Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)

Artist Credit
Gary Burden Art Direction
Sneaky Pete Kleinow Guitar, Guitar (Steel), Main Personnel, Pedal Steel, Pedal Steel Guitar
Russ Kunkel Drums, Main Personnel
Henry Lewy Audio Engineer, Engineer
Joni Mitchell Audio Production, Composer, Guitar, Keyboards, Main Personnel, Piano, Primary Artist, Vocals
Stephen Stills Bass, Bass Instrument, Guest Artist, Guitar, Guitar (Bass), Main Personnel
James Taylor Guest Artist, Guitar, Main Personnel, Vocals
James Taylor Jr. Guitar

Sad, spare, and beautiful, Blue is the quintessential confessional singer/songwriter album. Forthright and poetic, Joni Mitchell’s songs are raw nerves, tales of love and loss (two words with relative meaning here) etched with stunning complexity; even tracks like “All I Want,” “My Old Man,” and “Carey” — the brightest, most hopeful moments on the record — are darkened by bittersweet moments of sorrow and loneliness. At the same time that songs like “Little Green” (about a child given up for adoption) and the title cut (a hymn to salvation supposedly penned for James Taylor) raise the stakes of confessional folk-pop to new levels of honesty and openness, Mitchell’s music moves beyond the constraints of acoustic folk into more intricate and diverse territory, setting the stage for the experimentation of her later work. Unrivaled in its intensity and insight, Blue remains a watershed.

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