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Joni Mitchell (AKA "Song To A Seagull)

Joni Mitchell (AKA "Song To A Seagull)

4 Jul 1968
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sail to see with the Feminine Jonathan Livingstone...only she is more honest and likely to kiss your wounds better rather than expect you to walk through walls. Joni sea bird. After a while though - land is craved - as in more rock please.
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A very gentle and polite first album..
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Excellent product and excellent service
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By Ado on 22 April 2017
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Excellent
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This is a classic example of the "brilliant first album". An artist puts years of ideas into her first offering, with her own unadulterated personality on display. The result is powerful, innovative, and retains its rough edges.

I first heard it in 1968, when it fell loosely into the "folky" category. Adolescent fans of that genre (as I was) idolized people like Bob Dylan and Paul Simon as "Folk Poets". Half-way through the first track, scanning the words on the record cover, I had one of life's epiphanies. I thought "This woman really is a poet!" Her words, in this and many subsequent albums, make all those other song writers seem insipid, artless, incompetent.

Her arrival on the scene was actually quite explosive. She had a lot of street credibility from the outset. She grew up in Saskatoon, in the Canadian far-north. She had given birth to and parted with a child, been briefly married, and done her time playing in cellars in the Boho zone. She was in with Crosby, Stills and Nash and a host of others at the sharp end of the music scene of the time. Many well-known artists started recording her songs almost immediately. Everyone was entranced with her words. She had influential fans for two years before the production of this first album.

For her first album, she interestingly chose to record newly-written songs, in a "concept" format, rather than record the songs for which she was already famous (some of which she included in her second album). Although she was 25 when the album was issued, the sentiments of the songs are often adolescent, sometimes tooth-jarringly so. In the cover notes, she says "This album is dedicated to Mr Kratzman, who taught me to love words"!!
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Format: Audio CD
This, Joni Mitchell's first album is still, in my opinion her best. The anguish in her voice, especially on the haunting "I Had A King", the first track, grabs your attention and keeps it through all ten tracks. Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5 and 9 would grace any album by any singer. The lyrics could stand alone.
Rumour has it the album was originally entitled "Song To A Seagull" (see the cover). It could also have been called "Joni Mitchell meets Crosby, Stills and Nash" as Crosby produced it, Stills played bass guitar and Nash was her partner at that time. But any other title would do it an injustice, for this IS "Joni Mitchell".
Buy it and enjoy it, as I have done for over thirty years, yes it was first released in 1968.
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Format: MP3 Download
Joni Mitchell (born Roberta Joan Anderson) recorded her debut album at Hollywood’s Sunset Sound Studios in 1967. Produced by David Crosby, the collection was released by Reprise in 1968 to muted critical acclaim, though did not initially enjoy commercial success.

With her soaring contralto, unusual open guitar tunings and innovative song structures, the album has a shockingly different sound to other folk music on the contemporary mid-sixties scene and announced the arrival of an original new talent.

As a prolific songwriter and composer, Joni had already penned several pieces: ‘Both Sides Now’, ‘Eastern Rain’, ‘The Circle Game’ and ‘Chelsea Morning’ which had been popularised by other singers. However, on StaS she chose not to record these already-popular songs, but instead to focus on her newer compositions. The album has a clean and simple sound unfettered by the more complex arrangements later deployed in her recording career. Acoustic guitar deploying odd-ball open tunings is used as the essential accompaniment to her powerful (and occasionally double-tracked) contralto singing, sometimes filled out with bass guitar or harmonica. The songs are lyrical, complex, fresh-sounding and utterly original; in 1968 it sounded like nothing else and her style became instantly recognisable.

The two sides of the original vinyl release were titled respectively ‘I Came to the City’ and ‘Out of the City and Down to the Seaside’ in an attempt to tie the songs into general themes. The soundscape, however, is even throughout.

Joni dedicated the album to her 7th Grade English teacher who, she said, had taught her to love words and poetry and given her the confidence to start writing songs.
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By D J F TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Mar. 2017
Format: Audio CD
Joni Mitchell's 1967 debut album shows an astonishing breadth of ability with a lyric as she paints not only the cover art but stories that resonate too. Most here is in the pure singer/songwriter tradition - just Mitchell accompanied by her own acoustic guitar with double tracking only appearing on 'The Pirate Of Penzance' and closer 'Cactus Tree'. The only change from this formula takes place on 'Night In The City', the album's unrepresentative single where Mitchell additionally plays piano accompanied by Stephen Stills on bass. Throughout David Crosby's production concentrates on the purity of Mitchell's early voice, miked close and personal. Despite having already supplied a number of famous songs to others she would later record herself everything here was, at the time, new material.

The two sides of the album are labelled "I Came To The City" and "Out Of The City And Down To The Seaside" and that coupled with the prodigious lyrics printed inside reveal this as a loose concept album.

Not as assured as her later work and perhaps more of it's time than the rest of her output this is nevertheless a confident beginning.
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