The album is coming together...coming in to the final steps of preparation. I've finalized the song sequence and sent it off to be mastered by Hans DeKline.  It's really sounding great from what I've heard thus far.

Next week, I'll be doing some photo sessions with Jersey City's J A Caldwell... I'm excited to be able to get a portrait done by artist Kayt Hester (who did the cover art as well)...and then it's time to finalize the album artwork and layout.

Soon, I'll send it to be manufactured, and we're off.

One step...

...after the other...

...the end is in sight...

...or is it the beginning?

30 Joni Mitchell - Blue

030: Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)

This is my favorite album of all time.  Period.

Hers, here, is a sensibility I aspire to.  She's baring her soul in very personal ways, and yet the songs are timeless and universal.  Granted, she felt overexposed after this album was released and moved further and further from the "confessional" songwriting style, and into more free-jazz experimentation.

But, for my money, this is it.

My first listen came after college.  I had heard how amazing Joni was from friends, but had never really discovered her for myself.  Also, I was really in to Sarah McLachlan at the time--something that has fallen out of fashion in recent years.  She had done a cover of Blue on her excellent Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff.

So, I picked up Blue as my entry-point for Joni's work.  I remember thinking how unique her melodies were--how unlike anyone I had ever heard before.  To some extent, it took a little adjustment to enjoy--a loosening, perhaps.

Once that adjustment was made, that was it.  Over the next few years, I devoured her albums from 1970 to 1976 (coincidentally the year of my birth).

  • Ladies Of The Canyon (1970)
  • Blue (1971)
  • For The Roses (1972)
  • Court And Spark (1974)
  • The Hissing Of Summer Lawns (1975)
  • Hejira (1976)

For The Roses is one that I haven't ever really responded to in the same way.  The other five albums from this period are genius.

This past Christmas, I read, and loved, the Court and Spark book from the 33 1/3 series.  It is so well written.  It made me go back to that album and appreciate it in an entirely new way.

But, Blue.


That's the stuff.

I must have listened to this album a hundred times by now.  People talk about albums that reveal something new to you upon every listen.  This is that kind of album for me.  It's not a happy album.  It's a reaction to her break-up with James Taylor.  There's a lot of darkness here.

The only song I'll call out, because they're each exemplars, is the last song--The Last Time I Saw Richard.  I'm sure it says a lot about me, but this is maybe my favorite song of all time.  From the mysterious piano figures in the beginning, to the floating melody, the haunting lyrics--I just can't hear this song enough.


29 Led Zeppelin I

029: Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)

We go from Blue to the Blues.

Ahh, the Zepp.

This is our last meeting for the year.  We've had some good times--some bad times.  But I think it's time we see other people.

It's not you.  You're cool.  Obviously.  Sincerely.

We're just different people.

There are great songs here.  No doubt.  Dazed and Confused.  That guitar tone, or scream, at 5:11--amazing.  Chilling.  I'm not sure if it's a doubling of Robert Plants wails with a guitar, or if they were able to get that tone out of a guitar alone...but, either way, nice work.

Your Time Is Gonna Come is so unexpected.  When that chorus in with its alternate sonic palette--greatness.  Check it out at 2:16.



Joni's Blue is definitely on my desert island list, and probably at the top.  It should be much higher on this list...but that's not my decision to make.

Led Zeppelin I is a bold, ballsy, and sexy record.  It's just not the kind of sexy that I'm drawn to.  It's all brash and darkness and testosterone.  Too rich for my blood.

Up Next

028: The Who – Who’s Next (1971) 027: U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987)

Want to listen ahead, or see some posts you may have missed? Check out the full list of the 100 Greatest Albums here.