Joni Mitchell has only visited the U.S. Top 40 singles chart four times in her long recording career – and the Top 20 just once. So much for ‘stoking the starmaker machinery behind the popular song’, as she sang in her 1974 song ‘Free Man in Paris’.
What Joni has done, on the other hand, is record a handful of masterful albums – Blue, Court And Spark, The Hissing Of Summer Lawns for starters – that prove she is right up there with the big boys: with Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson and Stevie Wonder. Few women can hold a candle to her oeuvre: maybe Aretha Franklin, maybe Kate Bush, Bjork, Joanna Newsom. Airs and graces she may have, but airs and graces backed up by ‘Woodstock’, ‘The Arrangement’, ‘A Case Of You’, ‘Help Me’, ‘Dog Eat Dog’ and ‘The Magdalene Laundries’ are forgivable. Some of Mitchell’s songs are great art. Almost all are emotionally complex and musically gripping.
Reckless Daughter collects some of the most incisive commentary on Joni’s music – and some of the most candid conversations she has had with journalists during her long career. From a review of her first performance at L.A.’s legendary Troubadour in 1968 to a career-sweeping 1998 interview by MOJO‘s Dave DiMartino, this anthology of almost 60 articles charts every stage of Joni’s extraordinary journey as a singer, songwriter and artist.