"Joni! Keep Something of Yourself" -Kris Kristofferson (upon hearing the album Blue for the first time.)
(pictured Joni Mitchell & Graham Nash)
Embarrassingly, I have to admit that the first time I had ever heard a song penned by the lovely Joni Mitchell, I was driving down a long dark Virginia road and I was listening to Diana Krall's Live in Paris album in which she did a cover of "A Case of You". I couldn't believe the lyrics of this song...
"Just before our love got lost you said
'I am as a constant as a northern star'
And I said, 'Constantly in the darkness?
Where that? If you want me I'll be in the bar'"
"Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet..."
"Part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
You're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and you taste so sweet"
Of course, by now I have heard the true masterpiece, which is Joni's, off of her album Blue. And of course, listening to that whole album was miraculous! It was like reading a diary of the person I want to be! So honest! That's why I love the quote (above) by Kris Kristofferson, she just really was so bare, and raw... and it's lovely in all of it's poetic glory!
A couple of birthday's ago I received a record player (not my first in life, but definitely my first in a long time). The first record I bought myself was Joni's Blue. And again, listening to "A Case of You" on vinyl, with that vintage sound, well it's even more hauntingly beautiful.
Awhile back, I was at the bookstore and I saw that Graham Nash had come out with a memoir. I flipped through looking at the photographs and I came across the one above (if it wasn't this one, it was one very similar). I remember the caption had said something about Joni working on a song from the album Blue. I love this picture because I know that so much of that album came from her relationship with Graham, her traveling Europe, and her relationship with James Taylor. I think this picture just hits home to me that you can just be living your life, but from that life you can be creating art. And if the songs from Blue are not pure art, then I don't know what is, each song is a photograph.
Though there are so many favorites to choose from off this album, I always come back to "A Case of You". Maybe because it was my first, and like a first love, you can't help but remember it fondly. It is so dear to me, because there are moments in life where you hear a song and you realize you're growing up--- you realize that you can distinctly tell the difference between real artistry and bubblegum pop. In a world of manufactured Britney's, we need more Joni's.