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126 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality box well done
For those interested in sound quality, these discs sound great and are much improved over the sound of the initial 1980's CD releases. All discs in this box are 44.1k, 16b. Song to a Seagull, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, Blue, and Don Juan's Reckless Daughter are encoded in HDCD. I have been unable to determine if these are the same upgraded HDCD remasters released as...
Published on November 12, 2012 by KB

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101 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rip-off for Joni fans
This is not a review of the music, which deserves 5 stars. Joni Mitchell's music merits the highest possible praise. Every album on this set is either really good (Song to a Seagull, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, and Mingus) or wonderful (Blue, For the Roses, Court & Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns). If you do not have any...
Published on January 20, 2013 by bp


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126 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality box well done, November 12, 2012
By 
KB (Knoxville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
For those interested in sound quality, these discs sound great and are much improved over the sound of the initial 1980's CD releases. All discs in this box are 44.1k, 16b. Song to a Seagull, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, Blue, and Don Juan's Reckless Daughter are encoded in HDCD. I have been unable to determine if these are the same upgraded HDCD remasters released as individual CD's several years ago, or if WB UK/Rhino have again tweaked the sound with further remastering. For the Roses, Court and Spark, Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, and Mingus are not denoted as HDCD but rather simply as CDDA. Again, I have no way to determine if any new remastering has occurred or why the latter discs would not have been encoded in HDCD. But again, the sound quality is much improved over the initial releases. I would have preferred that all of these discs be re-released in SACD or BluRay Audio, but no such luck. Given the limitations of 44.1k and 16b, I am impressed (and relieved) that the sound quality is so much better.

For those interested in the quality of the packaging, I am again impressed. Each disc is housed in a quality paper package that exactly replicates the original vinyl album artwork. For those of you who never owned the original covers, here's your chance to experience them now. I am surprisingly able to read the complete lyrics where included (although a good magnifying glass might help). The graphics are sharp and the color is accurate and often beautiful (remember that many of these covers were mainly adorned by Joni's own art). The box itself is no stunner but sturdy and functional. No new liner notes or artwork are included.

The music contained herein speaks for itself, but suffice it say (as others already have) that this is some of the greatest music of the 20th century by one of the most gifted, unique, and important songwriters and performers of the 20th century. And the price for each disc was a little over five dollars, at least when I purchased it. Thumbs up from me.
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99 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joni Mitchell - Sweet Bird, November 7, 2012
This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
It is the music that counts and in this case it is utterly sublime. The Studio Albums 1968-1979 gathers together Joni Mitchell's ten albums from that purple period when she was unimpeachable and touched by the angels. It commences with her David Crosby produced debut "Song of the Seagull" (1968), obviously includes the transcendent "Blue" (1971) and takes us up to the haunting jazz of 1979s "Mingus" coloured in with a backdrop provided by those giants of the genre Jaco Pastorius and Wayne Shorter. It does not include the live double "Miles of Ailes" and as a Rhino production there is no fancy remastering to speak of. It is all housed in simple card sleeves and held in a lift-off lid box. Unfortunately you will need X Ray eyes or a microscope to read the tiny lyrics on the gatefold sleeves, but you will pay $3.60 per album from some suppliers and be blown away by an artist who deserves to be right up there with Dylan, Cohen, Simon and Young and who regularly surpassed all of them. Indeed Joni Mitchell has often suffered at the hands of male rock critics who have tended to underplay her central importance and treated her output beyond "Blue" almost as a story of decline. Mitchell herself has become totally aliented with the music business and occasionally ventures into the press to launch pointed broadsides. This has included verbal assaults on Dylan and her view that we live in a "self destructive era" and that "the material girl" signifies a sense of musical rupture and controversially that "Americans have decided to be stupid and shallow since 1980. Madonna is like Nero; she marks the turning point." Some might say she is getting cranky with age but Joni is never dull and has lived a life that soundtracked the Woodstock generation, pushed the boundaries of popular music into expansive genres and played out the drama's of her personal life in songs so intimate that you feel that she is sitting across that table where she "hides behind bottles in dark cafes".

