Like Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky, the second classic 1974 album on this list showed up in a deep dive earlier this year. Too bad Madonna didn’t record in 1974 or we could have gone three for three.
Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark was her most popular album, commercially, and has been critically hailed. As I wrote back in February, however, I remain immune to its charms.
I love what she does on this album musically, but I can’t stand what she’s doing vocally. One of the great discoveries of my Mitchell deep dive was that this vocal delivery was mostly confined to this album, allowing me to really enjoy her as a singer. Here, though, it’s viscerally off-putting.
Despite that, the songwriting here is top-notch and I enjoy the playfulness of the record. I can see why it’s a favorite for many Mitchell fans.
Love came to my door
With a sleeping roll
And a madman’s soul
He thought for sure I’d seen him
Dancing up a river in the dark
Looking for a woman
To court and spark
He was playing on the sidewalk
For passing change
When something strange happened
Glory train passed through him
So he buried the coins he made
In People’s Park
And went looking for a woman
To court and spark
It seemed like he read my mind
He saw me mistrusting him and still acting kind
He saw how I worried, sometimes
I worry sometimes
“All the guilty people,” he said
“They’ve all seen the stain
On their daily bread
On their Christian names
I cleared myself, I sacrificed my blues
And you could complete me
I’d complete you.”
His eyes were the color of the sand
And the sea
And the more he talked to me, you know
The more he reached me
But I couldn’t let go of L.A
City of the fallen angels
Glad to see your appreciation for Mitchell generally and this album particularly has increased. The vocal style that irks you is largely confined to some of the songs on this album, though they were the more popular tracks such as Help Me and Free Man in Paris. The title track featured today does not really have that vocal style, and it’s a beautiful song.