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A return to form for Joni,
This review is from: Night Ride Home (Audio CD)
Night Ride Home is definately a return to form for Joni after the horrible 80s. With the greatest exception of "Chinese Cafe" she failed to record anything memorable in the 1980s, so what a joy it was to receive this album.
The highlights are "Passion Play" and "Two Grey Rooms" but there are certainly a batch of other songs here that give total reverence to her more explorative jazz days, particularly the odd-lick from her Mingus inspired God Must Be A Boogie Man; and what came in 1974 with the famous "Court and Spark" LP.
Now a comment about the title track. I have often wondered whether Joni re-recorded this song with a new twist in the lyric. I remember hearing possibly a bootleg demo of the title track that did not have the insert of "...Night Ride Home" immediately after she had sung "...fourth of July". I believe the subsequent released version was added to with the words that then became the title for song and album. I sense that this change then kicked off the writing and recording of the remainder of the album tracks (with a rolling concept) with the exception of "Passion Play" and "Two Grey Rooms" - both songs of which could easily have turned up on a different LP and not be out of place. So, have I created a debate here?? Joni, the song was perfect with just you singing "...fourth of July" at the end of each verse! Believe me!
"Two Grey Rooms" pictures a poetic link-up with possibly another painting or scene by Edward Hopper. Joni has been a fan of Hopper's work for nearly all her life and a few LP covers have been 'Hopper-esque'.
"Coming in from the Cold" sadly lets the album down and seems an excuse to fill time. Originally it was the first track on side two of the vinyl but on CD the track listing perhaps needed to be looked at again and possibly place it toward the end. "Two Grey Rooms" is an excellent last track however. I would place "Two Grey Rooms" alongside "Amelia", "Pat's Solo" and "Hejira" sequence from the Shadows and Light Live Album as tracks to be listened to in the dark - eerie and gorgeous!
"Night Ride Home" album is excellent, but I give it 4 out of 5 due to my query regarding the original version of the title track (which should have been called "Fourth of July")...?