Both Sides Now

Both Sides Now

4.1 9
by Joni Mitchell

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While she's built her reputation as a songwriter of the first degree, Joni Mitchell is a truly multidimensional talent. On this ornate limited-edition collection, Mitchell shows off her breadth and sophistication as a song stylist, and -- thanks to four lithographs of her acclaimed artwork packaged here -- her talents as a painter. While…  See more details below


While she's built her reputation as a songwriter of the first degree, Joni Mitchell is a truly multidimensional talent. On this ornate limited-edition collection, Mitchell shows off her breadth and sophistication as a song stylist, and -- thanks to four lithographs of her acclaimed artwork packaged here -- her talents as a painter. While the glimpse at her art may open a few eyes, the music will truly dazzle, especially for fans of her jazzier explorations. Mitchell interprets 12 romantic favorites spanning several decades, from the rich tapestry of jazz to the smart and sassy tang of Tin Pan Alley. Set against a lush backdrop provided by members of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's distinctively expressive voice and elegant piano style invigorate such oft-recorded chestnuts as "Stormy Weather" and "You're My Thrill." Likewise, her remade, remodeled renditions of the title track and "At Last" (made famous by Etta James) ring positively true, burnished as they are by years of experience. This gorgeous strictly limited edition seems clearly targeted at Joni's legion of devotees, but the music aims at the ears of sophisticated pop fans everywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Ex-husband Larry Klein, who serves as co-producer and musical director, explains in his liner notes that Joni Mitchell intended to tell the story of a "modern" romantic relationship in the songs, most of which come from the '30s and '40s. If so, her concept of a modern relationship is very troubled -- most of the selections are unhappy love songs. Vince Mendoza's arrangements -- a third of them played by a gigantic 71-piece orchestra, a third by a regular-size orchestra, and a third by a swing-style big band -- often suggest the oceanic sweep and serious, melancholy tone of film noir movie music. They also do a lot of Mitchell's work for her. As a singer, she has never had much projection or power, but she is a master of phrasing and tone. Mitchell often sounds like an alternate Billie Holiday, with the breathiness and note decay characteristic of later Holiday, if none of her delayed timing. Both Sides Now is not revelatory in a musical sense, but it does achieve its intention of reconceiving Joni Mitchell as an interpretive singer.

Product Details

Release Date:
Warner Bros / Wea

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joni Mitchell   Primary Artist
Mark Isham   Trumpet
Peter Erskine   Drums
Herbie Hancock   Piano
Vince Mendoza   Conductor
Wayne Shorter   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Derek Watkins   Trumpet
Tony Lewis   Celli
Stan Sulzmann   Clarinet,Flute
John Barclay   Trumpet
Pete Beachill   Trombone
Chuck Berghofer   Bass
Mike Brittain   Bass
Ben Cruft   Violin
Richard Edwards   Trombone
Andy Findon   Flute
Roger Garland   Violin
Wilfred Gibson   Violin
Skaila Kanga   Harp
Paul Kegg   Celli
Chris Laurence   Bass
Helen Liebmann   Celli
Martin Loveday   Celli
Rita Manning   Violin
Jim McLeod   Violin
Peter Oxer   Violin
Anthony Pleeth   Celli
Gerard Presencer   Trumpet
Maciej Rakowski   Violin
Godfrey Salmon   Violin
J. Neil Sidwell   Trombone
Steve Sidwell   Trumpet
Jonathan Strange   Violin
Jamie Talbot   Clarinet,Flute,Alto Flute
Cathy Thompson   Violin
Philip Todd   Clarinet,Flute
Chris Tombling   Violin
Kate Wilkinson   Viola
Dave Woodcock   Violin
Philip Eastop   Horn
Dave Arch   Piano
Bill Benham   Viola
Mary Scully   Bass
Vaughan Armon   Violin
Peter Lale   Viola
Jackie Shave   Violin
Bruce White   Viola
Andrew Crowley   Trumpet
Peter Davies   Trombone
Perry Montague-Mason   Violin
Paul Gardham   Horn
Helen Keen   Flute
Julian Leaper   Violin
Donald McVay   Viola
John Pigneguy   Horn
Anthony Pike   Bass,Clarinet
Richard Skinner   Bassoon
Richard Watkins   Horn
Richard Henry   Bass Trombone
Everton Nelson   Violin
Rebecca Hirsch   Violin
Nigel Black   Horn
Rachel Bolt   Viola
Iain Dixon   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet
Hugh Seenan   Horn
Warren Zielinski   Violin
Nick Bucknall   Clarinet
Antonia Fuchs   Violin
Simon Fischer   Violin
Ivo Jan Vanderwerff   Viola
Dave Stewart   Bass Trombone
John Anderson   Oboe
Mike Thompson   Horn
John Anderson   Oboe
Julie Andrews   Bassoon
Catherine Bradshaw   Viola
David Daniels [cello]   Cello

Technical Credits

Joni Mitchell   Producer,Art Direction,Paintings
Gordon Jenkins   Arranger
Vince Mendoza   Arranger
Larry Klein   Producer,Liner Notes,Musical Director
Allen Sides   Engineer
Geoff Foster   Engineer
Robbie Cavolina   Art Direction

