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Barth

Before there was Regina there was Joni

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You may not petition the Lord with prayer, but if you laugh with God, rather than at Him, sometimes you he grants you wishes like Jimminy Cricket or Santa Claus.

When I was in college a million years ago, a BBC broadcast of Joni Mitchell playing with James Taylor at Albert Hall in London in October, 1970 was re-broadcast on either WNEW-FM or WPLJ. (This was before Blue which catapulted Joni into a new place, and, for James, only a few months after his second (but first for most people) album, Sweet Baby James was released.

The technology of the time allowed me to record this onto a cassette tape which I lovingly carried around for decades until it was stolen, with a bunch of other valuable cassettes from my car which I foolishly parked in midtown in the days when that was not the thing to do.

Ah, but what thieves steal, the internet giveth back. (I made that up; it is not a biblical passage). This suddenly appeared on my computer today

http://www.bigozine2.com/archi...ies/ARjmjtroyal.html

and I am so happy to have this back in my life that I felt compelled to tell you about it.

The people who posted it are obviously not my age since the stuff written around suggests an unawareness of Joni and James as a couple, something she sang about a few years later ("pack up your suspenders" on See You Sometime from For the Roses).

More importantly, what makes this such a treasure is that they play together from track 8, while the internet notes identify only track 11 as a duet. In particular, James' very quiet harmony on For Free changes the song just so much, but his very distinctive guitar is all over this.

Joni's introduction to The Circle Game (which has stuck in my mind all these years) is, of course, about her friend, Neil Young, though she does not mention him by name but rather the lyrics to Sugar Mountain, to which The Circle Game is Joni's rejoinder. Her explanation of how Carey came to be written is almost equally priceless, This is rock and roll history of the highest order.

As for the stuff they claim was not broadcast, some of it I remember hearing but others, such as a song caled Good Samaritan which I have never heard before (this, in itself, is amazing) like finding beautiful jewelry in a barren desert.

And, yes, the young Joni, her approach to her music, especially behind a keyboard, is what I remember, have always loved dearly, and is part of what has made Regina Spektor so important to me. (I will never understand what the phrase "anti-folk" is supposed to mean, especially as applied to Regina, or Jenny Owen Youngs or Bess Rogers and so forth).

As I have come to see President Kennedy in President Obama, there is so much Joni in Regina (not just the obvious here:

http://www.respektonline.com/songs.php?s=205 )

and, as I think of Joni as one of the musician/composers of the twentieth century (if not the single most outstanding) there is much to hope for from Regina who I treasure in much the same way as, always, Joni Mitchell.

This is as great a piece of work as there is in the world of music.

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You may not petition the Lord with prayer, but if you laugh with God, rather than at Him, sometimes you he grants you wishes like Jimminy Cricket or Santa Claus.

When I was in college a million years ago, a BBC broadcast of Joni Mitchell playing with James Taylor at Albert Hall in London in October, 1970 was re-broadcast on either WNEW-FM or WPLJ. (This was before Blue which catapulted Joni into a new place, and, for James, only a few months after his second (but first for most people) album, Sweet Baby James was released.

The technology of the time allowed me to record this onto a cassette tape which I lovingly carried around for decades until it was stolen, with a bunch of other valuable cassettes from my car which I foolishly parked in midtown in the days when that was not the thing to do.

Ah, but what thieves steal, the internet giveth back. (I made that up; it is not a biblical passage). This suddenly appeared on my computer today

http://www.bigozine2.com/archi...ies/ARjmjtroyal.html

and I am so happy to have this back in my life that I felt compelled to tell you about it.

The people who posted it are obviously not my age since the stuff written around suggests an unawareness of Joni and James as a couple, something she sang about a few years later ("pack up your suspenders" on See You Sometime from For the Roses).

More importantly, what makes this such a treasure is that they play together from track 8, while the internet notes identify only track 11 as a duet. In particular, James' very quiet harmony on For Free changes the song just so much, but his very distinctive guitar is all over this.

Joni's introduction to The Circle Game (which has stuck in my mind all these years) is, of course, about her friend, Neil Young, though she does not mention him by name but rather the lyrics to Sugar Mountain, to which The Circle Game is Joni's rejoinder. Her explanation of how Carey came to be written is almost equally priceless, This is rock and roll history of the highest order.

