Saturday, November 11, 2006

Court and Spark (1974)

"Help Me" Joni, as her friends call her, rockets out of folk and briefly goes pop before veering jazz and, ultimately, to points within and beyond. But here is where it gets as good as it ever would, as far as I'm concerned (though Hejira, in yet another vein, is not far behind). This too is pure pop music for now people. For me, like William Carlos Williams and his red wheel barrow, so much has depended upon "Dance with the lady with a hole in her stocking." That moment and the song it comes from, "Help Me," along with "Free Man in Paris," are the tippity-top of the uttermost top for me. But then everything else here (save, perhaps, "Car on a Hill") is nearly as stellar. "People's Parties," "Trouble Child," "Down to You": all plumb the depths of a world with no SSRI antidepressants to shore up the levees. Drugs get you through times of no money and all that. Sometimes it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion, and sometimes like being at a rotting mellow LA party, but all wacked and perfectly goofy and loose and confident in oneself. And always, always bursting with terrific vibes.

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