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Ladies of the Canyon (Audio Cassette) [Import]

Joni Mitchell Audio Cassette
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Joni Mitchell's third album offers a bridge between the artful but sometimes dour meditations of her earlier work and the more mature, confessional revelations of the classics that would follow. Voice and guitar still hew to the pretty filigree of a folk poet, but there's the giggling rush of rock & roll freedom in "Big Yellow Taxi", and the formal metaphor of her older songs ("The Circle Game", already oft-covered by the time of this recording) yields to the more impressionistic images of the new ones ("Woodstock"). The dark lyricism of her earliest ballads is intact (on "For Free" and "Rainy Night House"), yet there's a prevailing idealism here that sounds poignant alongside the warier, more mature songs to come on Blue and Court And Spark. --Sam Sutherland

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LADIES OF THE CANYON July 2 2004
Format:Audio CD
Apart from BLUE, most of the people who know the music of Joni Mitchell appreciate, above all, COURT AND SPARK (1974) and HEJIRA (1976). I won't blame it on them - those are beautiful, elegant albums. Nevertheless, I consider the trilogy formed by LADIES OF THE CANYON (1970), BLUE (1971) and FOR THE ROSES (1972), one of the finest works in pop music. The first chapter, released in April of 1970, is a group of songs written between 1966 and 1969. It is for this reason that the LP is like a summary, a compound of the best pieces she has written up to then. The lyrics go from the intimistic tone to protest and accuse, to just simply storytelling. "Willy" forewarns the tones of BLUE - it's a beautiful song about inadequacy in a relationship, in which is clearly perceptible a sense of impotence even in front of an immense love that makes her feel "like a shiny light breaking in a storm". Or "Conversation", in which she plays the part of someone's lover's lover and she's so in love that makes you feel in love too. On the other hand, songs like "The Arrangement" and "Big Yellow Taxi" develope a clear accuse against modern life abuses and consumer mentality. Together with these are some lyrics that remind the ones belonging to her first two albums, such as "Morning Morgantown" - which is obviously connected with "Chelsea Morning", in CLOUDS (1969). Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joni's best second best album Oct. 1 2001
Format:Audio CD
There's really no serious debate among fans of Joni or pop-rock in general as to what her best album is - all those who have ears to hear proclaim the monumentally great Blue her high watermark. The real argument is over which disc ranks second best. Most fans and critics say Court and Spark holds that honor. I think it's unquestionably Ladies of the Canyon.
This is the album on which Joni cuts loose most confidently with the pure instrument which is the high end of her soprano range. In fact, part of Blue's greatness is in its retention of that singing style. However, her singing on this album is perhaps unique among her catalog for the innocence it conveys on many of the songs. This is without a doubt her last "flower child" album, and perhaps the one most deserving of the appellation.
While the album's mood bears some resemblence to Clouds, the differences and advancement over that album are revealed in the first track. Joni's rich acoustic guitar tones and girlish vocal approach familiarly carry the verse; then, in the chorus, a welcome new sound - the crystalline, icewater tones of a piano. The album unfolds with arrangements which convey at once a spare innocence and a gorgeous, multihued flexibility. I think that it is her best-arranged album (only Blue and Hejira really come close). The second song, "For Free," exemplifies why, using a cello and lovely syncopated clarinet solo to supplement Joni's vox and piano in a celebration of the spirit of musical expression.
What else makes Ladies of the Canyon a sublime masterpiece? Well, "Big Yellow Taxi" is probably the funnest, most life-giving musical expression in Joni's entire corpus - a shrewdly jaunty way of conveying a sobering message.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Poetry Feb. 24 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I discovered this album when I was about 10 (6 years after its release); my mother threatened to break it because I kept moving the needle back to the beginning several times a day, day after day. Joni Mitchell was the first singer/songwriter to take my brain beyond the literal into the more complex world of symbols, metaphor and personal mythology. Among my favorites, "Blue Boy" -a sensual song of forever-to-be unfulfilled longing, "Rainy Night House," "Willy," the title song, "The Priest," and "Woodstock," -- I love them all. This album has a seamless quality to it as well - one song blends beautifully into the next with the exception of a couple of spots like "Big Yellow Taxi," which is thrust jarringly in between "The Priest" and "Woodstock." Eventually my album became so decrepit from wear that I memorized the songs with their skips. It was wonderful to have it transferred onto CD so that I could have the lovely whole once more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Early Joni for the Ages Dec 9 2003
Format:Audio CD
I first heard this album when I bought a tape deck (reel-to-reel) from my brother in the early 70's when I was in my early teens. A recording of this was included. I knew who it was, but didn't know the name of the album for a long time as the box was unlabelled. I remember being struck with how clean it was, and enjoyed the standards on it (Circle Game, For Free, Big Yellow Taxi), but didnt' think too much about it. I rediscovered the album as a heartbroken 21 year old, and was stunned at the words that Joni had penned. They spoke to me so directly and with such insight, she'd been where I was.
This album comes in and out of my life, much like some people do, close friends who you may only connect with now and then, the time with them is so intense, you almost can't do it on a regular basis, but they are so valuble to you. This and most of Ms. Mitchell's other mid-period work are like that with me, when I'm in a time loss or reflection, they come out.
Anyway, can't add too much musically to the already written reviews, except that I hope people really listen to the words (and read them to get them all) because she is saying some amazing things here.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Maturing Brilliance
People often talk about the follow up to this album, Blue, and then Court and Spark as Joni's best works.
This one, her third, is vastly under rated. Read more
Published on July 12 2009 by Joseph Serge
5.0 out of 5 stars Joni is a goddess of music
This, along with Blue and Clouds, is my favorite Joni album. She ranks up with Bob Dylan as far as her lyrics are concerned, and technically, has a much prettier voice, though I... Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2004 by Skippy McGee
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply astonishing
I developed a bad habit recently, which was to meander about doing almost anything while listening to music. This was largely because I was using the computer to pay the CDs. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2003 by Mark Grindell
5.0 out of 5 stars Joni: THE GENIUS
It's hard to be objective and fair when evaluating the work of someone you consider to be the greatest EVER of the particular medium in which they work, so I won't even try. Read more
Published on May 13 2003 by A. Ali
4.0 out of 5 stars Mitchell gets her "gorgeous wings" on this one
Joni's first two albums had their moments, but "Ladies Of The Canyon" was really the first time that people began to realize
that here was a major talent who would... Read more
Published on May 10 2003 by Michael Topper
5.0 out of 5 stars Contains some of her best songs
Fans of the free-spirited Joni Mitchell - a TRUE artist with a rather simple voice - will all want to have this CD in their collection. It's one of the very best. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2003 by bethtexas
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Album!!
This is a great album. My favorite songs on the record are "For Free", with its beautiful use of piano and cello, and "Morning Morgantown". Read more
Published on Dec 30 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Album!!
This is a great album. My favorite songs on the record are "For Free", with its beautiful use of piano and cello, and "Morning Morgantown". Read more
Published on Dec 30 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars It Was a Time of Innocence
This album captures best the innocence and beauty of Joni Mitchell's voice. This was my first Joni Mitchell record. Read more
Published on Oct. 28 2002 by Dolores Vinson
5.0 out of 5 stars A carousel of time
If I could only have one Joni Mitchell album (a terrible dilemma), this would be it. While there may be more cohesive and mature albums in her collection, Ladies perhaps came... Read more
Published on May 11 2002 by Steven Cain
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