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Both Sides Now 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having been a fan of Joni Mitchell's since the beginning, I have always loved her poetic lyric writing and haunting melodies. She has created more musical masterpieces in my lifetime than anyone, excepting perhaps Mr. Dylan. But then he's been around almost a decade longer. This CD is absolute perfection, from first note to last. The song choices---tracing a romance from first infatuation to dying embers---are studiously chosen and impeccably performed. Unlike Linda Ronstadt and Natalie Cole, who couldn't shake the original singers of these songs (and songs from the same period), Joni makes each composition on this CD her own. Her phrasing is astonishing. The nuances she pulls out of these lyrics, it takes the breath away. And I'll tell you---right now, up there in heaven, the jukebox is playing this CD and Ella and Billie and Sarah are tapping their toes and clicking their fingers, saying,
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although a bit slower than some other pieces she has done, Both Sides Now shows Joni Mitchell still has the 'touch' for music. Hope she keeps them coming.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joni Mitchell's hackneyed mushy karaoke standard 'Both Sides Now', originally on 'Clouds', need no longer remain shelved with the out-dated. Joni herself has revamped this classic alonside one other of her own compositions 'A Case of You' and ten songs by other composers, with a new approach that seems paradoxically, as if it has always been with us. So much for Joni pontificating 'a painter does a painting and he does a painting'! Maybe someone did say to Van Gogh, 'Paint a Starry Night again man!' Joni has seen fit, amidst our EmptyV culture, to remind us of more tasteful, tuneful and timeless music. This 'fashion' has been evident for some time with releases in recent years by other artists; kd lang (Drag), Annie Lennox (Medusa), Sinead O'Connor (am I not your girl?), Rickie Lee Jones (Pop Pop) and most recently George Michael whose 'Last Century' offering most resembles 'Both Sides Now'. The concept behind BSN is an adventurous attempt to express the nature of modern romance from courting and sparking, drinking a case of you, to really not knowing love at all. In coming full circle to re-record her old masterpieces in such a grand orchestral manner, Joni Mitchell has, as always, been innovative, creative and is still a peerless joy to listen to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have always preceeded my comments about joni mitchell's music with the same disclaimer.......her writing is above reproach, her talent is unquestionable, her influence wide, but her voice always bugged me. still, i felt protective of her and a little possesive. she is a part time local in my area and she's too cool to ignore, so i have always supported the idea of her anyway...but that voice? it isn't a voice i searched out in my music listening mind. i always thought i'd prefer to read her writings, to talk to her, to savor her as a musical poet. i wanted to bump into her on the gulf islands and just talk to her. who was i kidding? i couldn't have tied on my 'brand new pair of roller skates' without her singing me right through the experience. i've looked at her voice 'from both sides now' and admit everything i thought i ever knew i don't, so it is only fitting that i retract my disclaimer and promise never to utter it again. it is unfathomable to me that i will also thank cigarettes for the effect they have on vocal chords over a long period of time (that and the natural aging and maturing of a voice) but it is the voice in the end that has won. so seductive and subtle in its transformation i gleefully ran to get the both sides now cd when i heard it featured on the cbc. i can indulge myself at last in a voice that is summoned willingly by my music listening mind. no longer airy and shrill to my ears it has become a voice, that, because of the voice itself, i want to listen (as i always have on some level) to what the great joni mitchell has to say. revised, reworked, reinvented material....who cares? just listen to her voice and thank her for advancing the legacy of old classics to this century where we may do well to remember the value of a great voice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First, I love Joni, but this has truly gone to far, please Joni, don't tarnish my last remaining memory of you.... Sometimes we must quit while we are still ahead.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joni is a joy and a blessing - this album of sophisticated and classic songs are beautifully interpreted by Joni. Thanks Joni. (Note - as displayed by a previous reviewer - this collection of songs is not for the immature audience, or the taste challenged). Enjoy...
Guest More than 1 year ago
A provocative and unnerving piece of music heaven, this is truly a gorgeous collection of standards that are interpreted by a master of her domain. Don't go to strangers, an Etta Jones piece, truly is the most haunting and arresting piece of music on this multilayered disc. Heartache, sadness, longing, unrequited love. You name it. Track 7. I love this CD. I treasure it very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On the first night of the opening ceremonies for the Two Thousand and ten Olympics, I turned on the television in my bedroom to watch but having had a real busy day, I fell asleep very early. It was'nt anytime at all that I was awakened when Joni Mitchell was singing Both Sides Now. I had just fallen asleep which is most unusual to awaken so early because the volume of sound was very soft. I was absolutely mesmerized when I heard Joni Mitchell singing. So the rest of my story is HISTORY because I said the first chance I get, I am going to Barnes & Noble and look for the album. This recording by Joni Mitchell is the most beautiful I have ever heard not to mention the paintings by Joni Mitchell. I would highly recommend this to everyone. Thank you, Agnes L. Barnett Charlotte, North Carolina
Anonymous More than 1 year ago