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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

I bought a CD copy of Joni Mitchell's 1974 live album 'Miles Of Aisles' to preserve my original
double-disc vinyl edition. Some things are so precious this kind of reverence is justly required!
Much of the material delves into the earlier part of her unimpeachable songwriting oeuvre with
touching performances of 'Cactus Tree', 'Woodstock', 'The Circle Game' and 'Both Sides Now',
sitting side by side with more contemporary (then) compositions such as 'People's Parties' from
'Court and Spark', released the same year and a peep into the future with 'Jericho' from 1977's
'Don Juan's Reckless Daughter'. Whether accompanying herself on guitar, dulcimer and piano, or
joined by her wonderfully sympathetic ensemble, the sound throughout is uniformly vivid and warm.

It's difficult to pin down my favourites but special mentions would have to go to Mme Mitchell's
sublime renditions of 'Woman Of Heart and Mind', 'Real Good For Free' and 'A Case Of You'.

This is surely one of the most beautiful live recordings ever to take flight in The Listening World.
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on 11 February 2017
When I first bought this, I was not sure about it - the songs represent the highlights from the first-half of Joni's classic period, but I loved the originals so much and they fitted so well into their original albums that I was not really sure what this added. Now, returning to the album many years later and encouraged by others reviews, I have totally revised my opinion. Backed by the wonderful L.A express and at her commercial peak, Joni does an amazing, warm re-visiting of some of her best loved treasures and it is a total delight. For me, I now love the re-interpretations - Big Yellow Taxi rocks, as does this creation of Woodstock, and Carey becomes a lovely, lilting jazzy mid-tempo number. When Joni strips things down on classics like Blue and Case of You, she is as masterful as ever. View this as an early greatest hits and you get one very fine album. Classic Joni really is incomparable.
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on 13 June 2015
One other reviewer noted that parts of the audience sounds have (obviously) been edited. Which they have . . . and in my opinion also the sound engineer responsible for this has done a rotten job. I have the LP vinyl and I think I shall transfer this to a blank CD myself.
The editing on this CD has spoilt the atmosphere which the original LP recording has and the audience participation at the live recording (LP) captured. My advice may seam odd but get the LP if you can. And you can go back in time and soak up the fun.
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VINE VOICEon 2 August 2007
Two albums into her Asylum contract came this double album recorded live in California in 1974. Treading water prior to her next studio album a full year later (The Hissing Of Summer Lawns), the album also usefully provided Asylum with shiny new versions of some of her Reprise back catalogue, at a time when her vocal style had matured. Some of these now sounded considerably different, having been rearranged to incorporate the LA Express, the band led by Tom Scott with whom Joni had been working since their involvement on the Court And Spark album released at the start of the year. Perversely though, the one song from that album, People's Parties, is performed live acoustically.

Big Yellow Taxi, Woodstock, Carey, The Last Time I Saw Richard and Both Sides Now in particular appear in marked contrast to their studio counterparts, making them of some interest whether or not in the final analysis they are improvements. The album concludes with two previously unrecorded songs, Jericho (later to appear on Don Juan's Reckless Daughter) and Love Or Money.

Most of the concert was recorded over four August nights at the Los Angeles Universal Amphitheater and mixed to create the atmosphere of a single live performance (though two of the tracks come from earlier concerts at different venues in March).

However, much of this atmosphere has been sacrificed on this CD in an attempt to squeeze the albums onto to one disc. With the exception of Joni's amiable preamble to The Circle Game, all the between song chat and some of the applause has been crudely excised, with applause frequently being unceremoniously cut short by the clean start of a new track. As the running time is only 74 minutes, one hopes that any HDCD remastered edition will be able to restore this album to something approaching the whole, in line with the original production intentions
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on 14 September 2001
I recently got this album out of my box of old vinyl and was impressed by the wing collars and floppy hats on the cover. Did people really wear that stuff? This album is shot through with transatlantic '70's style. Even now the recording is so evocative that you think you are right there with Joni and her band, calling out between the songs and wowing to the music. If you ever wanted to remember or imagine of how it felt to be at one of those gigs then look no further. This is a magical evocation and highly recommended to all who love authentic vintage sounds.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 April 2015
I played this album to near destruction back in the 1970's, it spent lots of time on my turntable and, until Hejira, was my favourite of all Joni's albums. Ably and expertly backed by The L.A.Express some tracks are radically reinterpreted by their jazz-tinged backing, not least "Woodstock", taken at a jaunty pace. Most, but not all of this album was recorded over four dates at the Universal Amphitheater in August 1974 and the only criticism that can be offered is some evident cross-fading between tracks, in particular out of the Side 2 opener "Cactus Tree", which comes from a March date, but this is a minor fault. What you get is the best performances of a confident and relaxed Mitchell, seemingly enjoying herself in an environment she finds natural.

