Visiting a friend in Boston in the fall of 1968 I caught a live show with James Taylor opening for Joni Mitchell in a basement dive with benches for seats. It was an incredible show for the price of the $3.00 ticket. Taylor’s debut album on Apple hadn’t even been released yet, but both Taylor and Mitchell had developed followings based on the songs they had contributed to Tom Rush’s “Circle Game” album earlier that year.
Mitchell was the star of the show I saw. She had only recently shown up on the scene, having arrived with two dozen finely crafted songs that instantly put her on the map and a restless spirit that has kept her an artist of continuing interest. Among her first batch of songs was “Both Sides Now,” which Judy Collins had already turned into a massive hit by the time I saw Mitchell in 1968. One of the highlights of her career must be her appearance at the Band’s “Last Waltz” Thanksgiving concert in 1976. In the video above, Mitchell performs “Coyote” and gives a jazzy, bitter taste of a musician’s life on the road.
Did I mention that today is her birthhday? As she anticipated in “The Circle Game,” we are now old enough to drag our feet and try to slow those circles down.
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