Joni Mitchell: California and Me and My Uncle

The instrument Joni Mitchell is playing in the top clip, California, is a dulcimer. I couldn’t resist posting Me and My Uncle. The song, which was a Grateful Dead standard, seems like an odd choice for Mitchell. But she pulls it off. The clip, from 1965, shows what a great guitarist she is.

I only post two songs, but if you have time for a third please check out Mitchell, Cass Elliot and Mary Travers each taking a verse of I Shall Be Released. Listen to the odd orchestration. It’s fine, but doesn’t seem to quite fit.

Here is the beginning of Mitchell’s profile at Wikipedia:

Joni Mitchell, CC (born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943) is a Canadian musician, singer songwriter, and painter.[1] Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in Saskatchewan and Western Canada and then busking in the streets and dives of Toronto. In 1965 she moved to the United States and, touring constantly, began to be recognized when her original songs (“Urge for Going,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Both Sides, Now,” “The Circle Game”) were covered by notable folk singers, allowing her to sign with Reprise Records and record her own debut album in 1968.[2] Settling in Southern California, Mitchell and her popular songs like “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Woodstock” helped define an era and a generation. Her more starkly personal 1971 recording Blue has been called one of the best albums ever made.[3] Musically restless, Mitchell switched labels and began moving toward jazz rhythms by way of lush pop textures on 1974’s Court and Spark, her best-selling LP, featuring her radio hits “Help Me” and “Free Man in Paris.”[4]

Mitchell has had an amazing career. Even now, it is difficult to assign her to a genre. Ultimate Classic Rock’s Michael Gallucci picks what he feels are her ten top songs.

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