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Wed Apr 1, 2015, 01:53 PM

Joni Mitchell: My Heart and Soul

Last edited Wed Apr 1, 2015, 09:26 PM - Edit history (2)


____I've been a fan of Joni Mitchell since I was about 11 years old; more so in my teenage years. I used to lie on the hot grey slate by our swimming pool in our suburban neighborhood our family had exiled to a few years after the D.C. riots following the killing of MLK and listen to her and James Taylor croon together on 'You Got a Friend.' I'd listen for hours to our local AM radio station, WINX, with F.Scott Fitzgerald buried in the church next door to their studio, on my transistor radio as they played 'Big Yellow Taxi' over, and over, and over again in between songs by artists like Carole King, Credence Clearwater Revival, and Bill Withers. Almost every song swirled in my adolescent head, feeding my summer daydreams and adding texture and pattern to my childhood crushes.

We had a local alternative radio station at the other end of our town in Bethesda, Md. which was a natural extension of the two head shops, 'Good Stuff' and 'Marco Polo,' where I bought my chamber pipes, strawberry-flavored rolling papers (and the little hand roller), water pipes and bongs, and my first LSD from some stranger in the back of the shop of Marco Polo on a huge waterbed they had on display surrounded by blacklights, lava lamps, and beads hung from the doorways. WHFS featured amazing DJs like Damien (his dad, Jacob Einstein, was general mgr.), Weasel, Cerphe, and others, and broadcasted the D.C. area's first FM station's tunes from 'high atop the Triangle Towers' building directly across the street from the Psyche Dell, a tiny but amazing bar and beer store which featured bands on the weekends like the 'Nighthawks,' 'Evan John and the H-Bombs,' and 'Root Boy Slim' on the weekends.

Damien or Weasel would intersperse all of the great Joni songs throughout their sets and they became a natural part of the fabric of my hippie-wannabe life. I remember one particular night in my room listening to HFS in a half-sleep while tripping on some weak acid and I was dreaming I was in a small church courtyard and saw a young nun in full habit come out of the stone building's massive wooden door with her head down and her hands folded before her. She lifted her head to the sky and began to sing 'Woodstock'...

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm
I'm going to join in a rock 'n' roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try an' get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden


Now standing in the middle of the small yard littered with gravestones and flowers, she continued...

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden


At the end of the song (in my acid-addled dreamstate) she folded her head and slowly walked back into the stone church and closed the great door behind her. I woke completely convinced I had witnessed something divine and miraculous and was forever smitten by Joni's beautiful song which she later said she wrote for her then-boyfriend, Graham Nash, as consolation for not being able to attend the historic gathering in NY.. The song still haunts me with the image of that nun and that iron-gated church.

I was something of a JD in my youth; a petty thief, an opportunistic vandal, and an inveterate pothead. Many of my days were spent taking off in someone's car into the countryside, barefoot with our bongs and guitars, to some green field, some crop of rocks, or some comfortable woods to sit in a circle and pass the pipe around. I was a peaceful soul, but I could also be a rouge and a hopelessly misbehaving scamp.

I recall one day when I was out of weed and the only person in sight in our unbearably quiet neighborhood was a quirky, small kid who I had witnessed other more devious and corrupt acquaintances than myself take advantage of when he had weed or money to buy some. I had him all to myself that day and I was determined to have my own way with the unfortunate fellow and convinced him to take me to his house where I hoped to either steal something or get him to give up money for some pot... or anything I could gain.

We went down to a lower room in his house and I noticed a really nice stereo in the corner and I spotted Joni Mitchell's live album, 'Miles of Aisles,' stacked against the wall. I couldn't resist and asked if I could put it on the turntable. Like I said, I had brought this fellow to his house to take full advantage of someone I thought was a rube and beneath me. I had found a bottle of liquor and had it secreted away in my jacket as I put the record on to play. When the record began to play, something incredible happened. I had never heard anything so beautiful in my life and the words and music cut right through my heart and soul.

