Note : If haven’t checked out our previous story on Jasper National Park, Click Here. Kamloops Situated at the junction of the North and South Thompson Rivers in the Thompson Valley, Kamloops is the second largest city in the British Columbia Interior with a growing population of 90,000 people. We did not spend much time […]The Canadian Rockies -Kamloops, Whistler — Bombay Ficus
It doesn’t get much more classic than this song by The Band. I’ve covered the “Playing for a Change” version with Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr, and many musicians across the world. It’s been covered by many artists but The Bands version will always be the goto version for me. Robbie Robertson said he wrote this […]
from Oannes Songs Of Childhood Nostalgia #2 Η σύνθεση της Joni Mitchell ηχογραφήθηκε πρώτα από την Buffy Sainte-Marie για το άλμπουμ της Fire & Fleet…Joni Mitchell / Buffy Sainte-Marie : The Circle Game
There is a mystery surrounding painter Tom Thompson’s death. Last time, I shared with you a letter written by his friend to Thompson’s benefactor. Tom left here on sunday about one o’clock for a fishing trip down the lake and at three oclock his Canoe was found floating a short distance from my place with […]
from Oannes Songs Of Childhood Nostalgia #1 Θα ακούσουμε μερικά τραγούδια νοσταλγίας για την παιδική ηλικία, γραμμένα από γνωστούς, ή όχι τόσο, καλλιτέχνες.Ξεκινάμε με ένα από τα πιο αγαπημένα μου τραγούδια του Neil Young. ✻ We will hear some songs of childhood nostalgia, written by well-known artists, or not very much so.We start with one […]
Any album which followed Joni Mitchell’s groundbreaking 1971 album ‘Blue’, still considered to be her best by many, would have difficulty in competing with such brilliant, heartfelt songs and musicianship.
Predictably, Mitchell’s 1972 release of ‘For The Roses’ (Asylum), did indeed seem to underwhelm by comparison. Even the title of the album does not exactly inspire one as much as the emphatic ‘Blue’, unless you happened to be a gardener or a seeker of some bucolic escape. Nevertheless, I have to say I find this album something of a sleeper.
I, like many, first became aware of Joni Mitchell with songs like ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, songs which made you stop, listen and take notice. Then along came ‘Blue’ and the plaudits, rightly, went bananas. Then, at least to me at the time, a youngster barely in his teens, there seemed to be a bit of a lull. Suddenly it was 1974 and the wondrous ‘Court and Spark’ was released, another groundbreaking collections of songs. Somewhere in the middle of all that came ‘For The Roses’. It has only been over the last fifteen years or so that I have come to appreciate how good this album is.
And it turns out the album’s name and character did indeed indicate the singer songwriter’s partial retreat from the hurly burly of superstar life. So here are songs perhaps less intense than ‘Blue’, but reflective of a different inner life, the beginning of her more observational, anecdotal story telling songs which have become so much a trademark of her later career.
The opening track ‘Banquet’ sets the tone firmly, yet gently, indicating her retreat from all the pandemonium, stepping down towards the shoreline and taking a wider philosophical look at life and all its absurdities. Here too I can sense the true beginning of her more jazz-folk inspired trajectory, followed up in the next acoustic guitar driven track, ‘Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire’.
If the first two tracks evoke a certain subjective melancholy, track three, the more upbeat ‘Barangril’, really brings out Mitchell’s great gift of taking an everyday snippet of daily life and turning it into a timeless masterpiece of modern Americana.
‘Lesson in Survival’ returns to the reflective melancholy, but beautifully so. Few songwriters, one would imagine, have ever been so well read. The wish for escape is overpowering. ‘Let the Wind Carry Me’ continues with the theme, but gives us more than a glimpse of parental influences, how they seem to us as we age when we realise Mum and Dad were not perfect either. I love the little jazzy flourishes with the voices and wind instruments in this song, something she would continue to perfect in later albums. In this song they evoke the whistles of steamers.
Wild Canadian Expanse
It has been said before (probably by me previously too) that Russian composers like Rachmaninov can’t help but sound like the vastness of the Russian Steppes. I think the same goes for more contemporary Canadian composers too, particularly Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. In ‘Let the Wind Carry Me’ I can hear the vast open plains of central Canada where she was brought up and also the equally wide Pacific Ocean off California.
‘For the Roses’, the title track, is an understated guitar song of exquisite guitar work and minimal arrangement, critiquing the lifestyle she has become accustomed to and which she is now eschewing. ‘See You Sometime’ is more straightforward, reflecting on former loves, their lifestyles, in a major key, leaving open the possibility of staying friends.
‘Electricity’ is a beautiful guitar track, spanning this transition period. ‘You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio’ might also have appeared on an earlier album, but served the purpose of being a catchy hit single from this album.
‘Blonde in the Bleachers’ definitely looks forward, another anecdotal snippet finding meaning: It transforms beautifully in the middle to a more soft rock number with sophistication. ‘Woman of Heart of Mind’ really does sound to me like it was composed a year or so prior to the album’s release – it is, nevertheless, beautiful and understated.
The final track, ‘Judgement of the Moon and Stars (Ludwig’s tune)’, is probably the most sophisticated piano based track on the album, Joni leaving us typically with a philosophical view based on much reflection. The arrangement of wind and strings is also tasteful.
Overall, this is still one of my ‘go to’ albums. It helps me relax and reflect, probably the desire of the composer at this particular juncture in her life. It is generally understated and certainly not her best offering – yet it is still a great album in my view.
copyright Francis Barker 2020
An interview done ‘across the pond’ from a while ago.
Ok, it may not be in the best condition and the photos, apart from the cover, are in black and white, but I love this little book.
I’ve had it since childhood and I still love to read the information and study the pictures. I’m not a railway buff, but I think I could have been if I had allowed myself to get drawn into that world.
As a boy, I used to dream of visiting these places, experiencing the different European and other cultures, which all had their own distinction.
I fear much of that uniqueness is disappearing, along with the trains. Of all the countries, Switzerland does appear to be retaining its sense of place, aided no doubt by its particular geographic location.
copyright Francis Barker 2020
Crazy spring weather
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
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The tube’s down at Queen.
Stewards, buses laid on quick:
It’s called organised
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
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When stepping off the ship, heat
something heavy and palpable, his duty drawn
out into an exile
stuffing the bank accounts
of far-off millionaires, stuffing
him and the natives from Melbourne
Such a relief to be on the train,
officers hankering in rigid
silence for the cool heights of Shimla,
Home Counties in miniature once bleeding
the big world dry, where spinsters
of Little England began to
watch their gingham fade
He favoured his mother’s
side, whose pale skin and eyes were
more fondly remembered
than appreciated, now more than
a world away,
spattered freckles on his face
where the sweat ran
free in that searing carriage;
sights of displaced women
wrapping up in their shawls, children
standing and sitting, staring
and sleeping, heading on to homes they’d
never seen (or ever see), leaving him
to watch the scorched earth slide
by like some weary sentence,
his mind hanging on
to the boney cattle half
hidden in mud, in the channels
of sometime rivers
gaping for monsoon
poem © copyright df barker 2012