Sergeant Pepper or Revolver? Revolver or Sergeant Pepper? It’s so tempting just to say “both”, but I’ve only allowed myself ten slots in the Desert Island Albums series, and it would seem unfair to give 20% of all the space to a single band. [Previously: Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, Rainbow’s Rising and Blue Öyster Cult’s Fire of Unknown Origin.]
I’ve been vacillating between these to albums (with an occasional thought for Abbey Road) for some time. Now, with the death of George Martin, I’m pushed into actually writing this piece, and as it happens the dial is currently in the Pepper region. Continue reading
In this very occasional series, I am writing about the ten albums that I would take with me to a desert island. The idea is based on the long running BBC Radio series Desert Island Discs, of course; but I am giving myself entire albums rather than individual tracks, and I am having ten of them instead of the regulation eight. Hey, it’s my series, I can do what I want. [Previously: Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, and Rainbow’s Rising.]
My sister Lindsey (that’s her at the bottom of the photo,
enjoying experiencing my performance) recently found this old photo, taken in our back garden when I was about three years old. So that would be 1972, the year of Fragile, Machine Head, For the Roses and Paul Simon’s first solo album.
Like a phoenix from the flames …
Did Anne Heap of Frogs really break up, as I said last time? Or did they merely sack me? You’d think I’d be able to tell the difference between these two scenarios, but ten months after the second AHOF gig, this happened:
A flagrant festival of nostalgia today — my apologies to the 6,999,996 of you were were not members of the short-lived heavy metal band Anne Heap of Frogs in Bishop’s Stortford in the late 1980s. This post is for me, Andy, Richard and Eddie (and maybe our mums).
The ticket you see above is from the first Anne Heap of Frogs concert, played on the evening of Saturday 26 September 1987, at the URC Church Hall in Water Lane, Bishop’s Stortford. Astonishing to think that was 28 years ago.
The excellent JoniMitchell.com website allows members to score Mitchell’s albums and songs. There is a page listing all songs by rating, but no analogous page that I can find with the album ranks. Being curious to see what the members’ wisdom-of-crowds had to say, I scraped the current scores off the 19 pages for her 19 studio albums, with the following results:
[See also previous and subsequent posts in this series.]
I’m trying to move quickly to catch up with myself — I’m still a few months behind — so apologies if these books are not given as much coverage as they deserve.
Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words — Malka Marom
A truly fascinating set of three (very long) interviews, conducted many years apart, with the most endlessly fascinating singer-songwriter of them all. (If you don’t accept my assessment, ask David Crosby.) Malka Marom was a folk singer herself, so has a good angle on the issues that Joni is dealing with — personal, musical and poetic. They’re some of the most revealing interviews I’ve ever read, not in terms of salacious details but of slowly and effectively opening up essence of a person, revealing what makes her tick.
And I’d have to say that Joni doesn’t come out of it all that well, in the end. It’s apparent in all three interviews that she’s quite a self-focussed person, and that tendency becomes stronger and darker across the three interviews. Towards the end we read
I’m reliving old injuries. I’m reliving them and I’m telling the person off that I didn’t tell off. I’m trying to expel anger. And it hangs in the air and I go, ‘What that very satisfactory, when you said that to them? No.’ And then I kind of do it again.
For such a free spirit, she seems to find it hard to let go of old hurts and resentments. It’s a shame; but, no doubt, a part of what made her such an absolutely superb artist. And she really does stand alone.
Marom’s book is well worth reading for anyone who loves Joni’s work. Continue reading