We forget that Mitchell came to recording almost fully formed. This was an artist whose early catalog was so strong that she chose to omit from her debut album three of her compositions that had already been recorded by a variety of other singers "Both Sides Now," "The Circle Game" and "Urge for Going." The early pure folk beauty of "I had a king", "Chelsea Morning" and the shimmering glow of "For Free" evolves quickly into an astounding trilogy of albums starting with Blue, punctuated with the "For the Roses " and concluding with the overwhelming excellence of "Court and Spark". Any self respecting music collection will own these album's and by now should have worn the vinyl thin, if you don't then you must at minimum in the run up to the yuletide season seek out the best and bluest Christmas song ever "The River" or marvel in wonder at the opening line to "Court and Spark" as she articulates how "Love came to my door/With a sleeping roll/And a madman's soul/He thought for sure I'd seen him/Dancing up a river in the dark/Looking for a woman/To court and spark".

This reviewer never came close to comprehending the dour reception of some critics to the "The Hissing of Summer lawns", not least the carping about its jazzy roots and rhythms. Rolling Stone absurdly described it as "great collection of pop poems with a distracting soundtrack". It is in fact one of her greatest albums from the dazzling lyrical wordplay of "Harrys House/Centrepiece", the unadulterated joy of "In France they kiss on Main Street" to the aching regret of that melody in the "Boho Dance" which starts with the classic Mitchell line "Down in the cellar in the Boho zone / I went looking for some sweet inspiration, oh well / Just another hard-time band / With Negro affectations". Prince once said it was the "last album he loved all the way through" and that boy always knew a good tune. To prove a point she then followed it with the huge double punch of 1978s "Hejira" an album as close to perfection as is humanly possible. It includes the roguish "Coyote" which she performed live in the film of the Band's "Last Waltz"; the wonderlust of "Amelia" and the "hexagram of the heavens" and most of all her partnership with that bassist extraordinaire the god like genius of Jaco Pastorius whose playing throughout especially on the title track defies gravity. The double album follow up "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" did receive mixed reviews and is slightly uneven. The sixteen minute long "Paprika Plains" has never really been a particular favourite but any album that includes the epic "Jericho" (what was Jaco smoking?) and songs like the amusing, self-deprecating "Talk to Me" deserves your rapt attention. Finally putting lyrics to the intense 3AM smokey jazz of Charlie Mingus was always going to be controversial but on 1979s "Mingus" where Mitchell meets Weather Report there is much to be admired not least the haunting "Good bye Pork Pie Hat" and the funky "God must be a boogie man".

The ten albums in question included in this set are in chronological order -

* Song To A Seagull (1968)
* Clouds (1969)
* Ladies of the Canyon (1970)
* Blue (1971)
* For The Roses (1972)
* Court and Spark (1974)
* The Hissing Of Summer Lawns (1975)
* Hejira (1976)
* Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (1977)
* Mingus (1979)

Within these ten albums is some of the best recorded music of the 20th Century. These songs are timeless raindrops, and an exquisite testimony to the redemptive and reflective power of music. When It comes to Joni Mitchell who could not be personally supportive of the English actress Emma Thompson's remark "I love her. And true love lasts a lifetime".
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101 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rip-off for Joni fans, January 20, 2013
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This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
This is not a review of the music, which deserves 5 stars. Joni Mitchell's music merits the highest possible praise. Every album on this set is either really good (Song to a Seagull, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, and Mingus) or wonderful (Blue, For the Roses, Court & Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns). If you do not have any previous editions of these CDs or are new to the artistry of Joni Mitchell, I cannot recommend this set more highly. Essentially you are getting 10 marvelous albums for less than $4 each.

However, odds are that if you are reading this review, you are already a fan and own either the lps or the already released American/European versions of these CDs. I purchased most of these CDs around 2002, but since there was so little information about whether or not the CDs in this box were newly remastered, I went ahead and bought it anyway. I was hoping that maybe Rhino would capitalize on the recent Japanese SACD remasters of these CDs to release something better than what they have already put out on the American market. Boy, was I wrong.

Not one of the albums on this set is at all different from the previous remasters released in U.S. and Europe. I checked several of the albums and played them next to my older copies. There was practically no difference in the sound quality. Actually, I noticed several faint skips on the "new" versions of the For the Roses and Court & Spark albums. I am glad that they have repackaged these CDs in more environmentally friendly (no plastic) Japanese style mini lp slips, but there is no reason why they couldn't release CDs of Japanese quality.

