With apologies up front to one faithful follower of this blog (who tells me to get out of the musical "past"), I feel compelled to join the legions of people who have written rapturously about Joni Mitchell.
Thanks to my brother, I just watched a concert DVD called "Painting With Words & Music" (1998). Although I've admired Mitchell since 1968 and own most of her recordings, this was the best 90 minutes I've spent in front of my TV in years. The span of material covered goes from "Big Yellow Taxi" & "Woodstock" (both substantially re-worked from the versions on her 3rd release - 1970's "Ladies Of the Canyon") to "Comes Love" (mis-named on the DVD credits as "Nothing Can Be Done"), the jazz standard written in 1939 that she would later record on "Both Sides Now" in 2000. The Mitchell recording that gets the most attention here (with 4 songs) is 1976's "Hejira". This fact alone made me ecstatic; "Hejira" is among my favorite of her records.
The band is wonderful, especially on the nicest surprise - Mitchell's cover of Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man". Although I missed hearing any songs from "Blue" or "For the Roses" or especially from "Mingus", given the caliber of her musicians, these are minor quibbles. Join me in celebrating Joni, one of the treasures of 20th century music.