Monday, October 26, 2009

Joni Mitchell's Blue, Rush's Feedback

Originally posted on December 5, 2007

“It’s coming on Christmas, They’re chopping down trees, something something something, And singin’ songs about love and peace.” OK, so I forget all the words. But I refer to a Joni Mitchell song. Classic Joni that Blue album. I had it on eight track and was playing it in my 1965 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon on my way to work at Bamberger’s around this time of year in 1972. I got into my first accident, thanks to the snow. I’ll never forget the sound of the damaged, leaking radiator hissing as the eight-track player continued, “Oh I wish I had a river, to skate away on.” She echoed my despair, as she often did. But if you haven’t checked out her earlier albums or have forgotten, go back and listen to the way she played acoustic. Tuned differently, capos, very much her own way to go about it. “All I Wan’t,” for example sounds like a crazy adaptation of delta blues techniques to Joni’s original sound.

But I am not listening to that right now. Do you know Rush? They’ve been around for eons and certainly have a big place in the history of the power trio. A while ago they did an EP of cover songs, their only foray into this area. They picked eight of their favorite ‘60s rock classics, songs that had influenced their style, and recorded them as a kind of looking back to their roots and reflecting on time passed. The CD is called Feedback and it’s on Atlantic. What good tunes: “Summertime Blues,” a la Blue Cheer, The Yardbirds’ “Heart Full of Soul,” Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” and one of my absolute favorites of my youth, “Seven and Seven Is” by Arthur Lee and Love. Gee whiz, what can I say? It is fun to hear these done again by a bunch of old duffers who still sound cool. That’s a real tribute to the staying power of Rush.

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