There I was, posturing as a toughie; a bully, an impossible cad; and this music was stripping away that absurd veneer with every sweet note and every gentle chord. I started to cry...not just cry, but actually weep uncontrollably, right there where I stood. It was all I could do to keep this kid from seeing my tears. I was, all at once, embarrassed and disarmed by the sweetness of the sounds coming from the stereo. I put the bottle of booze back where I found it, apologized to the fellow, and hurried away, completely ashamed of myself and transformed back into my natural state of peace and love that I had obviously gleaned from the gentle music of my time which featured Joni Mitchell as its heart and soul.

I still get a tear thinking back on that day; still recall my utter stupidity and chagrin, vividly, when I put on my own 'Miles of Aisles' album and hear those songs like it was yesterday all over again...

Blue, songs are like tattoos
You know I've been to sea before
Crown and anchor me or let me sail away

Hey blue, there is a song for you
Ink on a pin underneath the skin
An empty space to fill in

Well, there's so many sinking now
You've got to keep thinking
You can make it through these waves

Acid, booze and ass
Needles, guns and grass
Lots of laughs, lots of laughs

Everybody's saying that Hell's the hippest way to go
Well, I don't think so but I'm gonna take a look around it though
Blue, I love you

Blue, here is a shell for you
Inside you'll hear a sigh, a foggy lullaby
There is your song from me

25 replies, 1801 views

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Arrow 25 replies Author Time Post
Reply Joni Mitchell: My Heart and Soul (Original post)
bigtree Apr 2015 OP
bigtree Apr 2015 #1
bigtree Apr 2015 #9
bigtree Jun 2015 #25
octoberlib Apr 2015 #2
bigtree Apr 2015 #3
octoberlib Apr 2015 #4
bigtree Apr 2015 #7
madokie Apr 2015 #5
bigtree Apr 2015 #6
LineReply .
bigtree Apr 2015 #8
bigtree Apr 2015 #10
Hekate Apr 2015 #11
bigtree Apr 2015 #13
greatlaurel Apr 2015 #12
bigtree Apr 2015 #14
Zorra Apr 2015 #15
bigtree Apr 2015 #16
Zorra Apr 2015 #17
bigtree Apr 2015 #18
G_j Apr 2015 #19
bigtree Apr 2015 #21
G_j Apr 2015 #24
CanSocDem Apr 2015 #20
bigtree Apr 2015 #22
bigtree Apr 2015 #23

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 03:07 PM

1. kick

(wish we had a better thread to keep updated on her condition than the 'one' that's devolved into some absurd argument over her reported ailments)


JoniMitchell.com
@JoniMitchellcom · 14h 14 hours ago
Joni is currently in intensive care in an LA area hospital but is awake and in good spirits. More updates to come as we hear them.

JoniMitchell.com @JoniMitchellcom · 16h 16 hours ago
Joni has been hospitalized. We are awaiting official word on her condition and will post it here as soon as we know.

http://jonimitchell.com/

Mar 31: Joni hospitalized
Joni has been hospitalized. We are awaiting official word on her condition and will post it here as soon as we know.

Mar 31: UPDATE 9:57pm PDT
Joni was found unconscious in her home this afternoon. She regained consciousness on the ambulance ride to an L.A. area hospital. She is currently in intensive care undergoing tests and is awake and in good spirits. More updates to come as we hear them. Light a candle and sing a song, let's all send good wishes her way.


Guardian:

Joni Mitchell treated in intensive care at Los Angeles hospital
Grammy award-winning folk singer in ‘fair condition’, say authorities, after paramedics were called to her Bel Air home

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Response to bigtree (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 2, 2015, 11:04 AM

9. Joni Mitchell's famous fans

...are voicing their support for the folk singer while she is in hospital in Los Angeles.

Harry Potter star Emma Watson said on Twitter: "heard about Joni and haven't been able to concentrate all morning. So hope she's doing ok."

Kiss lead singer Paul Stanley tweeted a recent picture of himself and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, telling his followers to send her love and prayers.

Actor Kevin Bacon tweeted that he was "sending good wishes today to one of the finest singing, song-writing, guitar playing artists in history".

