- Album name: Ladies of the Canyon
- Artist name: Joni Mitchell
- Year: 1970
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Reprise Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Who owned it: probably my mother
- Buy it on Amazon: $60.00
Level of familiarity before listening
I have never listened to this Joni Mitchell record, but I do recognize some of the songs on it. It will be the fourth by Mitchell that I have reviewed, and the other three were:
What I expected
What it was actually like
Joni Mitchell still has a very nice voice, and I still find her music mostly ok, but not great.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the two songs on this record that I enjoyed the most were her two most famous songs, that were also relatively different from most of the others, and which were also the two most radio-friendly. Big Yellow Taxi was the best, and The Circle Game was the only song with another vocalist, and therefore the only one with any vocal harmony, which I thought elevated it substantially.
Another of her famous songs is Woodstock, which I thought was pretty boring. When I reviewed Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, I wrote:
I’ve never really gotten the success of Woodstock. I’d characterize it as an ok-to-good-enough song, but for whatever reason it’s become one of the anthems of its era.
Blue Boy was also boring in that way.
Willy, on the other hand, reminded me a lot of Songs to Aging Children Come, which I mentioned when reviewing Clouds.
Several of the songs on this record had a really excessive use of piano, which I felt detracted from them a lot, perhaps because I’ve always thought of Mitchell as a folk singer and because I would have expected a folk singer to use an acoustic guitar and not much else. Examples included The Arrangement, Rainy Night House and For Free, which also might have featured an oboe, but I could not be sure.
The Priest had no piano, but did not have much of a melody, either. I thought it was maybe a little better than those few.
The two songs that I disliked the most were Morning Morgantown, which had some weirdly atonal parts, and Conversation, which was more folk rock than the other songs and turned into more of a rock song as its tempo increased, but which had both flute and saxophone that ruined it.
3/5: interesting, but not for me