The album ends with two new tracks, "Love Or Money" which is unique to this album, and "Jericho" which had to wait until 1978's "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" to get a very different studio interpretation. Throughout the recording is clear, and leaves you wishing for more, especially with Joni's voice captured as it is beginning to mature. It's a fine example of making the live genre working as it should and by no means is a stop gap device in this case, hence the high rating - it's a valid release in its own right. Mitchell at the top of her game, and definitely the live album to buy from her back catalogue.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 May 2007
This live set from 1974 captures Joni Mitchell with the L.A. Express performing some of her best material up to that time.

Joni is in scintillating form. Her voice at this time was as good as it ever got, and that means you're listening to one of the most flexible female voices in the history of rock music. You'll have no doubt about this when you hear a track like "All I Want". The pitch and control of dynamics she gets from her voice on this track are simply amazing.

The band are also tremendous. Listen to the rocking version of Big Yellow Taxi with Tom Scotts fabulous solo.

There quite a few tracks from Blue, plus many other well known songs such as "Woodstock", "Jericho" and a moving version of "Both Sides Now". This is a little heard treasure of an album thats essential for anybody who wants to hear Joni at her absolute best.
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on 9 August 2002
I have always noticed that in guidebooks to music, reviewers very rarely give live albums as high a rating as studio albums. odd since for many artists it is the natural arena. This, for me, certainly is Joni at her best, surpassing the efforts of Ladies of the Canyon and even Blue. It mixes well the acoustic and electric, showcases new arrangements, has both the well known and the not so. You can certainly see her turning to more complexity and jazz influenced arrangements. The recording quality is good, the performance are expert my both Joni, Tom Scott, and the LA Express. It is a moving album - some of the songs are just so so beautful and poignant but it certainly rocks in places. And of course it is all shot with a very pleasant atmosphere which draws you to the sunny LA of 1974
a must have
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on 6 May 2011
It's a real shame the original 2 disc vinyl has been edited to fit onto a single CD. OK, the songs remain intact, but the between songs banter is lost so that the CD lacks a sense of continuity.

Anyway, despite this flaw the musicianship is spectacular and Mitchell is on fine form here. Miles of Aisles certainly functions as a mid 70s live greatest hits compilation but also as a sort of precursor of what's to come.

Given the utterly frustating announcements followed by cancellations - first there were going to be double CDs featuring remastered albums coupled with alternative versions and outtakes, then there was going to be a boxset featuring unreleased recordings (that seems to have fallen apart due to Rhino's failing fortunes) - it's definitely worth getting hold of Miles of Aisles - an album rather unjustly overlooked in the Joni Mitchell canon.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 October 2011
This is a live album that strives for, and achieves, a feeling of intimacy and sense of performance. The focus is communicating the songs rather wowing the audience with extended solos or radically reworking the material in order to create 'interest' for the diehard' fans. There is little to say about this set except that Joni is in great voice, her band funky and tight and the song selection excellent as it reads almost like a greatest hits line up. Purists need not worry, the band add a little bit of tasy light -jazz ornamentation, but otherwise don't hinder Joni in the slightest. Particular attention should be paid to guitarist Robben Ford who adds wonderful little lines here and there, keeping things interesting and just that little bit gritty on occasion.

It is too easy to forget that Joni is not just one of the great song writers of modern times she's also a natural on stage. She sounds so carefree and in her element on this album, its positively infectious! Live albums are all too frequently cash-in's but it's fair to say that 'Miles For Isles' grabs and holds the attention from start to finish simply because it is so good. The only problem is that in order to squeeze in all the material from the original 2 LP set , a sense of continuity has been sacrificed due to hasty editing of on stage patter and crowd applause, robbing the listener of the full `you are there' experience. A must buy!
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