As for the stuff they claim was not broadcast, some of it I remember hearing but others, such as a song caled Good Samaritan which I have never heard before (this, in itself, is amazing) like finding beautiful jewelry in a barren desert.

And, yes, the young Joni, her approach to her music, especially behind a keyboard, is what I remember, have always loved dearly, and is part of what has made Regina Spektor so important to me. (I will never understand what the phrase "anti-folk" is supposed to mean, especially as applied to Regina, or Jenny Owen Youngs or Bess Rogers and so forth).

As I have come to see President Kennedy in President Obama, there is so much Joni in Regina (not just the obvious here:

http://www.respektonline.com/songs.php?s=205 )

and, as I think of Joni as one of the musician/composers of the twentieth century (if not the single most outstanding) there is much to hope for from Regina who I treasure in much the same way as, always, Joni Mitchell.

This is as great a piece of work as there is in the world of music.

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Joni Mitchell is one of the few I don't mind comparing Regina too. Joni gets the respect because she is from the beginning. (and her music is great) I think each of their styles are pretty different, but there is a connection. I think the biggest one is that Regina is a revolutionary like Joni Mitchell was. Not so much as a sound alike, but Joni Mitchell inspired making big changes in music. And Regina is doing that just like she did.

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Well, I agree with your assessment of Regina's importance but as "styles" go there are many similarities. The most obvious is the piano, the use of classical music themes and of instruments (cello, violin, etc) more often found in orchestras than popular music, but it goes deeper than that. Both write about broad themes beyond, woe is me, my boyfriend is mean to me, I love my boyfriend, and so on.

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and, as mentioned, she parrots a Joni line and melody very briefly in the Bethlehem song.

Regina is not mimicking Joni. I certainly don't think that, but she is combining different sounds and lyrics in a very inventive way and reminds me of the young Joni Mitchell that way.

Her concert demeanor is similar, too. She is very serious as was Joni, and quite dedicated to the craft of making music. I grew up in an era where noise was king---and then there was Joni. Today noise is back---but there is Regina.

What makes both of them so important is that what each is doing is not like anyone else's music (including one another) but the sight of a young woman at the piano mixing different sounds from different sources is very much the same.

As Joni got older and went closer to jazz, many of her old fans complained that this was not "the Joni Mitchell I loved" suggesting that what she had to do was play the same songs over and over and over, exactly as she recorded them. I think she would rather have died than be forced to do that, and I think Reg feels the same way.

And the criticism of "Far" that it doesn't sound the same as "Kitsch" or BTH or her earlier work falls in the same category, it seems to me. As some brilliant woman wrote:

Everybody wants/To say that you have changed/

Of course you've changed, you've changed, you've changed/Your mind's been rearranged

Or as another brilliant woman wrote:

And the seasons they go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We're captive on the carousel of time

We can't return we can only look

Behind from where we came

And go round and round and round

In the circle game

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quote:
Originally posted by Barth:

Well, I agree with your assessment of Regina's importance but as "styles" go there are many similarities. The most obvious is the piano, the use of classical music themes and of instruments (cello, violin, etc) more often found in orchestras than popular music, but it goes deeper than that. Both write about broad themes beyond, woe is me, my boyfriend is mean to me, I love my boyfriend, and so on.

I concur sir (if Barth is a sir). You make a good point about the classical piano connection and the piano mixing. I was born in '63, so I've had a good dose of Joni Mitchell and have a lot of it on my computer. My parents were already listening to her when I became aware of music. When I said 'style' I guess I meant that when I listen to Regina it doesn't make me immediately think of Joni Mitchell. Or the other way around. Connections are obvious, but to me Regina, while definitely inspired by people like Joni Mitchell, took it in her 'own inventive way', like you said. I also like what you said later that they don't 'mimic' each other, and that what they have in common is that 'what each is doing is not like anyone else's music (including each other)' My word was 'revolutionary', but I think you explained it better.

Regina wouldn't even be here if there wasn't inspiration from others. And she acknowledges that fact in practically every interview she gives. And really isn't that true with any musician. Listen to Beatle interviews. They constantly talk about Elvis and Buddy Holly and blues and even country/western inspiring them. And while I see the connection, I don't necessarily think of those people or genres when I listen to Beatles.

And hey, isn't it funny how much Joni Mitchell is associated with folk music and Regina is called 'anti folk'. So stupid. I never go in for any of that. To me, good music is what it is no matter what.

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