Tuesday, 22 November 2016


by Joni Mitchell

I was a relative latecomer to the world of Joni Mitchell, and even that probably wouldn’t happen till much later if not for my former office-mate who was a huge fan of Charles Mingus. At some point — I think it was in 1999 — he introduced me to Mingus, which was the first Joni’s album I heard. I was fascinated with Jaco Pastorius’ work there and wanted to hear more of Joni Mitchell. One not-so-sunny Saturday, I and Yuri went to Cambridge. We wandered into Andy’s Records on Fitzroy Street (sadly, this shop doesn’t exist any longer) and there I bought both Mingus and Hejira. I loved this latter even more. Hejira, released 40 years ago today, is probably the best of her studio work. Beautiful lyrics, amazing musicians, even more amazing performance.

He asked me to be patient
Well I failed
“Grow up!” I cried
And as the smoke was clearing he said
“Give me one good reason why”
Sharon I left my man
At a North Dakota junction
And I came out to the “Big Apple” here
To face the dream’s malfunction
Love’s a repetitious danger
You’d think I’d be accustomed to
Well I do accept the changes
At least better than I used to do
In a highway service station
Over the month of June
Was a photograph of the earth
Taken coming back from the moon
And you couldn't see a city
On that marbled bowling ball
Or a forest or a highway
Or me here least of all

And while we are on subject of lyrics: complete lyrics, together with guitar transcriptions, can be found at the Joni Mitchell’s website. Note that Joni uses a lot of different guitar tunings. Should you have a go at any of these, Howard Wright wrote a very useful guide to Joni tuning notation.

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