Monday, October 17, 2022

Joni Mitchell Covers • Volume I

The Covers Series: 

Interpretation and the "Traditional Folk Song" • The Singer as Interpreter 
Singer-Songwriters Covering Singer-Songwriters • Beatles Covers (Vol. I)
Bob Dylan Covers (Vol. I) • Joni Mitchell Covers (Vol. I)

Photo Source - The Times

I remember that time you told me
You said, "Love is touching souls"
Surely you touched mine
'Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time

Joni Mitchell is special to so many people. Her songs have touched women and men alike ever since she burst on the scene in the late 60's. Joni didn't invent the interpersonal song, but the combination of her songwriting and singing sinks deep into one's soul.

With Joni's health issues over the past several years, there's now an added sentiment as the outpouring of love for this woman of heart and mind is immense. If John Lennon still lives in your heart, Joni's probably right there too. It's very personal.

In planning this post, I thought I'd begin with Judy Collins' cover of Both Sides Now because it was a top ten hit in 1967 when I was in junior high and the first Joni Mitchell song I ever heard, you too? 

Next comes, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's cover of Woodstock off the band's epic Déjà vu album as a solid second choice. After that it's pretty random, but I will say Madison Cunningham's cover of California came across my YouTube feed recently and really was the jump-start to make this playlist. (Note- The volume on Madison's home produced video will need to be turned up.) Anyway, if you read this blog on a regular basis, you know I think Madison Cunningham is special too.

Sitting in a park in Paris, France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won't give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had

For this Volume I, it was was easy to find a ton of Joni Mitchell covers on YouTube. She has inspired so many people to pick up a guitar or sit at a piano and learn to play music from one of the best singer-songwriters of all-time. 

But here's the thing, I can't tell you how many passess on covers I made to make this playlist. I'm not just talking about the budding musicians on YouTube, but for the many professional artists who've taken on this task and realized that performing a Joni Mitchell song is much much harder than it would appear. 

I thought I'd knock out this blog in a day including the playlist, but I think I'm in day three now with about only 20 songs that pass mustard. It's just my opinion, but for every good 1 in 10 Bob Dylan cover, it's probably like 1 in a 100 for someone to get my attention with their Joni Mitchell cover. Even most of the live Joni tribute efforts got a pass from me this week as it often takes even the most gifted artists some professional studio time to put out a worthy interpretation.

For example with one of my favorite songs, Don't Interrupt The Sorrow,  I just had to give up trying to find a cover for the playlist after pouring through many videos of the song. I think I spent an hour alone on this one song, and then had to get up and do something different. There's just a way that Joni herself performs her own material that makes it hard to duplicate. I'm playing the song in my head right now and she's got me totally under her spell.

Don't interrupt the sorrow
Darn right
He says, "we walked on the moon
You be polite"
Don't let up the sorrow
Death and birth and death and birth
And death and birth
He says, "bring that bottle kindly
And I'll pad your purse
I've got a head full of quandary
And a mighty, mighty, thirst"

I will have of course not selected your favorite cover, but please feel free to leave a comment as I may include it in this Volume, and for the fact that a Volume II maybe a tough row to hoe for me in the future. 

Note- If you make an "Anonymous" entry because the comments tool is kind of a bust unless you have a Google Account in play, just sign your first name and last name to let me know who you are (or at least your last initial) at the end of your comment.

The scope of Joni's influence is unmeasurable whether you are just a listening fan like me or have taken the bold step to walk up to a microphone on a stage and play and/or sing one of her songs, or for that matter, anyone's songs. As an active music listener, my hats off to you! And if you somehow thought I was making fun of the 1 in 100 thing above, that's no slight to anyone who's ever had the courage to hit the record button because if it was so easy everybody would be doing it. Rock on my friends!

So the years spin by and now the boy is 20
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

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