sensitive singer/songwriters presents :
some Joni Mitchell inspirations

reissues : V.A. : 'Wayfairing Strangers : LPs 70s->CD (2006),
Sachiko Kanenobu : LP 1972->CD (2006)
new : Big Yellow Taxi : CD (2006), CD (2008)

Numero GroupV.A. : Wayfaring Strangers : Ladies from the Canyon (US,'70s,iss.2006)***°°

When the popularity of Bob Dylan exploded, many people felt the same ‘call of destiny’ to become a singer-songwriter, because it all looked so simple and expressive. For the ladies, it took until Joni Mitchell before traditional folk/blues were no longer taken as the most important fundaments. Joni had a most remarkable guitar style, singing and songwriting. After her acoustic albums she evolved to a group sound and jazz, something which in the last few years were still more appreciated than her early works, also when Joni herself reassembled & uplifted her early works and acoustic inspirations with orchestra etc. also for me it didn’t feel like the same thing any more. But her mark was set, and I remember many times that her guitar style was quoted by other acoustic ladies. Joni’s feminine independent-from-traditions strength surely was something expressive and admirable.

This collection of unknown beauties from the early ‘70’s presents female singers who felt the sudden self-assuredness to make an album. Even when this caused an energetic boom of rising creativity, there was still no interest from any record company, so there were almost only very limited, privately released albums printed, sometimes under the wings of religious (Christian) groups. For this compilation, the label’s introduction quotes Joni Mitchell self-explanatory-wise : about ladies creativity in daily life which were “..Pouring music down the canyon-coloring the sunshine hours. They are the ladies of the canyon.” Big Hassle (NY) and Numero Group (IL) took great effort, and were able to trace down most the ladies of the quoted albums, collecting also some background information. Each track from each album is presented in the booklet on two pages: one for the cover of the original LP, and one for the extra information, and lyrics.

Each song is a pungent choice, with good taste that seemingly has discovered nothing but beauties. Most tracks, in combination with the booklet notes, makes me very curious to the original albums, talent and visions, and to the life experiences behind the personalities that expressed them. Almost every lady has something that can be associated as having an early Joni Mitchell influence. Caroline Patton could have been, like the liner notes say, Joni Mitchell herself on her first album. She later became a performer on several famous recent Disney movies. An even more beautiful voice for me is Carla Scviaky. Also the song “Window” by Judy Kelly has an undeniable Mitchell flavour, -Window was recently reissued ; review on next page-. Each track fits perfectly in the compilation. I cannot recommend this release enough. Also the sound quality is very good.

Audio : Collie Ryan : "Cricket", Shira Small : "Eternal Life", Ginny Reilly : "Wildman", Caroline Peyton : "Engram", Carla Sciaky : "And I a Fairytale Lady", Marj Snyder : "Rain"
& &
Label info with audio :
Other reviews :

Next "Wayfairing Strangers" compilation is reviewed on
Chapter Music/URC/Shinko MusicSachiko Kanenobu : Misora (JAP,1972)****'

Just a few weeks after my website on Japanese Acid Folk heartily recommending the first re-release, Australian label Chapter music decided to release a copy for the Western market. A few rare photographs, translated lyrics and extensive liner notes about the first independent label, URC, and how she had rolled in the folk boom scene, must overcome already some barriers. The music shouldn’t leave any problems, because it has innocence and sweetness combined with a for Western listener recognisable singer-songwriter folk style.

It was since Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s tragedies, how the pride spirit of Japan broke, and the heart was spread over the continent, which now was forced to change in perspective ; the population adapted freely an American influence as an extra fundament to form the New Japanese entity, this time as an island with a face to and for the world, and above all a vision to what is the latest development everywhere, to all that can be learned, adapted and become part of the new visualization of what can become New Japan. While the first steps were imitating American popular music, they quickly found out how also this could become typical new Japanese. Sachiko is a singer who clearly was influenced by Joni Mitchell, especially in some vocal variations, and here and there even in certain guitar parts, in a very honest, spontaneous and inspired way. Because of circumstances she was the first female singer who was going to release an album on the suddenly new boom of folk popularity launched by the first Japanese independent label, URC. Music critic Paul Williams, who had gained reputation with his magazine Crawdaddy, just had written “Outlaw Blues” that was going to be translated in Japanese. To launch this he went to Japan and there he met Sachiko. This led quickly to a romance. And although Sachiko could not speak English, and was at a start of a career, she decided to move to New York for a completely new life. Two years later they went back to Japan and wished for the tapes, but the record company who was pissed because she left just moments before the release of her album, leaving them no ideas how to promote this, they said they couldn’t find it. Disappointed with the music business she left music for what it was for many years and concentrated mostly on her children. After turning back to music, first in a rock vein in the ‘80s, it took until the nineties before the album was rediscovered after being acclaimed as the highest influence by popstar Kanji Ozawa but also Takako Minekawa. This lead to the first reissue, the recording of two new albums, and an album with outtakes, in the nineties. After having found a new partner, a Pakistani singer, her style recently changed into All-World music directions.

