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Mercer (Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter) covers the "iconic folk maiden" Joni Mitchell during her "Blue" period (roughly 1971 to '76) in what is part music criticism. The book covers the origin and meaning of Blue's songs in Mitchell's own words, her childhood and how her relationships with Graham Nash, Leonard Cohen and James Taylor shaped her music. As her first husband, Chuck Mitchell, said, "There are a couple Joans... the literal girl, the prairie tomboy... the historical person, the narrative writer, and the queen"-and this book reveals a bit of each of them. Written from a fan's perspective, this book is partly Mercer's own diary, the way Blue was partly Mitchell's diary. This is Mercer's love song to Mitchell, which aims it sometimes to an audience already well-versed in Mitchell history and lore. Whether new or old fans of Joni Mitchell, readers can appreciate the extensive research, and much of the book is in Mitchell's own words, including an entire chapter on her favorite things. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.