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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandawg turned me on to this...
My grandmother, a force unlike any other, introduced me to this album soon after it came out. I was spending the summer with her on her farm, and after working all day, we'd sit in the kitchen, sipping something potent, and she'd play this. She liked it because the songs are about a woman who is strong, independent, clever and resilient. Joni sings "I spring from...
Published on Nov. 14 2001 by Victoria E. Gallucci

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated "transitional" album.
I remeber falling in love with Joni's BLUE album after hearing "A Case Of You," "Blue" and "Last Time I Saw Richard." COURT & SPARK ranks as the runner-up to Carole King's TAPESTRY album regarding my favorites (my all-time favorites are Carly's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th album). But as an established fan of Joni, I have to say that FOR THE...
Published on Nov. 10 2000 by Colin Sanders


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandawg turned me on to this..., Nov. 14 2001
By 
Victoria E. Gallucci (Bloomfield, NJ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
My grandmother, a force unlike any other, introduced me to this album soon after it came out. I was spending the summer with her on her farm, and after working all day, we'd sit in the kitchen, sipping something potent, and she'd play this. She liked it because the songs are about a woman who is strong, independent, clever and resilient. Joni sings "I spring from the boulders like a mama lion." My grandmother loved that. And so did I. Still do. She's been gone 4 years now, but I always play this when I go home to visit. And you should too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For The Roses, Feb. 9 2004
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
Man, do I love Joni Mitchell. I have not yet started to explore her eighties-stuff (which doesn't seem to be that great anyway), but everything she's done from the spare, folky 'Song To A Seagull' to one of my favorite albums by Joni (and any other artist) 'The Hissing Of Summer Lawns' is plain brilliant. I thought it would be fitting to devote another positive review to this underrated gem of an album. I'll admit, i was kind of late to check it out myself too, mainly because of it's ugly and dated cover-art; which makes the record seem kind of cheap. The music though, is just plain heaven. My favorite songs are the ones where she mixes folk with jazzy arrangements; and I rarely heard more beautiful songs as "Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire" and especially "Barangrill". These songs are so unique; I'm always captivated by them when they fill up my ears. The rest of the album, despite one or two songs that are kind of interchangeable, is A+ quality too: the beautiful social commentary on 'Banquet' and typical Joni-ballads that have the exact same quality as anything on 'Blue': 'See You Sometime', 'Woman of Heart And Mine', and the gorgeous 'Blonde In The Bleachers'. The only thing that keeps this album from being my favorite Joni-album is 'The Hissing Of Summer Lawns'; a brooding, warm, highly melodic and pleasantly haunting masterpiece that still sounds fresh and overwhelming after 100+ listens.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant mixture of old styles and what was to come, May 10 2003
By 
Michael Topper (Pacific Palisades, California United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
After having stripped her skin bare on "Blue", Joni found it
hard to move forward; therefore, she holed herself up in a
Canadian cabin for about a year and emerged with "For The Roses",
whose cover and contents were heavily influenced by her
time there and show her trying to sort out the confused and
bleeding emotions she felt at the time. The result is another
brilliant masterwork with all of the inner psychic pain of "Blue", matched with a greater willingness to branch out musically. Although it does not have the complete thematic or musical unity of the spare, edgy "Blue" or the confident jazz-pop followup "Court And Spark", "For The Roses" takes a little
from both and succeeds just as well on its own terms.
Lyrically, there are three types of songs here: social protest,
inner personal examinations and character observations. All are written with the same complexity of emotion and attention to detail that infuses all of her best work. Tracks like "Lesson In Survival", "For The Roses", "See You Sometime" and "Woman Of Heart And Mind" could have easily fit on "Blue", as they tear
apart her continued problems with relationships, her didain for
fame and the search for who she is in vivid colors. "Banquet"
is one of her finest protest numbers and frames the album
rather nicely; "Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire", which follows,
remains a harrowing study of addiction. My favorite, however, is the underrated "Barangrill", a character study which attempts to find a Zen moment among a succession of simple American workers who work by the roadside.
