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Major late period work
on 2 April 2017
Turbulent Indigo marked Joni Mitchell's return to Reprise Records and along with it's Geffen predecessor Night Ride Home (which to my mind just edges it) this is Mitchell's strongest late period work. The Rock theme has disappeared, instead there's a return to beautiful guitar-led songs featuring strong lyrics and supporting backing from a tight band that remains in the background. There are echoes of Mitchell's folk and jazz origins throughout. Larry Klein plays delicate Bass throughout, and Wayne Shorter adds Soprano Sax to five of the tracks highlighting it's jazz-tinged nature, but often there are no or minimal drums, reminiscent of Hejira, which this album resembles at times and which is a huge plus.
It's hard to pick a standout track because the whole works so well as a journey, just like Hejira. If I had to pick just one track it would be 'The Magdalene Laundries', with Mitchell commenting here on the tragedy of nuns - supposedly kind hearted souls revealing a shocking disregard for 'fallen women'. Mitchell raises her familiar hackles against the pace of 'progress' and the ills of the modern world ('Sex Kills'); and domestic violence ('Not To Blame') - injustice is often called out in her later work. There's plenty about her other major subject too - Love, but here with a twist as it appears to be lost love that raises it's head in 'How Do You Stop', 'Last Chance Lost' and 'The Sire Of Sorrow (Job's Sad Song)' perhaps reflecting her personal relationship with Klein.
This is a major, late period work from Mitchell, always fascinating, always beautifully set with deep lyrics and her own unique guitar tunings to the fore. Klein and Shorter add a lot here. Buy with confidence.