Monday, November 10, 2014

In Her Own Words

Joni Mitchell
In Her Own Words

Conversations With
Malka Marom

ECW Press, 2014

Another bio of Joni, this one based on taped interviews from 1973, 1979, and 2012.

The author is a musician and a professional interviewer who was also an early fan of Ms. Mitchell from the time they were both playing in Toronto in the mid 60s. She has remained friends with Joni over the years and the relaxed nature of these edited conversations show it. In addition to these conversations the short excerpts from other musicians (which Malka includes) are helpful in explaining Joni’s unique collaborations, especially in the 70s ‘jazz’ albums. The three interviews overlap in subject matter: her childhood, in particular, is dealt with in detail, as is her relationship with Leonard Cohen. Her life in California, which has been extensively covered elsewhere, is given less coverage compared to other aspects of her career. In filmed interviews Joni can appear testy but the printed page serves her words better, her wide-ranging intellect is on display here without the distraction of visuals, the interviews are edited extremely well.

The book is also filled with extended excerpts from her lyrics: fine for the well-known songs but they can become somewhat esoteric on her more obscure titles, although always pertinent.  There are just enough photos and glimpses of Joni’s artwork to compliment the text; the entire book is beautifully designed. If you were to read only only one bio of Joni, this would be the best choice.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Jono said...

Might have to read this as a fan from the beginning.

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