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Court and Spark

248 customer reviews

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Court And Spark
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Description

Most everybody's favorite Joni Mitchell album, highlighted by Help Me; Same Situation; Raised on Robbery ; and Free Man in Paris .

Painter-turned-folksinger Joni Mitchell had slipped stark saxophone solos into her prior album, For the Roses, and her singing had often hinted at a capacity for bluesier fare than her guitar- and piano-framed confessional ballads offered. None of those hints prepared fans for this sudden, expansive shift toward a much larger canvas--a sleeker, orchestrated pop style pulsing with jazz elements. Court & Spark found Mitchell casting aside her earth mother affectations and revealing herself as the thoroughly modern, thoroughly complicated woman she is; the songs sustained familiar preoccupations with relationships but replaced courtly settings and naturalistic imagery with recognizably modern locales. Deeply romantic, constantly questioning, classic tracks like the title song, "Help Me," "Free Man in Paris," "Same Situation," and "Raised on Robbery" display a more liberated Mitchell, ready to rumble with unbridled electric guitars (guest Robbie Robertson on "...Robbery"), even willing to poke fun at her own oh-so-sensitive rep with a hip cover of Annie Ross's hilarious "Twisted." --Sam Sutherland

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Court And Spark 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Help Me 3:24$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Free Man In Paris 3:03$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. People's Parties 2:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. The Same Situation 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Car On A Hill 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Down To You 5:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Just Like This Train 4:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Raised On Robbery 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Trouble Child 4:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Twisted 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Original Release Date: 1974
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra/Asylum
  • ASIN: B000002GXL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,934 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The verdict of history is the "Court & Spark" is the album where the "real" Joni Mitchell let loose. On previous albums like "Clouds" and "Blue" she had played piano and guitar, certainly appropriate for her folk roots. But for this album Mitchell brought in Tom Scott's jazz-rock band the L.A. Express. "Raised on Robbery" was the first single released from the album and certainly introduces the "new" Joni Mitchell to the world. How many other songs do you know with hockey references? But notice how the title song opens the album with just the sound of a piano, making the listener think this is still the "old" Mitchell. Of course, "Help Me" and "Free Man in Paris" are the best-known tracks (I consider the latter the quintessential Joni Mitchell song), representing the fact that Mitchell's romantic side tended to be more popular than her quirky fun side (although who can forget "Twisted" once they hear it?).
The final pair of lines of the chorus from "Help Me"--"We love our lovin'/But not like we love our freedom"--may well be the most insightful into Mitchell's work. Maybe it is because I have been looking over sonnet forms lately, but it suddenly strikes me that Mitchell is one of the premier writers of couplets in American music. Think about it: "We are stardust we are golden/And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden"; "They paved paradise/Put up a parking lot"; "Stoking the star maker machinery/Behind the popular song"; "I wish I was a river/I could sail away on."
Mitchell is a singer/songwriter's singer/songwriter.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By David S. Minjares on September 9, 1999
Format: Audio CD
"Court And Spark" is most definitely Joni Mitchell's transitional album, from wistful and haunting songstress/writer to edgy, bittersweet visionary. At first listen, it's so musically melodic and catchy you can pass it off as great dinner music. But once the reality sets in at the appropriate time, this album rubs your face in the sand. There is cynicism here. "Trouble Child" is one of the most haunting and bitter songs I have ever heard. The title track is almost a last flirtation with her "Blue" period. "Help Me" is beautiful pop about blissful confusion. "Free Man In Paris" is great tale about a mogul's exaustion and cravings of personal freedom (Geffen, perhaps?). "People's Parties", "The Same Situation", "Down To You" & "Car On A Hill" are all self-explanatory. "Raised On Robbery" and her cover of Wardell Gray's (via Annie Ross) "Twisted" pre-date punk rock with plenty of attitude and "don't **** with me" vibes. I first had this album when I was nine, then got back into it during my early 80's punk era. Now I've rediscovered it with new eyes. She's up there with people like Black Sabbath and Iggy Pop...people that you wish you could hear more of on the radio (besides the hits), but these days are sadly underplayed. Make a difference and buy this timeless scripture. Then buy "Hissing of Summer Lawns" and "Hejira" and you'll round up a trio of highly appreciated and misunderstood 70's Joni Mitchell masterpieces. There's more to the story behind the lilt!!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
If there is one Joni Mitchell album to own this is likely it. Her singing, writing, and playing are all terrific. This music marked a break with her past work and with the pop trends of the time, and alluded to her future work. Even today it remains a timeless album. People sometimes lament that Joni has never written another "C and S". Well, that come from then, no other time. Her other work has been different, and remarkable, it is just not the unique product of those incredible times, and one moment of an artist's journey as is "Court and Spark".
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on September 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
For over thirty years Joni Mitchell has been a source of consistent amazement among her legions of fans. In a hundred years, when someone wants the perfect example of a stellar and singularly talented singer/songwriter and a peripatetic innovator of 20th century music, they will dust off any of a dozen of Joni Mitchell's albums and give it a spin. This album is an example of her ability to subtly change styles and approaches, fusing jazz and blues to her popular venue, resulting in a captivating and quite arresting collection of my personal favorites. My personal favorites here are early in the song cycle, including her smash hit "Free Man In Paris", "Help Me", and of course, Court And Spark" itself. Moreover, the rest of the songs are excellent, as usual for Ms. Mitchell. From beginning to end this song cycle is an ardent but soft-spoken exploration of her internal landscape, a tour of her thoughts and feelings about the state of contemporary relationships.
Taken in total, the song cycle represents a sort of informal inventory of all her feelings and emotions about herself, her close friends, and the world at large. Never one to stand still, this album was the worthy successor to both the immensely popular "Blue" and the even more intimate and eclectic "For The Roses". Each of these three albums is both unique and quite different from the others, and as a body of work illustrates her fantastic creativity and ability to change style s and venues like so many suits of stylish clothing. Her in particular Mitchell's gorgeous and intricate lyrics, melodies and acoustic guitar arrangements meld into the strings, horns, and piano work to create an indescribably beautiful work.
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