When it comes to the very beginnings of Canadian Pop/Folk music in the 1960s, you can be sure that Joni Mitchell (birthname Roberta Joan Anderson) was right there forging away, meticulously fine-tuning her very distinctive sound.
Born in Fort MacLeod, Alberta (1943), Joni quickly morphed into a talented singer/songwriter. Throughout the late 1960s and the 1970s her songs helped to put good, old Canada on the pop-music map (though she did, of course, defect over to the USA).
Throughout her long, illustrious career Joni has been an 8-time Grammy Award winner. And her songs have been covered by such notable performers as Judy Collins, Janet Jackson, George Michael and Prince.
Released in 1973 - Court and Spark contains 11 tracks in all which were written and performed by Mitchell (along with accompanying musicians). Three of my favourite tunes here are - Down To You, Car On The Hill, and Help Me.... (*Watch music-video*)
Love, love, love this record, which debuted the year I turned sweet sixteen. Joni Mitchell's music was making such an impression on me at that time, and this album especially held me enthralled, from the melancholy musing of the title track to the quirky, jazzy fun of the old Annie Ross satire "Twisted."
Every single track is wonderful, but the ones I played over and over again were the rocking "Raised On Robbery," one of the album's two hit singles, and the aching, plaintive masterpiece "The Same Situation" (introduced by the brooding "People's Parties.")
I didn't know or care necessarily that "Court and Spark" chronicled a specific love affair, and I wasn't yet old enough to have experienced the issues raised in the songs. But I felt them deeply nevertheless; I understood loneliness, and the contradictory longing for freedom and connection. And forty years later these songs still speak to me.
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