Boy George, Billy Idol and Tori Amos were also among the well-wishers.


http://home.bt.com/news/world-news/joni-mitchell-fans-back-ill-singer-11363972987944


A friend of the musician's later told CBC News that the singer was conscious when she was found, and had suffered a "minor medical emergency" Tuesday.
http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/arts/joni-mitchell-hospitalized-emma-watson-kevin-bacon-among-famous-well-wishers-1.3019146

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Response to bigtree (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 26, 2015, 09:32 PM

25. update from David Crosby

David Crosby has revealed that Joni Mitchell suffered from an aneurysm when she was hospitalized in late May. "Nobody found her for a while," he told the Huffington Post. "She took a terrible hit. To my knowledge she is not speaking yet...She's going to have to struggle back from it the way you struggle back from a traumatic brain injury…She's a tough girl, and very smart. So, how much she's going to come back and when, I don't know and I'm not going to guess."

read:

ht: Miles Archer


JoniMitchell.com ‏@JoniMitchellcom May 26
Joni Mitchell Laughs at Fame in Newly Animated Eighties Interview http://rol.st/1HujwHE

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 03:16 PM

2. Beautiful post! Big K&R!

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Response to octoberlib (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 04:36 PM

3. thanks much, octoberlib!

...prayers.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 07:46 PM

4. Giving this another kick

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Response to octoberlib (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 09:20 PM

7. still no more news :(

...I have to think that she's awake and fully in control, tho, given the silence about her condition and her characteristic penchant for privacy.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 08:09 PM

5. K&R

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Response to madokie (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 09:15 PM

6. thanks, madokie!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Thu Apr 2, 2015, 05:56 AM

8. .

Last edited Thu Apr 2, 2015, 11:34 AM - Edit history (1)



David Crosby @thedavidcrosby · 2h 2 hours ago
“@scottsongs: Is @thedavidcrosby the "man who's been out sailing in a decade full of dreams?"”
Yes

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Thu Apr 2, 2015, 07:43 PM

10. David Crosby

David Crosby @thedavidcrosby
“@YanktheMike: @thedavidcrosby will you share any news of joni when you get it?”
Yes I will

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Thu Apr 2, 2015, 07:53 PM

11. Kick. Let this be the antidote to that other thread

Though I will go back there to use the links to her songs and albums.

We never can know what will provide an other-world opening or an epiphany -- for you, it was Joni's song.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 2, 2015, 10:52 PM

13. amen to that, Hekate

...sorry to hear it's still around.

Joni...I just need to put this out there. I know I'm not alone in this; I imagine myself standing in the back of a room full of adoring teenage female fans waiting to gush out my own fawning account of how much this incredible artist owns my heart. Ask my wife...it's so true, it's almost scary. She's jealous again, reading this...

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Thu Apr 2, 2015, 09:30 PM

12. Thank you for this post.

Wonderfully written account.

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Response to greatlaurel (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 2, 2015, 11:36 PM

14. you're welcome, greatlaurel

...thanks for reading.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2015, 12:29 AM

15. Wow. Beautiful, honest post. You are younger than me, but near the same age as my brother,

"a toughie; a bully, an impossible cad;". A totally cool, macho stud kinda guy.

I believe that you have may described a type of transition that many American liberal males went through around that time. Do you think it was the acid, the music, the consciousness of the times, or that you were just really lucky?

Your experience is so similar to my younger brother's experience it makes me want to cry. He was such a dishonest, arrogant asshole thief and liar, and then he figured out the difference between light and dark, and became a beautiful human being.

I love Joni, my brother and I used to sing "Big Yellow Taxi" together, and then, one day he figured out what it really meant.

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?

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Response to Zorra (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 3, 2015, 12:50 AM

16. just lucky, I guess

...so many influences over my youth with so many schools (kicked out of each and every one), but the experience and music that stuck with me was the acoustic, earth-minded sound that drew me closer to nature. I suppose it was the trusty woods which allowed us to smoke a bowl or two without running afoul of the law or the other authorities and provided us with our own individualized spaces, rooms which we could call our own.

I don't really know how I could be so much one person and emerge an entirely different one, except, maybe that was what I was seeking all along. I met my wife at 18 and married four months later at 19 (35 years ago) and, not surprisingly, most of that youthful nonsense faded and became nothing more than a stranger in my past.

I guess we hold those things which really matter to us close in our hearts and minds and never really let them go. If we're lucky, we can become the people we once, long ago, imagined ourselves to be.

