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Coloring Club Plus — 12/12/19

Dec 12

Blue is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Exploring the various facets of relationships from infatuation on “A Case of You” to insecurity on “This Flight Tonight”, the songs feature simple accompaniments on piano, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. The album peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart, number 9 on the Canadian RPM Albums Chart and number 15 on the Blllboard 200.

Today, Blue is generally regarded by music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time; the way Mitchell’s songwriting, compositions and voice all work together are frequent areas of praise. In January 2000, The New York Times chose Blue as one of the 25 albums that represented “turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music.” In 2012, Blue was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, the highest entry by a female artist. It was also voted number 24 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). In July 2017, Blue was chosen by NPR as the greatest album of all time made by a woman.

Some of the songs on Blue were inspired by Mitchell’s 1968-1970 relationship with Graham Nash. Their relationship was already troubled when she left for Europe, and it was while she was on Formentera that she sent Nash the telegram that let him know that their relationship was over. The songs “My Old Man” and “River” are thought to be inspired by their relationship.

In 1979 Mitchell reflected, “The Blue album, there’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.

Blue has won many accolades, where you can see them at wikipedia here.

Although “River” is merely set near Christmas time, rather than being about Christmas, it has become something of a modern Christmas standard. “River” is the second-most widely recorded song in Mitchell’s oeuvre (432 recordings, behind only “Both Sides, Now”), frequently appearing on albums of Christmas music by pop, folk and jazz artists. The piano accompaniment to the vocal borrows heavily from the tune to the 19th-century winter song “Jingle Bells”.

 

 

 

It’s coming on Christmas,
They’re cutting down trees.
Putting up reindeer
Singing songs of joy and peace,
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

But it don’t snow here,
Stays pretty green.
I’m gonna make a lot of money
Gonna quit this crazy scene.
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

I wish I had a river so long,
I would teach my feet to fly.
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.
I made my baby cry.

She tried hard to help me,
She put me at ease.
She loved me so naughty,
made me weak in the knees.
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

I’m so hard to handle,
I’m selfish and I’m sad.
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I’ve ever had.
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long,
I would teach my feet to fly.
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.
I made my baby say goodbye.
Say goodbye.

It’s coming on Christmas,
They’re cutting down trees.
Putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace,
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.
Songwriters: Joni Mitchell

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