Friday Night Music, October 16: Joni Mitchell, “California,” Live, 1970

I’m thinking of my state tonight, and how I remember what it used to be. That California Dream is now become a nightmare. I want to go home, but lord. Poor California. Schwarzenegger wasn’t the only one to ruin it. California, coming home, too.

I discovered Joni in the late Sixties and by the time I entered college, I was a full-blown Joni addict: Blue, For the Roses, and Court and Spark. Understand, it’s not just her singing that takes my soul. It’s her lyrics. Pure poetry. She was 26 at this BBC live concert.

She talks about people reading Rolling Stone in this song, but I remember reading in their pages someone’s insulting description of her as everybody’s old lady. Somebody must have been pissed that she had had lovers as diverse as Graham Nash, Leonard Cohen, and James Taylor, but hadn’t put the guy on her list, cutting that wide swash. I’m still reading Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–And the Journey of a Generation, by Sheila Weller. Out of the three, this girl really didn’t want her biology to determine her destiny, though she loved her men and loved them deeply. She wanted her dream as a performer, and no way was any guy stopping her.

Joni is semi-retired, concentrating on her visual art. She released an album, Shine, on Starbucks’ Hear Music label in 2007. Let’s hope Joni, as well as Carole King, completes her autobiography very soon.

~ by blksista on October 16, 2009.

One Response to “Friday Night Music, October 16: Joni Mitchell, “California,” Live, 1970”

  1. Great song and nice music.

    If you like, you can also see our site on musicals and broadway shows.


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