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A Tribute to Joni Mitchell

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
This experimental tribute to revered folk singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell features a mix of well-appointed pop, jazz, and rock artists. Highlights include Cassandra Wilson's warm reading of "For the Roses," k.d. lang's breathtaking "Help Me," Sarah McLachlan's eerily-Mitchell-reminiscent version of "Blue," and Prince's plaintive, gospel-inspired take on "A Case of You."
All Music Guide - Margaret Reges
Joni Mitchell covers dot the musical landscape the way Tim Hortons doughnut shacks line the highways of Ontario. It's a little surprising, then, that the first Mitchell tribute album to be released on a major U.S. label didn't emerge until 2007, ...
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April 24, 2007 CD Pristine CD in lightly used case with original artwork. Ships from US-Midwest. Support Independent Booksellers! Omahabooks offers same or next day ... shipping-satisfaction guaranteed. Expedited/Priority, Air and International require additional postage-contact seller. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
This experimental tribute to revered folk singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell features a mix of well-appointed pop, jazz, and rock artists. Highlights include Cassandra Wilson's warm reading of "For the Roses," k.d. lang's breathtaking "Help Me," Sarah McLachlan's eerily-Mitchell-reminiscent version of "Blue," and Prince's plaintive, gospel-inspired take on "A Case of You."
All Music Guide - Margaret Reges
Joni Mitchell covers dot the musical landscape the way Tim Hortons doughnut shacks line the highways of Ontario. It's a little surprising, then, that the first Mitchell tribute album to be released on a major U.S. label didn't emerge until 2007, which was coincidentally the same year Mitchell was scheduled to release Shine, her first studio effort to appear in some ten years. And as far as tribute albums go, A Tribute to Joni Mitchell isn't half bad. The compilation is split up between songs that were recorded specifically for the tribute album, such as Sufjan Stevens' "A Free Man in Paris," and those that were recorded and released previously, such as James Taylor's "River." The tracks that were recorded specifically for A Tribute are far and away the best. Stevens approaches "A Free Man in Paris" with his characteristic, and fitting, over-the-top irony and band geek sensibilities. Opening with a brass fanfare, the kind that wouldn't be out of place in the opening credits of a network news show, Stevens' cover tackles the original with an appropriate sense of theatricality and fun. Björk's lilting cover of "Boho Dance," lush with synthesized bells and whorls, arguably rivals the original. She does a very good job of allowing Mitchell's lyics to unfurl, even while she twists and transforms the song, fairy godmother-style, into something otherworldly. And Caetano Veloso's rendition of "Dreamland" is simply a revelation. It's not a huge stretch from the original, but Veloso's light, gentle vocals, augmented by the the warm, loose Brazilian instrumentation, somehow manages to grab Mitchell's narrative and bring it to life. Mitchell is a storyteller, and the best tracks on here are those that welcome and explore her narratives. The worst ignore or misinterpret them. Prince pays little attention to Mitchell's lyrics on "A Case of You," slashing the first two verses in order to cut right to the chase. This abridged version has a lot of soul, but it does little to pay tribute to Mitchell's original; Prince cut out the pathos and made the song sappy. To be fair, Mitchell's a difficult person to pay tribute to, let alone cover, seeing how she's one of those rare singer/songwriters whose abilities as a performer are equal to her compositions. This stands in stark contrast to someone like Bob Dylan, whose songs were often just as, if not more, enjoyable in their Jimi Hendrix or Joan Baez incarnations. But while she's ultimately the best performer of her own work, Mitchell, with her warbly soprano and idiosyncratic sense of composition, hasn't always lent herself to the unaccustomed ear. A Tribute to Joni Mitchell is thus a great listen for those who'd like to ease into the breadth and range of Mitchell's work by way of established, accessible artists like Prince, Sarah McLachlan and Taylor. Granted, fans will probably find themselves yearning for the original material after listening to this disc, but this is only another way in which A Tribute succeeds. These interpretations, imperfect as they can be, provide new vantage points from which Mitchell's original albums can be located, analyzed, and appreciated.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/24/2007
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597998955
  • Catalog Number: 122620

