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Ladies of the Canyon

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iTunes Review

Released April 1970, Joni Mitchell's third solo album captures both the optimism of the counterculture and the wary feelings that were beginning to manifest. Away from the burdensome Saskatchewan winters, Mitchell found her muse in the sunny, mellow sway of L.A's Laurel Canyon among like-minded neighbors. "BigYellow Taxi" hurtles past with a schoolgirl laugh and a cautionary tale. "For Free" recounts the intimate power of a street singer versus her own rise in the star-making machine. "Woodstock" represents the apex of the impossible hippie dream. While some songs represent Mitchell at her most wide-eyed and naïve (1966's much covered "The Circle Game" makes its Mitchell debut here), there's also a musical sophistication to her lesser-known compositions. "Rainy Night House," allegedly about fellow Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, is a dark, sweet piano ballad. It's matched by the romance of "Blue Boy," another neglected, hidden gem from one of the 20th century's finest songwriters.

Customer Reviews

Gorgeous. Absolutely incredible.

This is certainly one of the most beautiful albums I own. Joni is a master songwriter, a surprising inventor of folk music for both guitar and piano. Her lyrics are gorgeous. There are so many wonderful songs on this album that I find the task of choosing a favorite impossible. The song "Rainy Night House" stands out as a testament to life, to the search for self. Of course, her hit "Big Yellow Taxi" is on this album-- a fun, upbeat, song laced with wise words. Better yet, however, is "The Priest". As always, Joni uses her beautiful voice to turn poetic phrases into song. Her earthy sound, uncluttered and still complex, both sooths and awakens. I would even be so bold as to compare the effect of her songs to that of classical music.

"You Don"t Know What You've Got 'Til It's Gone!"

.."We're Captive On The Carousel Of Time!"..Oh; What an exquisite early effort was "Ladies Of The Canyon" by Joni Mitchell!-I agree with the lead reviewer; Many jazzy & moody elements begin to appear on this recording; Hard to believe it's only Joni's third LP!-Delving into Mature & Topical themes as: Adultery; Ecology; Pollution; Religion & Merchandising; Joni manages to be both Thought-Provoking and Sing-Along-Able; Even during the same song!-A Superior Songstress! Grimmbo.

Ladies of the Canyon

I agree with all the other reviewers as to the incredible beauty and depth of Joni's music and lyrics, but beg to differ in the matter of defining her music as 'folk.' If you look up the definition of folk, say on wikipedia, you will see Joni's music in no way fits into that category. It so doesn't fit that I would not call it 'folk rock' either. Of course she's invented an original style within rock, that includes elements of classical ballad singing and amazing lyrics that verge on Shakespearean, but the whole span of her work seems to fit best into the plain old category of 'rock music' as it was progressively redefined from the 60's on.


Born: November 7, 1943 in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

No female artist better typified the singer/songwriter movement of the '70s than Joni Mitchell, though her public image as the serious, sensitive woman with a guitar shortchanged her abilities, ambitions, and accomplishments. Mitchell's gift for writing personal, folk-inspired songs about the thorny side of life and love was inarguable (particularly on albums like 1970's Ladies of the Canyon and 1971's Blue), but Mitchell also brought the same smarts and eloquence to glossy pop on her commercial...
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