Musically, about half of the songs stick to the spare style of "Blue", with Joni accompanied only by piano or acoustic guitar, and of course work quite well (these include "Banquet",
"Lesson In Survival", "For The Roses", "See You Sometime").
The other half mark the beginning of the turn toward fuller band arrangements and jazz influences that would blossom on "Court And Spark", although in some cases it is still tentative. Woodwinds and reeds accompany "Barangrill" and "Let The Wind Carry Me"; bass, drums and electric guitar frame "Cold Blue Steel" and close out "Blonde In The Bleachers"; "You Turn Me On I'm A Radio" is an unexpected country-pop number with harmonica,
bongos and guitar that became her first bona fide hit; and the elegant closing "Judgement Of The Moon And Stars" brings out a full string section for a stunning musical interlude that marks this as one of her most ambitious pieces. Although the full rock band-and-orchestra sound would have to wait until the next album, its various components can be found coloring the tracks here in transitional style--and sound no less appealing in embryonic form. The woodwinds and reeds sound especially nice.
In all, "For The Roses" is just an essential work; that it comes in between the more recognized "Blue" and "Court And Spark" is no reason to dismiss it, for it is as good as either of these and remains one of her best to this day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A complex work of art, Jan. 27 2003
By 
bethtexas (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
Generally regarded as one of the "essentials" in a Joni Mitchell collection, FOR THE ROSES is a creative, long-playing novel of an album.
The thing about Joni Mitchell fans is we love everything she does because we've been hypnotized. You can't reason with a Joni Mitchell fan. Once we've been won over to her honest, brilliantly simple poetry and her "call of the free-roaming spirit" that comes across in every album ... she can no longer do any wrong in our eyes. She's like a friend we've never met.
Joni's voice has always struck me as plain, but I've come to stop seeing that as a bad thing. The natural quality of it enhances the impression of her as just "someone I know who writes beautiful poetry and makes up incredible melodies." She hits some nice high notes, but overall, she sounds just a little less trained than some other singers you hear. (In my opinion.) But that's part of her style! That's part of the reason her personality comes through so strongly. Because we can HEAR HER HEART in her voice. It hasn't been trained to cold perfection.
FOR THE ROSES is a combination of folk and 60s-style pop. Sometimes it moves along like a comfortable train, easing from one song to the next. Many of the pieces are easygoing melodies, so mild that the complicated, intelligent lyrics come as a surprise. But a couple of the songs are heart-stopping or contain heart-stopping moments.
THE BLONDE IN THE BLEACHERS starts off as a mild, easygoing melody, but suddenly, at the end, it completely turns - Joni seems to turn to the audience, break out of the song, and suddenly sing some surprising lyrics RIGHT AT YOU.
LET THE WIND CARRY ME is a heartfelt confession/ballad that you will want to play over and over and over. It is beautiful to the core.
The album as a whole is complicated - both lyrically and melodically. Like a great novel, it needs to be opened slowly, appreciated in morsels and then gradually as a whole.
Most die-hard Joni fans I know say that this isn't their number one favorite album. But it's in everybody's top three without exception. So if you're a fan, this complex work is an absolute must.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Blue Roses, Oct. 22 2002
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
I used to have a "two-fer" cassette that contained both FOR THE ROSES and COURT AND SPARK. Now that's what I call a bargain! I wish someone would consider a similar CD package. I've always loved those early 70s records of hers--BLUE, ROSES and C&S. Her earlier, folkier efforts were very nice, in a self-consciously dainty way. By the early 70s she was becoming more expansive, more boldly experimental. It sounded, quite frankly, that she had been listening to and absorbing the music of her contemporary, Laura Nyro. The move from tight little folk ballads to freer form jazz tinged numbers may have been a little alienating to some fans, but it would be several years before Mitchell's music would become truly "difficult." For a few years in the 70s, Mitchell wore her pretensions lightly, wrote good solid melodies, and penned lyrics that were intelligent, "sensitive," and not overly arty.
