Joni and Ancestors

 On an mp3 collection I have by Joni Mitchell: Live at Club 47 – 68, Clouds, Ladies on the Canyon, Blue, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira. as well as: Mimi & Richard Farina: celebrations for a grey day; Malvina Reynolds: Sings The Truth (Little Boxes): Melanie: Candles in the Rain. As Joni stand alones: For The Roses, Court and Spark, hits 1. Plus Herbie Hancock’s jazz homage – The Joni Letters.

I enjoy Joni Mitchell but I am not a huge fan. I certainly respect her as an artist & love her willingness to follow her musical muses regardless of commercial appeal. But if I never hear ‘Both Sides Now’ again I’ll be fine 🙂 As I look over the rack listings for the lps I have my favourite remains ‘Songs To Aging Children Come’ which, as I age, becomes even more pertinent.

I never really followed her career’s ups & downs, or her private life so I hear her songs without that baggage. There are cuts on each of these lps I love, some lps that I can’t name a track from. I find that one of the lps suffer from a mix that buries her voice in such way that it is lost, to my ears. Tracks slip into one another – if there were no silence between them I wouldn’t know when one ended & another began.

Unlike similar female artists, such as Laura Nyro, she survived in the  male-dominated & dictated music industry. She didn’t get buried for forging her own path or for not selling zillions of singles. 

On this mp3 collection I put her into context with other California folkies. Mimi & Richard Farina: celebrations for a grey day – this is sweet, folk-rock with a tinge of jazz, bluegrass. Richard’s early death turned him into a legend. 

Malvina Reynolds: Sings The Truth. Best known for the hit Little Boxes (the precursor in a way to Big Yellow Taxi) this is protest music in a fun 60s way. Almost traditional folk this a lost treasure full of sharp social commentary. The New Restaurant is timeless, as is Little Boxes – some things never change. 

Melanie: Candles in the Rain. Melanie owes a lot to all the above. She managed some top ten hits then sort of faded away.  Lay Down owes much to the Edwin Hawkins Singers for its success. ‘Look What They’ve Done To My Song’ is a classic but in her case it’s also come ‘’Look What They’ve Done To My Career’ when her label dropped her for refusing to produce lps on demand.

The Grinding

Festive readers, I am pleased to bring you a wrap up of the week-end’s events.  The highlight of which has to be the annual Lighting of the Trees. Held in several locations in the hills about Crab Apple Corners the horizon is illuminated by the first official rite of the season.

I choose to attend the ceremony at Hijil’s Farm – they had obtained two of the remaining stand of ancient red wood sycamores and had them flown in for the occasion. Trees so large they needed two helicopters to carry each of them.

The first flame was applied to them by our local Miss Pig Driver, Tanis-Lotus Flatly. The trees did us the great honour of being slow to ignite, but once they had been engulfed in flames the look of joy in the faces of the children was worth the wait.

Once these two trees were in flames, burning torches were taken to the sites where other trees were ready for the ceremony. The Great Maple at McCracken’s of Daw Hill was the next to be torched and quickly one could see similar fires all across the country side. Hijil’s Farm perched atop Green Bluffs gave us a splendid view of the various tributes to the season.

Once the first two trees had been burnt to cinders our parish Vicar Father Frank did The Grinding and was quickly joined by the other men who were of age, to participate in this ritual.

I was thrilled to be offered by my one and only Hank Grebly the fruits of his grinding. A jar filled with these delicate ashes and moose fat can sit proudly on any mantle piece. There will be enough here to guarantee me a year of fertility and good weather. After all, it only takes a pinch a day, tossed into the wind to catch the eye of the spirits for protection.

The carolling at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral was once again a thrill, especially now that the bells have almost been tuned. The climax of each verse is a ringing of these bells that echoes though our happy valley and shimmers through the fragrant smoke produced by the Lighting of the Trees.

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We Insist!

A link to a YouTube video of We Insist! an amazing 1961 jazz lp by Max Roach that featured wife Abbey Lincoln lead me to download that lp along with a couple of other lps by Abbey: That’s Him; Golden Lady. We Insist! is a powerful black rights statement backed with dynamic music & vocals. When I think of 60’s protest music sweet folk songs like Blowin’ In The Wind comes to mind but We Insist! is not folk music – the sense of struggle & urgency dominates & propels the music in a way that most protest music of the time never managed. Lincoln’s voice is strong. Him & Lady are not as ‘revolutionary’ but are great introductions to anyone stepping into jazz vocalists for the first time.

On this mp3 collection there is a mix of female vocalists – all different styles, eras, fames & countries. Staring with Mireille Mathieu’s Les Grandes  Chansons Francaises. Mireille has a wonderful resonant emotional voice. As the title suggests this is a set of ultra-famous French songs i.e. ‘Non je ne regrette rien’. Her version of La mer is astonishing – search it out on YouTube. I want her version of ‘Ne me quite pas’ played as people leave my memorial service.

The totally unknown folk singer Michele is here with her Saturn Rings. A pleasant voice, some unexpectedly psychedelic accompaniment for a set of love songs, pleas for Mother Earth that got lost in the shuffle of the likes of Joan Baez & Judy Collins. Another lost in the shuffle is Barbara & Ernie’s Prelude To. This is a gentle, relaxing but sexy r’n’b duo making good massage music.

 

Finally I added Laura Nyro’s New York Tendaberry to this compilation. I love Laura Nyro & have nearly everything so I won’t say much more than this a great lp by her, not one of her strongest – but even at her weakest she is worth hearing. More about her when I get to ’n.’

The Circle of Strife

John sneered at Betty. Betty flipped Jasmine the bird. Jasmine gave Frank a dirty look.Frank didn’t leave a tip for Gwen. Gwen short changed Bill. Bill called Abdul a terrorist shit head. Abdul told Fatima to shut the fuck up. Fatima pinched Ryan. Ryan shoved Rachel getting on the subway. Rachel went home and smacked the baby Patrick. Patrick cried and cried and woke up Ted. Ted kicked his dog Rover. Rover chewed up Barbara’s favorite shoes. Barbara didn’t feel Gary’s work was up to snuff and told him. Gary spilled his coffee at lunch at Maria’s del

Maria shouted for Paco to clean up that mess. Paco wanted to kill Delorosa his mother. Delorosa didn’t wait for Greg. Greg was rushed and slammed the car door on Tina’s coat. Tina didn’t show up for her date with Mike. Mike waited and waited and bought drugs from Carla. Carla needed more money from Jeff. Jeff took an extra twenty from Deb’s purse.  Deb didn’t have enough to pay the bar bill . Larry felt she was playing him

Larry barked at Gina. Gina went crying to her boyfriend Philip. Philip punched Marg the bartender in the face. Marg pulled out a knife and cut Phil’s brother Brian. Brian pulled out his gun and shot Sgt Tracy O’Brian, one of the cops who came to quiet things down. John sneered at Betty for being afraid of guns.

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April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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