Audio : "Far Away from you"(& here), "The Heat Haze", "Leave it to time"(or here), "Blue Fish", "Look Up, The Sky Is Beautiful" , "I Wish It Would Snow"
Info on Sachiko Kanenobu : &
Other reviews :
and descriptions : & &,sachiko_kanenobu & &

Label :
Sony   Big Yellow Taxi : Unknown and famous songs of Joni Mitchell (DK,2006)****

When I heard a few fragments on CD Baby I couldn’t believe that this Joni Mitchell tribute group didn’t contain any Joni Mitchell herself, because the group is much more than a Joni-alike. They’re almost like twins, in soul and matter. Of course it is because singer Christina Friis has not only a similarly coloured voice, she is able to give the same range and singing technique. I’m not surprised this is Joni Mitchell approved. Besides that the arrangements have their own vision, and everything reveals a purity and honesty which counts heavily. While I began to get embarrassed by hearing Joni Mitchell reinterpret her own songs, with orchestral versions, with some kind of variations of older patterns, this is the kind of renewal I was waiting to hear. I cannot recommend this release enough to all Joni Michell fans of the early years mostly. Actually this could have been an example of an evolution after these years into this century.
Bringing on just a little bit or even rather new variation the group manages to perform slightly different versions that don't lose anything of the original songs. -Four unreleased Joni Michel songs were also interpreted !-

Christina Friis : vocals ; Hennig Olsen : acoustic and electric guitars, bass, electric slide dobro, acoustic and Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, percussion ; Frede Ewert : piano, Hammond organ, synthesizer ; Finn Gustafsson : electric guitar, wah wah ; T.Skovgaard : electric guitar, sitarguitar, dobro, acoustic 12-string guitar ; Michael Klinke : mouth organ; Rune Olessen : percussion, congas.

Audio : and here
Homepage :
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Joni Mitchell homepage :
About the 'Big Yellow Taxi' track :

Joni Michell releases which I have and appreciate : -these are her early, acoustic releases-

* Reprise Rec.Joni Mitchell : Joni Mitchell/Song to a Seagull (US,1969)*****
* Reprise Rec.Joni Mitchell : Smoke (US,1970)****'
* Reprise Rec.Joni Mitchell : Ladies of the Canyon (US,1971)****°
* Reprise Rec.Joni Mitchell : Clouds (US,1973)****°
* Reprise Rec.Joni Mitchell : Blue (US,1976)****'
* Reprise Rec.Joni Mitchell : Heijra (US,1978)****'
Gateway MusicBig Yellow Taxi and band : Treasures of Joni Mitchell (DK,2008)****/***°

The songs are sung perfectly again, as if the singer could almost fill in as a replacement for Joni (pre 'court & sparks') on occasions Joni is not able to appear (like everywhere in Europe). The band arrangements are an entertaining soft pop-rock accompaniment, with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, exotic handshaking rhythms, piano and a bit of amplified guitars and other very occasional instruments (sitar,organ,..), suiting and pleasing the songs. It’s not more than that but also not many more sounds are needed. Not all songs come over at first listen, probably due to the singsong styles of more of the songs themselves, not revealing much of underlying emotions during the writings –I think many Joni’s have this writer’s distance : there’s no ordeal with emotions in certain plain facts as if everything becomes a strange combination of wisdom to watch over things with an analytical eye on all these changes that are happening that could come over as an indifference to what others think about that.

All listed songs are actually unreleased Joni Mitchell songs.

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