Saturday, April 06, 2013

Hejira

I walked through a mile in the snow to buy Hejira, as I mentioned in a prior post. It was a snow day off from school, that's how much snow there was. But I had saved enough for this album and by george I was going to get it and bring it home and listen to it on my crappy lo-fi turntable.

This was in the days before you could just order yourself up anything ever recorded via the mighty internets.

Wikipedia describes the album as folk/rock/jazz and it definitely is an odd could-only-be-Joni synthesis of those traditions.

Apparently David Sedaris was a big fan of Hejira.

Unlike Hissing of Summer Lawns, this CD from the birthday set from the Rev. Bookburn has not been in my possession forever, and in fact this is the first time I've heard the entire album all the way through since... I'm not sure, but one sign that it's been a long time is that Blue Motel Room has a line: "you and I we're like Americans and Russians, we're always keeping score, we're always balancing the power and that can get to be a cold cold war" which was not yet obsolete the last time I listened.

The album reminds me of sadness, probably due to the fact that when I got it I was suffering the post-breakup blues after my relationship with my first real boyfriend.

But also happiness: the first time my daughter ever laughed, I was singing along to Blue Motel Room while changing her diaper in her crib. The part "tell those girls that you have German measles, tell them you got gerrrrrms" really cracked her up.

Neil Young keeps the last remaining CSNY connection going, playing the harmonica on Furry Sings the Blues, a song about blues player Furry Lewis. But the most prominent musician after Mitchel is Jaco Pastorius, before he lost his marbles.

And I didn't know this - Wikipedia claims that Coyote is about an affair that Mitchell had with Sam Shepard. Did that woman ever have relations with anybody who was not famous?

And also, really Sam Shepard? Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith?

After Blue Motel Room, my favorite on this album is Black Crow. The most rocking of all the tunes, although that's a low bar since the other tunes are pretty subdued.

Hejira only received a so-so reception, but the album cover was huge.

These are the people who designed it, apparently.

And obviously the title would be controversial if the album was released today - probably Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris would accuse Joni Mitchell of being a jihadi-coddler.

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