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone


Hopefully we can capture enough in our lifetimes, before it evaporates - as all things eventually must.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #16)

Fri Apr 3, 2015, 01:32 AM

17. "the trusty woods".

That is most probably what "saved" my brother also.

Thanks.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 4, 2015, 09:15 AM

18. Apr 3: Update on Joni's health

Apr 3: Update on Joni's health from http://jonimitchell.com/

Joni remains under observation in the hospital and is resting comfortably. We are encouraged by her progress and she continues to improve and get stronger each day. We've created a simple web page to aggregate Facebook and Twitter messages so that Joni can see all the well wishes people are sending her way, check it out!



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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 4, 2015, 09:29 AM

19. Beautiful

thank you!

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Response to G_j (Reply #19)

Sat Apr 4, 2015, 12:59 PM

21. thanks, G_j!

...thanks, for reading.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #21)

Sun Apr 5, 2015, 03:54 PM

24. a way to send regards,

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 4, 2015, 10:11 AM

20. Great story. k&r



Eloquent.

You described the transformation that was sweeping the planet, on a personal level. Nice!



.

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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #20)

Sat Apr 4, 2015, 01:37 PM

22. thank you, CanSocDem!

...I think our 'transformations' ebb and flow; advance and then recede a bit as one generation gives way to others still learning and growing. It's a generational challenge, imo. Circle game, sez Joni.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Apr 5, 2015, 12:34 PM

23. I don’t think Joni Mitchell knows how much she’s venerated. Or maybe she knows and it doesn’t matter

...writes Linda Grant:

...I accept that Mitchell has not been the easiest star to love. She gives little back to her fans and her views on feminism have been disheartening to say the least. She seems to have lately rejected everything her generation stood for, from its ideals to its clothes. There is a tendency to think that if you could only meet the person of whom you are a fan, you would inevitably become friends. For a long time I imagined that I would be hitchhiking one day and Joni would pick me up and we'd drive along under a limitless sky talking about the men we had loved and the trap of marriage and the perhaps unavoidable tendency of romantics to become cynics, and the desire for Paris gowns and lacy dresses and skating on a frozen lake in a snow storm ... and I wouldn't need to tell Joni a thing about me. She already knew. She'd written my emotional biography. "I am a woman of heart and mind / With time on her hands / No child to raise". "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." And, definitively, "Nothing is capsulised in me / On either side of town / The streets were never really mine / Not mine these glamour gowns." If I could express any of that in a novel, so succinctly, I would have done. But she's the genius, not me.

I hate the media and the music business for their disgraceful treatment of an artist of her stature. And I have to concede, when I read interviews with her, that these blows have not been borne graciously. They have not been borne at all. She seems lonely, angry, bitter, paranoid and afraid. I worry about her. Had she been a man, she would be on her third or fourth considerably younger partner, with a new young family, that complacent second act that women are denied. Maybe if she'd been a Buddhist or got into some faith system, been born again into a cult or the church, she'd have found peace. But in a recent interview in the Sunday Times, she laid into hippies, all contemporary music, Bob Dylan, and again, feminists. She nixed a biopic starring Taylor Swift because all the young star could offer was cheekbones. Her reunion with the daughter she had given up for adoption went sour. Her tone is autocratic, arrogant and angry. She reminds me, in a way, of Philip Roth, another raging titan of the American arts.

She has called herself "a scientist of love"; how to love is what she's trying to get to the bottom of. Like Jean Rhys, she has drawn the anatomy of a woman's heart, the men we fall for, the loneliness, the fatal choices. The accretion of age, the disappointments of living, are part of the journey we've all been on with her, so this life-long fandom can't have a happy ending. Or even a happy middle. Pity the poor children with an indelible online record of the day they wept when they heard Zayn Malik was leaving One Direction. Perhaps the lifelong experience of being a fan, an admirer, an acolyte or a student of an artist will turn out to have been a fluke, a small window of privilege, and from now on careers will burn up in a year or two, the experience fleeting for the adorer and the adored alike. I don't think she knows how much she's venerated. Or maybe she knows and it doesn't matter. It fulfills nothing. It makes no difference. She's as alone with her music as we are...



read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/04/not-easy-to-be-joni-mitchell-fan-but-illness-devastates-me


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