Yes, it's pretty nervy to (even indirectly) compare yourself to Ludwig van, but it was also refreshingly honest for someone as artistically ambitious as Mitchell, to cease being so gosh darn demure and to "burn like forest fire," and if she was "feeling contempt, Jesus, well then, [she was going to] yell it..." You can listen or not--decide to put up with the pretensions, because the music is, on the whole, worth it. It's your call.
The early 70s material is often referred to as "confessional," as in "Sylvia-Plath-confessional" or "Anne-Sexton-confessional." Well, it is true that Joni Mitchell specializes in writing about herself, her love life and her muse. Some of those songs work well: others are not so effective. And sometimes you wish she WEREN'T so darn direct. I can't imagine that James Taylor exactly relished obvious references their celebrated relationships. ("Pack your suspenders," indeed!)
To balance those self-absorbed tendencies, Mitchell wisely begins this record with the socially conscious "Banquet" and follows it with the gritty portrait of an urban addict, "Cold Blue Steel," which no one in his right mind would assume had anything to do Joni Mitchell's own life. (I think she was clearly experimenting with urban jungle themes a la Nyro or Lou Reed.) Almost every other song on the record--except, arguably, for "Judgment of the Moon..."--is either highly personal or veers intriguingly between the personal and the general.
A number of reviewers have noted that this is a "transitional" album. Actually, my own sense--especially having owned that "twofer" for so long--is that many of these songs could be interchangeable with tunes from BLUE or COURT AND SPARK. If anyone had asked me precisely which album a song like "See You Sometime" or "Let the Wind Carry Me" actually appeared on, I might have been at a loss to place it accurately. More devout fans likely see it differently, but I think we don't see much in the way of a sharp musical divergence until, say, HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS. I can get a sense of why some find COURT & SPARK to be a more cohesive, more satisfying recording, but to this listener, they are more similar than they are different.
And that's my point, the early 70s were a highpoint in Joni Mitchell's career--if not THE highpoint. From BLUE to COURT & SPARK, the music was ambitious, intelligent and still tuneful enough that you think you can sing along (although when you try, you may find it's not so easy). "A Woman of Heart and Mind"? Yes and no. There's often a bit too much mind, undercutting the heart's message. Still this is compelling stuff. It early Joni seemed too lacey, and more recent stuff too leathery, the early 70s stuff is a well tempered mix of cold steel and sweet fire.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Effort By Joni Mitchell In Her Prime!, July 11 2002
By 
Barron Laycock "Labradorman" (Temple, New Hampshire United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
When it comes to pleasing lyrical surprises wrapped in memorable melodies, no one comes close to delivering the way Joni Mitchell does. Indeed, someday long in the future, when someone wants the perfect example of a stellar and singularly talented singer/songwriter and a peripatetic innovator of 20th century music, they will dust off any of a dozen of Joni Mitchell's albums and give it a spin. This particular album represents her at her eclectic best, moving through a romantic landscape, calculating an emotional calculus as she does, spinning imaginative concoctions and personal equations with measured levels of method and abandon, using a variety of styles and approaches, fusing jazz and blues to her popular venue, resulting in a captivating and quite arresting collection of works.
My personal favorites here include her smash hit "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio", "Blond In The Bleachers", "Woman Of Heart And Mind", and "Judgment Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig's Tune)", but the entire album is excellent, as usual for Ms. Mitchell. From beginning to end this song cycle is an ardent but soft-spoken exploration of her internal landscape, a tour of her thoughts and feelings about the state of contemporary relationships. The song cycle represents an informal inventory of her feelings and emotions about herself, her friends, and the world at large. Never one to stand still, this effort followed the immensely popular "Blue" , preceding the jazzy, experimental "Court and Spark".
