Court and Spark is Joni Mitchell's most overt attempt at making a hit record, full of glossy production, catchy choruses, and even guest stars from every stratum of rock culture, high (Robbie Robertson) and low (Cheech and Chong). The record was a smash, reaching number two on the charts in March of 1974; spawning three hit singles ("Help Me", "Free Man in Paris", and "Raised on Robbery"); and cementing Mitchell's position as a commercial as well as an artistic force.
Sean Nelson, a well known musician himself (Harvey Danger, the Long Winters), is particularly well equipped to understand all the elements that went into the making of this classic album, and he does so with clarity and wit.
Written as if it were an in-depth set of liner notes for Joni Mitchell's "Court and Spark," Sean Nelson creates a comprehensive, intimate illustration not only of this album but of its place in Mitchell's cannon of work. His obvious passion and respect for her music is conveyed through his eloquent writing. If it is music criticism, it is a loving criticism, or perhaps we should call it a tribute to Mitchell's musical genius. Listeners will be entranced by the way Nelson calls attention to details of the music's lyrics and composition, instilling in listeners a more nuanced way of hearing Joni Mitchell sing. Narrator Jonathan Davis brings a warm friendliness to this wonderful edition of the 33 1/3 series.
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