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For the Roses

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sandwiched between the solitary, heart-on-her-sleeve confessions of Blue and the ravishing pop of Court and Spark, 1972's For the Roses captures Joni Mitchell in a deceptively subdued period of transition. Still hewing to a spare sound, Mitchell ventures beyond the elegant folk sources of earlier records to explore her love of blues and jazz-based harmony, writing as much on piano as guitar; thematically, the earnest reveries and heartbroken dirges of before give way to a more detached, even journalistic perspective and darker, grittier settings, most strikingly on "Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire." "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio" was the set's nominal hit, yet in hindsight the keepers here are found in evolutionary pieces like the jazz-tinged "Barangrill," the rock-infused "Blonde in the Bleachers," and in more sober meditations like "Woman of Heart and Mind"--testaments to her restless growth and signposts to the more mature music ahead. --Sam Sutherland

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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Banquet 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire 4:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Barangrill 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Lesson In Survival 3:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Let The Wind Carry Me 3:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. For The Roses 3:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. See You Sometime 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Electricity 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. You Turn Me On I'm A Radio 2:39$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Blonde In The Bleachers 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Woman Of Heart And Mind 2:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Judgement Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig's Tune) 5:19$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002GYQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,922 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By John Jones on September 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Without question, the two most critically celebrated and commercially successful albums of Joni Mitchell's career are the folky, acoustic "Blue" and the jazzy, radio-friendly "Court and Spark." However, sandwiched between the two is a stunning record worthy of just as much attention: 1974's "For the Roses" is an exceptionally well-written collection that serves as the perfect bridge between "Blue" and "Spark."
Fans of her earlier folk-flavored work will find plenty of chestnuts to treasure: "Woman of Heart and Mind" and "You Turn Me On I'm a Radio" are among her most well-written compositions; the former manages to slip in a scathing lyric ("drive your bargains/push your papers/win your medals/f*** your strangers/don't it leave you on the empty side?") amidst a deceivingly mellow musical vibe, while the latter -the album's sole hit- features the classic Mitchell line "I know you don't like weak women/you get bored so quick/and you don't like strong women/'cause they're hip to your tricks"). Along with the clever analogies on the socially-conscious "Banquet" and the touching introspections on the fame-conscious title track, Joni's lyrical sensibilities are rarely sharper than on this album.
But occasionally using woodwinds to flesh out her sound puts a whole new spin on things, taking "Barangrill" to a jazzy level above the quaint narrative it would have been on guitar alone. "Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire" has a jazzy edge surrounding its folk center, and "Judgment of the Moon and Stars," an ode to Beethoven, is a complex piece that's difficult at first; repeated listens let the song's quirks work their way in to a place of unique charm.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By C. Edge on November 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Though I initially overlooked this recording for the more accessible songs on Joni's great Clouds ... over time it has grown on me to the point where, if I could only have ten CDs in my collection, For the Roses would bump out more obvious choices. It might even make the Essential Five.

This is Joni Mitchell in full bloom, a collection of mature songs that are a solid blend of her best qualities as a songwriter: unapologetic emotion and intellectual irony. A progenitor of the tightly orchestrated Court & Spark (also on my top ten list), the arrangements here are sparser, with many featuring the distinctive watery piano work and mid-range vocals that are characteristic of this prime period of Mitchell's work. For the Roses is not the overly-intellectual jazz Joni of later years; nor is it the cute, pop-ified Joni of Big Yellow Taxi. This album is a sister to the great Blue, with a fresh, lightning-in-a-bottle quality that touches and revives. Many of the tracks have a very intimate, almost improvisational feel to them ... as if the listener is a companion to the ramblings of a natural-born (and slightly dotty) poet. But then the stream-of-consciousness road turns ... and you realize this rambler is a guide who knows exactly where she's taking you ... and how to get you home again.

Woman of Heart and Mind is a gorgeous and deceptively simple track that continues to grow on me over the years. Both naive and ironic, it is can be listened to as a character study or a painful confessional. Many of the tracks are like this: many-roomed, hospitable, intriguing songs, songs that get inside you as you get inside them.

For the Roses is a true Mitchell Masterwork.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on August 20, 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 later in the song cycle, including her smash hit "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio", "Blond In The Bleachers", "Woman Of Heart And Mind", and "Judgment Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig's Tune)", but the entire album is 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 successor to the immensely popular "Blue" and came just the incredibly jazzy and experimental style of "Court and Spark". Each of these albums is both unique and quite different from the others, and as a body of work illustrates he r 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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