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Free Man in Paris - Sufjan Stevens (5:01)
  2. 2 The Boho Dance - Björk (5:08)
  3. 3 Dreamland - Caetano Veloso (4:56)
  4. 4 Don't Interrupt the Sorrow - Brad Mehldau (5:10)
  5. 5 For the Roses (5:57)
  6. 6 A Case of You - Prince (3:31)
  7. 7 Blue - Sarah McLachlan (2:49)
  8. 8 Ladies of the Canyon (3:41)
  9. 9 The Magdalene Laundries - Emmylou Harris (3:43)
  10. 10 Edith and the Kingpin - Elvis Costello (5:58)
  11. 11 Help Me - k.d. lang (4:00)
  12. 12 River - James Taylor (3:36)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Emmylou Harris Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Caetano Veloso Vocals, Background Vocals, Hand Clapping
Elvis Costello Vocals
Larry Goldings Piano
Cassandra Wilson Vocals
Sarah McLachlan Piano, Vocals
Annie Lennox Vocals
Baluji Shrivastav Sitar
Brian Ahern Bass
Roy Babbington Bass Guitar
John Barclay Trumpet, Flugelhorn
John Blackwell Drums
Teddy Borowiecki Keyboards
Dave Carpenter Bass
Wilson DasNeves Bass Drums, Cuica, Tamborim
Marius de Vries Keyboards
Bill Dillon Bass, Electric Guitar
Andy Findon Flute
Jeff Haynes Percussion
Dave Kershaw Organ
k.d. lang Vocals
Mac McAnally Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards
Brad Mehldau Piano
Ben Mink Guitar, Violin, Viola, Mandola
David Piltch Bass
Paul Pritchard French Horn
Brandon Ross Guitar
Guy Sigsworth Celeste
Randall Stoll Drums
Pete Thomas Drums
Louis Jardim Bass, Percussion
Dinesh Tabla
Jane Scarpantoni Cello
Kenny Davis & The Melodyaires Acoustic Bass
Moreno Veloso Acoustic Guitar, Cello, Tambourine, Hand Clapping
Anthony Kerr Vibes
Hugh Seenan French Horn
Stephane San Juan Hand Clapping, Snare Drums, Shaker, Tamborim
Sufjan Stevens Piano, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Wurlitzer
Grégoire Maret Harmonica
Zero Drums, Tom-Tom, Hand Clapping, Repique, Snare Drums, Agogo, Shekere, Candombe Drum
Império Serrano Hand Clapping, Agogo, cowbell
James McAlister Bass, Guitar, Drums, Background Vocals
Matthew Cooper Keyboards
Craig Montoro Trumpet
Chris Caldwell Bass Clarinet
Domenico Lancelotti Hand Clapping, Snare Drums, Shaker, Tamborim
Rob Moose Violin
Pete Whyman Saxophone
James Taylor Jr. Guitar, Vocals
C.J. Camerieri Trumpet
Ben Lanz Trombone
Naho Tsutsui Violin
Katie Schlaikjer Cello
Technical Credits
Caetano Veloso Arranger
Elvis Costello Arranger, Producer, Audio Production
Prince Audio Production
James Taylor Audio Production
Cassandra Wilson Arranger, Producer, Audio Production
Björk Audio Production
Brian Ahern Producer, Audio Production
Donivan Cowart Engineer
Marius de Vries Programming
James Farber Engineer
Benedict Tobias Fenner Engineer
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
k.d. lang Producer, Audio Production
Steve Lipson Producer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Pierre Marchand Producer, Engineer, Audio Production
Brad Mehldau Producer, Audio Production
Ben Mink Producer, String Arrangements, Audio Production
Heff Moraes Engineer
Charles Paakkari Producer, Engineer, Audio Production
Marc Ramaer Engineer
Brandon Ross Arranger
Guy Sigsworth Programming, Producer, Audio Production
Femi Jiya Engineer
Matthew Cullen Engineer
Paul Starr Cover Photo
Moreno Veloso Arranger, Producer
Robbie Cavolina Art Direction, Cover Illustration
Damian Taylor Programming
Daniel Carvalho Engineer
Sufjan Stevens Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Audio Production
Zero Contributor
James McAlister Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Audio Production
Domenico Lancelotti Arranger
Robert Edridge Waks Editorial Coordinator
James Taylor Jr. Producer
Joe Lipinski Engineer
Stephen Lipson Audio Production
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Done With Class

    As it should be , A tribute to Joni Mitchell should be done with class. Sufjan Stevens is as original as Mitchell on "Free Man." The pure and unadorned "River" by James Taylor is raw Joni. Brad Melhldau captures the essence of the creativity of this underappreciated artist. The quality of performers and perfomances are not the same as the real thing, but it's the thought that counts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Joni Inspires

    Tributes are always recorded versions of peer produced interpretations. An artist of Mitchell's stature surely deserved such an honor, given that she has inspired imitators for over a quarter century. Yet nobody can replicate the real thing. Mitchell is peerless in her ability to distill an experience, a feeling, a thought process into poetry set to intriguing music. This tribute contains some worthy renditions, others, well, not so much. It seems that people either love Prince's " A Case of You" or hate it. I happen to love it. It is a faithful reading on a timeless classic, but Prince takes it and makes it his own by wrapping it in a soulful, swing style. Emmylou Harris pays proper homage with her version of " The Magdelene Laundries", excellent choice for such a melancholy, gorgeous song. Sarah McLachlen delivers a fair interpretation of "Blue", save the ill-suited synthesizer that replaces the more poetic piano. Now for the offenders. Annie Lennox, a brilliant artist, completely robs " Ladies of the Canyon". This song's charm is the warm, pastoral quality that plants one square in the middle of Laurel Canyon. Lennox takes you out on an iceberg, supplying WAY too much synth, a device that shouldn't be used at all on music this delicate. Elvis Costello disappoints as well, conjuring some overwrought slant on " Edith and the Kingpin". The song would have been better served with a soft, understated musical backing to maintain the mystery as opposed to this overblown take. James Taylor caps the CD with " River", performing it in a way that one would expect from JT. He adopts it and changes the dressing, but that is where the question comes. Is an effort like this homage or defamation? Interesting for its concept, " Tribute" is not of Joni, but does offer a few songs that are steeped in Joni.

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