The Complete Geffen Recordings

The Complete Geffen Recordings

by Joni Mitchell

CD

Overview

For starters, hunters should not get their hopes up about any unreleased material on this box set -- there are exactly three cuts, two are unfinished demo versions of songs already on their respective albums -- "Two Grey Rooms" and "Good Friends" -- as well as an unreleased cover version of Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue." But that's fine, just fine. The bottom line is that these records haven't been available in some time due to the profound folly of the accountants who run the Geffen imprint who wouldn't know art if it were hanging in their living rooms. The box is stunning, gorgeous even in its earth-tone glory with a brilliant inset photograph by former husband and producer Larry Klein. There are poignant photos, the albums in their original sleeves, a completely searing unapologetic set of liner notes from Mitchell, reproductions of paintings, and more. Mitchell's comments, which introduce many of the songs here, are priceless. These and the liner notes are almost worth the price of the box. The only design problem seems to be that the booklet falls apart a bit from its stitching, but that's not really a big deal. However, there is the music to contend with. When Mitchell entered the '80s with Wild Things Run Fast, her first studio album of the decade coming off the Mingus and the transcendent Shadows And Light tour. Lyrically, Mitchell met the challenge head on, and musically, she did as she always did: followed her own Muse deeper into the realms of jazz and classic American pop. She collaborated with Larry Klein for the first time -- as she has ever since -- and began using small core bands with Klein's bass as an anchor and numerous guests including Wayne Shorter, Lionel Ritchie, Brenda Russell, Alex Acuña; even Grasshopper from Mercury Rev made an appearance on Night Ride Home. On this box it becomes obvious that Wild Things Run Fast set a template for four very different, yet linked, recordings. With its jazzy edges and its liberal use of early rock and roll and classic R&B (at one point in "Chinese Laundry" Mitchell does a very moving rendition of "Unchained Melody," and at another covers Leiber and Stoller's "You're So Square"). Critics were downright hostile to Dog Eat Dog, from the cover on in to the music. Given its dark meditations on the era, it's use of Thomas Dolby and technology, it flew in the face of '80s-styled simple, shiny rock, and took to task both the rampant materialism of the age, and its complete abandonment of human concerns for commerce and cultural iconography. It also laughed at the forced simplicity of popular music at the time with a rampant sophistication and cool. Chalk Mark In A Rain Storm, with its Native American themes and mystical jazz tropes, is simply a brilliant recording that was received with kindness, and even some understanding by critics, but it sold miserably even though its guests reflected a who's who of the MTV era: Peter Gabriel, Billy Idol, Don Henley, Tom Petty, and Wendy and Lisa (from Prince's band). Night Ride Home garnered decent reviews as well; it featured a stripped down, more acoustic sound, and is one of the most lyrically brilliant and ambitious of Mitchell's many albums. Here was a long reflection on endings, dark ambiguities, and the willingness to stay inside a place that offers no certainty in order to live one's way into an answer. Tracks like "The Windfall," "Slouching Toward Bethlehem," "Cherokee Louise," and "Come In From The Cold," offer a vision of steadfastness in dark and wavering trials of the soul. Her version of Dylan's "Baby Blue" here is a real bonus; it's a revelatory reading of a monolithic song. Revealing her to still be full of the trickster's promise and the visionary's unwavering gaze into the future, this is a box set worthy of Mitchell's contribution.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/23/2003
Label: Geffen Records
UPC: 0602498604687
catalogNumber: 000081902

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joni Mitchell   Primary Artist,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Oboe,Electric Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Sampling,Omnichord,Whisper,Fairlight CMI,Billatron
Willie Nelson   Vocals,Background Vocals
David Baerwald   Vocals
Thomas Dolby   Marimbas,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,fairlight
Peter Gabriel   Vocals,Background Vocals
Don Henley   Saxophone,Vocals,Background Vocals
Billy Idol   Vocals,Background Vocals
Michael McDonald   Vocals,Background Vocals
Tom Petty   Vocals,Background Vocals
Lionel Richie   Background Vocals
Brenda Russell   Vocals
Steve Stevens   Guitar
James Taylor   Background Vocals
Larry Carlton   Electric Guitar
Victor Feldman   Percussion
Kenny Rankin   Whisper
Wayne Shorter   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Amy Holland   Background Vocals
Rod Steiger   Voices
Alex Acuña   Percussion,Bata
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums,Snare Drums
Lisa Coleman   Background Vocals
Skip Cottrell   Whisper
Robert DeLaGarza   Whisper
Bill Dillon   Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar
Russell Ferrante   oberheim
Gary Grant   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
John Guerin   Drums,Whisper
Jerry Hey   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Kim Hutchcroft   Baritone Saxophone
Manu Katché   Percussion,Drums,Choir, Chorus,Snare Drums,talking drum
Howard Kinney   Background Vocals
Larry Klein   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Choir, Chorus,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Roland TR-808
Michael Landau   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Choir, Chorus
Julie Last   Choir, Chorus
Steve Lukather   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Kazu Matsui   Shakuhachi
Wendy Melvoin   Background Vocals
Benjamin Orr   Background Vocals
Charles Valentino   Background Vocals
Zyg Winard   Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part
Myron Edwins   Vocals,Background Vocals
Karen Peris   Background Vocals
Larry Williams   Flute,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals,Prophet Synthesizer
Steven Lindsey   Organ

Technical Credits

Thomas Dolby   Arranger,Arrangement Collaboration
Bob Dylan   Composer
Joni Mitchell   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer,Vocal Arrangements,drum programming,Art Direction,Paintings,Arrangement Collaboration,Prop Design,Spoken Word Producer,Lyric Revision
Jeremy Lubbock   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Don Alias   rhythm arrangement
David Bottrill   Engineer
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Vinnie Colaiuta   rhythm arrangement,Drum Samples
Richard Cottrell   Engineer
Skip Cottrell   Engineer
Michael Fisher   Percussion Sampling
Jerry Hey   Horn Arrangements
Jerry Hudgins   Engineer
Larry Klein   Arranger,Composer,Producer,rhythm arrangement,Arrangement Collaboration,Cover Photo
Julie Last   Engineer
Henry Lewy   Engineer
Dan Marnien   Engineer
Alex North   Composer
Tony Phillips   Engineer
Mike Shipley   Engineer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Hy Zaret   Composer
Vartan   Art Direction
Bob Nolan   Composer
Jeri Heiden   Art Direction
Glen Christensen   Art Direction
Alan Smart   Engineer
Cricket   Contributor
William Butler Yeats   Composer

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