Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Wed 25 Apr 12 14:09
I like Janet Jackson's reworking better than the source material. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo0OXOiOIK4 The great Q-Tip on vocals. Joni got credits and money for this, btw.
Michelle Mercer (milkmaids) Wed 25 Apr 12 14:47
That's not a bad cover, Rocket. It's other covers of "Big Yellow Taxi" that have diminished the song for me: The Counting Crows did a version, and someone else back in the 90s--Amy Grant? Yes, Amy Grant. Which makes me wonder if it's Joni's "River" that you grew tired of, Gail, or the many covers of it we hear around the holidays?
Dan Flanery (sunspot) Wed 25 Apr 12 23:59
>And Dan, I meant to praise the excellence of your posts, >of course. May my entertaining only child grow up to >think and write half as well as you. Thanks! Now I've gotta pick up your book! Actually it was on the list already, since this discussion touched off a flurry of Joni-listening this past week. I went through peak-Joni close to twenty years ago and haven't seriously listened thru her albums in at least five years (tend to do a lot of library shuffles and playlists now that everything is on the old digital jukebox). Coming at her albums relatively fresh after a five year absence was something of a revelation. I'm older now, and my perspective has shifted a bit, naturally. I find her work even more powerful now than I did before, which is something of a surprise, and I think I better understand why her work seems to connect with me so well. Sometimes you fall in love with something in your youth, then realize as you get older it was alright, but not all that. Joni's work I apparently appreciate more with each passing year. Hey, if Taylor Swift brings the masses to Joni, even if only 10% of 'em go anywhere beyond Blue, that'll still be a huge audience spinning The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Mingus for the first time. This old cynic can at least take comfort in that.
Michelle Mercer (milkmaids) Thu 26 Apr 12 07:02
Thanks again for hosting me here, Wellians. Joni's work does reward reexamination, doesn't it, Dan? I'm sure I'll find new ways to be grateful for it as the decades pass. And as I mentioned before, I'm also a fan of the music she's making now. Like some of our best jazz singers, she's evolved her phrasing over the years to accommodate her reduced vocal range, and the results are beautiful. Here's hoping for dozens of new books and films that analyze and depict Joni's contribution to music (Yes, even Taylor Swift in a Joni role. Her legacy can probably handle it). I believe Joni & her work merit the breadth and depth of examination usually reserved for the canonized classical composers. For me, though, the best thing for Joni would be an autobiography. As bombastic as it may sound, I believe it's accurate to say that Joni usually strives for truth or beauty when she speaks or writes (or as it's put more succinctly in that great Janet Jackson cover that <Rocket> shared: she "never lies.") If she'd steer clear of certain embittering subjects, her brilliance would animate every page. And even if Joni's memoirs only served to further mythologize her life, as Dylan's CHRONICLES did, they would offer a look into her creative mind. That would be invaluable. From the source: When I write my memoirs, Im not going to write very much about all the songs, the music business. Thats like a dream. Basically, theres kind of a mystical thread that runs through my life, and I could write a really interesting book just about how mysterious life is. Im kind of testing the stories. I keep telling my tales to everyone. I wax very autobiographical to anyone who will listen and even those who wont. It seems appropriate to toast the unofficial close of this fine discussion with a listen to "Both Sides Now"--Joni's later recording of the song with orchestra. I'll check back in here from time to time.
Ed Ward (captward) Thu 26 Apr 12 08:01
Thanks for being here, and, of course, do check in. Be nice to see you else-Well, too, of course. There's another discussion starting, but I have a feeling we haven't seen the end of this one.
David Wilson (dlwilson) Thu 26 Apr 12 08:39
Thanks Michelle. You've been one of the best author guests to visit here. You are engaged, truly into your subject, able to explain complex things simply, willing to mix it up with us, and inclusive. Hope you stick around.
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 26 Apr 12 10:27
Great stuff, all. Inspired to learn more or grab the book? Here's Michelle's website: http://michellemercer.com/willyoutakeme.cfm
Nancy White (choco) Thu 26 Apr 12 10:43
I'm rewarding myself with breaks from work with a few pages at a time. Thanks, Michelle!
David Julian Gray (djg) Mon 30 Apr 12 08:59
Thanks, Michelle, thanks for the book and sticking around, and thanks john and ed ... It's interesting that the more I hear and/or read Joni discussing her work, I remain as captivated by her oeuvre as ever, but less interested in what she may have to say about it - I usually find knowing more about the genesis of an artists work adds resonance and meaning - and of course I found this with Joni, but I also found I was less interested in what she had to say about her work than the work itself more than most artists I slavishly adore (all six of them...)
The Fletch Zone (fletchlives) Mon 2 Jul 12 15:32
This is a great book! It's so articulate and speaks to what we love so much and feel about Joni! I actually like reading about her own opinions of her music...she's really aware of her own growth through many different stages in her life.
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