vinyl. Also, the outer gatefold sleeve, though very pretty with some excellent photos of Joni in the middle section beside the 2 you see here on Amazon, is really tight and getting the LPs in and out is a bit of a faf, this seems to be an issue with a lot of new releases though so I won't lay the blame of this solely here.
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on 12 July 2015
Almost like being at a live concert!!! Joni Mitchell has traveled with me for 45 years and I thought I had all her records worth listening to. This one is great and is probably the closest I will ever get to being at a live JM concert. Mostly her early work but some songs I haven’t heard before and a bit of between song chat. If you like early Joni Mitchel this deserves a place in your collection
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on 26 April 2014
It is really interesting to hear these early recordings, and it is astounding to hear how brilliant her voice was even in her early days. BUT the whole recording has a high pitched whistle on it, so listening to it for 78 minutes leaves a pain in my head! I would not have bought it if I had known about this high pitched whistle, as after playing it once I can't bear to listen again!
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on 4 February 2015
Interesting for the rarities and sound quality is not great but adequate. Interesting as there is so little old material from Joni Mitchell available.
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on 28 February 2016

If you are a serious Joni fan this is essential listening.

Birth of a great and a true delight.
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on 6 April 2015
Ropey recording of 1966 live set but charming to hear early Joni performing some of her first hits and chatting to audience.
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