Joni – Miscellaneous Joni released a greatest hits album simply called HITS in 1996. A great collection – mostly early years – with only one new song ‘Urge For Going’ which she had recorded but left off Blue back in 1971. Better, in my opinion was the companion album Misses, released the same day, which was a collection of her personal favourite songs from her whole career. This is a wonderful record, mostly later songs which may have been missed or undervalued. It has a consistency which ‘Hits’ lacks, a mood maintained throughout. I love it, a very nice listen on a rainy day. The Seeding Of Summer Lawns is a bootleg of demos which Joni made for several middle period albums. This was before the jazz affectations and arrangements were added. There is a simplicity and honesty about the songs in this ‘raw’ and yet very accomplished state, and a cohesion to the feel of them. I especially like ‘Dreamland’ and ‘Shades Of Scarlet Conquering’. Joni Mitchell Remixed – is another bootleg, this time faster beats and rhythms are added to a few of her songs – too many versions of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ but overall a nice addition to the collection. I also have a triple album of live concerts under the Transmission Impossible label. These must have been originally broadcast on radio and have now gone past copyright. Pretty cool really – disc 1 is from ’66 to ’70. (not really my favourite period) a few unrecorded songs but none of which grabbed me as up to her later standard. Better was disc 2, an early 80s concert to promote Wild Things, I think. Anyway a very nice concert; Joni had by now adopted a more ‘commercial’ sound, more traditional guitar and piano led songs rather than the jazzy 2 official live records – and better for it too. I especially like ‘Coyote’ and ‘Don’t interrupt The Sorrow’ – but actually it is all good. Disc 3 is I think from the early 90’s and was promoting ‘Turbulent Indigo’. Joni was particularly talkative on this concert giving some back ground to songs like ‘Cherokee Louise’. I also like ‘Night Ride Home’ and ‘Yvette in English’; somehow, she manages to sound jazz-inflected with just her guitar. She had certainly come a long way from her early high-pitched folky songs. Last but not least is actually a Herbie Hancock jazz album – River, The Joni Letters (2007). Ten songs, eight of which were written by Joni. She sings on ‘The Tea Leaf Prophecy’ and several guest singers including Leonard Cohen on ‘The Jungle Line’ and Tina Turner on ‘Edith and The Kingpin’. Herbie is a renowned jazz artist and has played on several of Joni’s later albums. This is a very jazz oriented record, interpretations of some of Joni’s songs. But really quite enjoyable and a different take on one of my very favourite artists. Joni has retired form making music several years ago, and suffered a brain aneurism a few years ago, but seems to be recovering quite well and still paints. In fact, she has often said that really she was a painter first and foremost; indeed in later years she treated her songs like painting in sound. An incredible artist in all senses of the word who changed the musical landscape by allowing women to be taken seriously and opening up her music to include feelings in a sometimes quite brutal way. I am sad to be saying goodbye to her (just for a while).