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Joni Mitchell - Hejira RIAA Certified Gold! Click here to see this CD at!

By Sam Sutherland

After the expanded instrumental scale and sonic experimentation of Court & Spark and The Hissing of Summer Lawns[EJM2], Joni Mitchell reverses that flow for the more intimate, interior music on Hejira, which retracts the arranging style to focus on Mitchell's distinctive acoustic guitar and piano, and the brilliant, lyrical bass fantasias of fretless bass innovator Jaco Pastorius. Known for his furious, sometimes rococo figures beneath the music of Weather Report, Pastorius is tamed by Mitchell's cooler, more deliberate ballads: these meditations coax a far gentler, subdued lyricism from Pastorius, whose intricate bass counterpoints Mitchell's coolly elegant singing, especially on the sublime "Amelia," which transforms the mystery of Amelia Earheart into a parable of both feminism and romantic self-discovery. This isn't Mitchell at her most obviously ambitious, yet the depth of feeling, poetic reach, and musical confidence make this among the finest works in a very fine canon.

1. Coyote6. Song For Sharon
2. Amelia7. Black Crow
3. Furry Sings The Blues8. Blue Motel Room
4. A Strange Boy9. Refuge Of The Roads
5. Hejira


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"The word 'Hejira' is an Arabic word that means "A journey, especially when undertaken to seek refuge away from a dangerous or undesirable environment", and this album is a journey of an adult Joni into a slightly laid-back jazzier place, and the travel diary of an actual journey she took to escape a broken relationship.

The songs here seem as biographical and cathartic as that of her previous album 'Blue'. The lyrics are conversational and poetic at the same time, evoking strong images as in the title track ("white flags from winter chimneys/waving truce against the moon/in the mirrors of a modern bank/from the window of a hotel room"). They can be read as poems in their own right.

The music itself is sparse on these tracks - often only Joni's fingerpicked guitar which trundles along sedately, counterpointed with the elastic bass runs of Jaco Pastorius and the ambient wash of Larry Carlton's lead guitar. The melody in each song can be fairly repeditive, but this suits the poetic structure of the lyrics.

I found it an album which took time to grow on me, but once it does it is more emotionally rewarding than 'Blue'."

--Joe B

"Your review of Hejira was fascinating to read as there is little i know about this remarkable album. Believe me, I know the songs extremely well but my cd had no liner notes on it so i did not know who played those unbelievable bass lines etc. It was good to see you too held these in high regard and also that you rated this album highly in her collection. I feel it is her most emotional and best album for the atmosphere it creates and the way the songs develope very subtly. Even though the songs generally have one long musical idea repeated they are far from boring and can be listed to again and again, hearing new things each time. I felt this album took a lot longer to get into than say Ladies of the Canyon or Blue but seems to have more of a staying quality. I am 23 and discovered Joni Mitchell after getting ino Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and hearing their version of woodstock. I loved that song (and the whole deja vu album) and decided to hear the original. It was only then that i realised the depth of the lyric and the beauty of the melody and instantly bought Ladies.... From then i got J.M, clouds, blue, for the roses, court and spark and hejira. I am now seeking another Hejira. Are there any other albums of hers in the same style? or was it a one off."

--Joni fan in OZ

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Artist: Joni Mitchell

Released: November 23, 1976

Availability: CD, Vinyl

Awards:  Gold

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