Each of these albums is both unique and quite different from the others, and as a body of work illustrates he r fantastic creativity and ability to change style s and venues like so many suits of stylish clothing. Here in particular Mitchell's gorgeous and intricate lyrics, melodies and acoustic guitar arrangements meld into the strings, horns, and piano work to create an indescribably beautiful work. As with her other work, this album shows Joni at her apex, full of hope, compassion, and with all her creative juices flowing. For folk fans and people just interested in one of the best albums to have come out of her unforgettable stable of mysteries, this is an essential album. Enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grown Up Music, April 19 2001
By 
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
Virginia Woolf once wrote that George Eliot's Middlemarch was "one of the few English novels written for grown up people." Had she been living in 1972 she would have said something similar about For the Roses.
Fans will argue about classic discs before and after this one, but there is no doubt that Joni wrote For The Roses for grown up people, herself included.
After the tight, emotional masterpiece that she had released the year before (Blue), For the Roses was a stunner. She seemed to have taken the piano out on the beach of her British Columbia property and let rip. But in fact, she was travelling between her BC home and LA to team up with old friends on this one. Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Russ Kunkel, and Tom Scott are featured.
In a few short years, she had moved from the evocative, simile-driven music of Laurel Canyon to something infinitely more experimental. Her chord changes on this album are hard, almost modern in a classical sense. The subject matter had changed, too. Taking a cue from the introspection of Blue and looking forward to Court & Spark, the lyrics are deeply personal meditations on love and loss. When we think of Joni, it's that subject matter we recall, but it's this trilogy of albums that accounts for the image.
What we tend to forget is how different these albums are. Where Court & Spark is intimate, For the Roses is defiant; where Blue is footloose, For the Roses is stubborn; where both Blue & Court and Spark are romantic in a grand sense, For the Roses is intense in its Byronic introversion.
The musical center of this disc is "Blonde in the Bleachers"; the artistic center is "Judgement of the Moon and Stars." Both personal and artistic doubts seem to have driven Joni inward, and the result is spell-binding. An English teacher once set me the task of re-writing the words to "Let the Wind Carry Me," in which Joni expertly sums up family pressures:
"Papa's faith is people/Mama she believes in cleaning.."
The English teacher was my father, and I thank him for letting me see how hard a simple thing could be. There is nothing simple on this album: not art, not love, not family, not loss. That's the grown up part.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grown Up Music, April 19 2001
By 
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
Virginia Woolf once wrote that George Eliot's Middlemarch was "one of the few English novels written for grown up people." Had she been living in 1972 she would have said something similar about For the Roses.
Fans will argue about classic discs before and after this one, but there is no doubt that Joni wrote For The Roses for grown up people, herself included.
After the tight, emotional masterpiece that she had released the year before (Blue), For the Roses was a stunner. She seemed to have taken the piano out on the beach of her British Columbia property and let rip. But in fact, she was travelling between her BC home and LA to team up with old friends on this one. Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Russ Kunkel, and Tom Scott are featured.
In a few short years, she had moved from the evocative, simile-driven music of Laurel Canyon to something infinitely more experimental. Her chord changes on this album are hard, almost modern in a classical sense. The subject matter had changed, too. Taking a cue from the introspection of Blue and looking forward to Court & Spark, the lyrics are deeply personal meditations on love and loss. When we think of Joni, it's that subject matter we recall, but it's this trilogy of albums that accounts for the image.
What we tend to forget is how different these albums are. Where Court & Spark is intimate, For the Roses is defiant; where Blue is footloose, For the Roses is stubborn; where both Blue & Court and Spark are romantic in a grand sense, For the Roses is intense in its Byronic introversion.
The musical center of this disc is "Blonde in the Bleachers"; the artistic center is "Judgement of the Moon and Stars." Both personal and artistic doubts seem to have driven Joni inward, and the result is spell-binding. An English teacher once set me the task of re-writing the words to "Let the Wind Carry Me," in which Joni expertly sums up family pressures:
"Papa's faith is people/Mama she believes in cleaning.."
