Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark (33 1/3) Paperback – 15 Feb 2007
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'A brilliant series of pocket-sized books focussing on a classic album. Each one a work of real love.' --NME Magazine
About the Author
Sean Nelson is the Associate Editor and Senior Staff Writer of The Strangerand is a partner in Seattle independent label Barsuk Records.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since the early eighties, Joni Mitchell has been a constant presence for me, and before that, on and off, she drifted in and out, sometimes hanging round for a while, sometimes just making a quick call and then wandering off again. This one artist has nursed me through more heartaches, disasters, long drives, celebrations, lonely evenings, social evenings and loose ends than all the others put together. To say she provided my adult life with a soundtrack would be an understatement.
She is also, incidentally, one of two musical figures to whom I would willingly attribute an, albeit ironic, lifestyle influence, with the line "business men in button downs" determining my work attire for many years. (The other, in case you're asking, was "Sipping Jack Daniel's in Third World bars," from America For Beginners by Latin Quarter, the second part of which is, regrettably, little more than an aspiration.)
With some relationships though it takes a while to appreciate their significance, and so it was I came quite late to thinking I might read a book about Mitchell. The first of these, Mark Bego's Both Sides Now, was a big disappointment; the second, Karen O'Brien's Shadows and Light, much more satisfactory, but it still falls short on the bit I am most interested in, the music, and specifically in looking at how the continuum that is Joni Mitchell's lifework interrelates.Read more ›
Like any good essay it sets the scene with albums that have gone before and concluded with the work that followed. I disagreed with him that C&S was a peak and the subsequent 'Hissing of Summer Lawns' and 'Hejira' were the beginning of a wilfully obstinate decline. However, he argues his points very intelligently and perhaps pinpoints why Joni spent a decade almost ignored. She was ahead of her time and frustrated with the critics and her audience's inability to see her as more than a winsome folky.
If you love this album, this is a highly recommended read. And even if you don't agree with all that's said, you'll appreciate that the author is a dedicated fan who has earned the right to say it.