The English teacher was my father, and I thank him for letting me see how hard a simple thing could be. There is nothing simple on this album: not art, not love, not family, not loss. That's the grown up part.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I'll Take A Dozen Please!, March 22 2001
By 
R. Prescott "longplayer1" (Blackfoot, Idaho USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
I've only made 2 mistakes with reguard to Joni Mitchell and buying her music... For some reason, which at present I cannot remember, I listened to friends and critics and not the album and so I didn't buy it till many, many years later. When I was sitting in a bar one evening with friends and the small folk rock group doing the music that evening while they were on break we got into a discussion about artists and some of our favorites. At that point in time I was into listening to, what was at the time, Joni Mitchell's newest offering: "Chalkmark in a Rainstorm". I'd been trying to tell friends how wonderful her newest release was and that it had been grammy nominated too! The female singer in the band at that time said, "The best Joni by far is "For The Roses" followed by "The Hissing of Summer Lawns". I about fell over flabbergasted!!! Well, "Hissing of Summer Lawns was my other HUGE mistake!!! Needless to say, I went out and bought both within the next month! Both "Hissing of Summer Lawns" and "For the Roses" are excellent albums!
It only took one listen to "For the Roses" to know that my friend was "close" but, no cigar for being right. "Roses" is an incredible album. It's a must for any collection, but, "Chalkmark in a Rainstorm" is still her finest to date!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best-known, but any Joni is hard to turn down, March 12 2001
This review is from: For the Roses (Audio CD)
After the seminal and darkly meditative BLUE, Joni Mitchell finally showed what she was capable of with simple, unobtrusive instrumentation and complex, the-definition-of-poetic songwriting. While BLUE may be the one Joni album every music fan can agree on, that unfortunately obscures lesser-known yet equally great works like the follow-up to BLUE, FOR THE ROSES. Joni spent the first 5 years of her career as a journeyman (make that woman) folk singer and a much-in-demand songwriter . An album like FOR THE ROSES showed that it was about time Joni received some of that commerical acclaim more directly. She had some near-successes with "Both Sides Now", "The Circle Game" and "Big Yellow Taxi", but it was other artist's versions that became the hits. FOR THE ROSES finally gave Joni some headway into the singles charts with "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio". Her first song to reach the top 40 by herself, it was quite ironic that it was a hit, seeing as that it satirizes the very medium that helped make her songs known. This was only a hint of the cynicism about the music business that has persisted to this day. Elsewhere, FOR THE ROSES shows Joni making some more leaps into more textured musical territory. The sixties had ended, but a little bit of the flower power princess was still inside of Joni, as shown on socially-conscious anthems like "Banquet" and "Woman Of Heart & Mind" (slightly updated with its unapologetic use of the "F" word). Lyricwise, Joni began turning more inward with songs like "Cold Blue Steel & Sweet Fire", "Electricity", "Barangrill" and the slightly Santana-rhythmed "Blonde In The Bleachers", which manage to create some poetic meaning out of seemingly trivial, homebound subjects. Most of Joni's early music was based on acoustic guitar, but FOR THE ROSES shows the beginning of a keyboard dominance with "Let The Wind Carry Me", "See You Sometime", "Lesson In Survival", "Judgement Of The Moon & Stars" (which features the album's greatest lyrics) and the title track. The presence of just Joni's voice and piano accurately display the alternation between simple instrumentation and heavily-layered songwriting. This move towards a less skeletal, more commerical approach to music foreshadowed the all-out commercial breakthrough of COURT & SPARK, which would follow just a year later. Even though it was bookended by two of pop music's greatest statements (BLUE and COURT & SPARK), FOR THE ROSES is an album that doesn't get that same treatment. Granted, it's not an obvious masterpiece like either of those albums, but it was another step in Joni Mitchell's transformation from mouthpiece of other singers into an artist with her own voice and personality. FOR THE ROSES goes down in her career as the one album that deserves a high plane of existence along with those great albums that preceded and followed it.
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For the Roses by Joni Mitchell (Audio CD - 1987)
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