Technology has changed and Joni Mitchell is one of the rare artists whose catalog deserved a complete remastering. What a shame that the best available remastered versions are Japanese imports that go for around $50 a CD. Hopefully some smart executive in the U.S. will realize that there is still an American market for CDs and that the remaining customers are looking to get high quality remasters and not repackaged versions of older discs.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars content update, November 8, 2012
By 
D. Allen "Old Blue Dragon" (Studio City, Ca. United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
This is not a review, although I plan to write one as soon as I have received my copy of this box. What I am offering here is a short explanation of what is included in the box.

According to Joni's official web site, the box includes a full set of remasters (done by Rhino) for all the LPs recorded before she switched to Geffen records. Each CD comes in a miniature record sleeve, (instead of a jewel box) replicating the original packaging (in the same style as the Beatles remasters).

Several folks have complained that the lyrics on the CD sized jackets are too small a type size for older eyes to read but since the jackets are a duplication of the original sleeves, this is to be expected.

The box was released on Oct 29th, 2012 - a few days before Joni's birthday.

You can read the blurb on Joni's site here: [...]

it includes a link back to this page on Amazon so you'll know you're buying the "right" product!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is in the box?, November 14, 2012
This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
The musical content has been reviewed elsewhere but there has been some discussion over which digital transfers have been used for this box. I am in the UK and have now played each disc through Windows Media Player (which includes an HDCD decoder). I can report that 'Song to a Seagull', 'Clouds', 'Ladies.....', 'Blue' and 'Don Juan's....' are HDCD encoded discs. These then would appear to be the versions that have been widely available and stickered as 'digitally remastered' since around 2002. The other discs are not HDCD encoded so could well be transfers from the 80s or early 90s. I think this reflects the state of play as regards to the CDs available individually in the UK and supports the theory that the label have simply collected the current CD offerings to make this bargain set. It is true that this box has not been specially remastered but there are not more recent versions of these discs available (for better or worse) as far as I know.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Japanese SHM-CDs, February 16, 2013
This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
The Japanese SHM-CD remasters of Joni's first 10 albums are the highest quality to have been released, so far. I bought all 10 when they came out in the Mini-LP format back in 2011. It's a shame that in Japan they have taken the initiative to improve on the previously-released HDCD masters, unlike in the USA. The same can be said for the Japanese remasters of XTC's CD catalog, also in Mini-LP format, which are superior to the American versions!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Music phenominal; sound just so-so, August 15, 2013
By 
Viele Grüße (Berlin, Germany -- grew up in NYC & SF) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
Obviously the music here is divine, and having the set is nice, but there is NO REMASTERING, NO UPGRADE to the sound. The sound is just so-so: Lots of harsh highs, very muddy patches, no space in the mixes, no ambient colors, quite a bit of static in the strings, and all of it is rather flat. There is a reason everything you read about this collection is ambiguous and vague -- no one would be interested if they were to call this collection what it is: a bargain-bin item. That Joni's music hasn't been given The Beatles box-set loving treatment is an insult to her music and to those of us who continue to actually pay for her music over and over. A good introduction for the newcomer, but there is nothing new here for those who've already bought these albums two or three times each from vinyl to disk. Some people like the album replicas, but I think they are cheesy and cheaply done: fuzzy resolution, laughably unreadable font size, and in truth not even really replicas of the original LPs. Let's all keep our chins up and hope for a serious, quality box set.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...I Could Drink A Case Of You...And Still Be On My Feet..." - The Studio Albums 1968-1979 by JONI MITCHELL (2012 10CD Box Set), July 19, 2014
This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
There's a lot to say about this truly fab little box set - so let's get to the nuts and bolts quickly. Released October 2012 in the UK (November in the USA) - "The Studio Albums 1968-1979" by JONI MITCHELL is a 10CD Mini Box Set on Warners/Reprise/Asylum/Rhino 8122797178 and breaks down as follows:

1. Song To A Seagull [aka Joni Mitchell], March 1968 Debut LP, 10 Tracks, 38:07 minutes
2. Clouds, May 1969 LP, 10 Tracks, 37:41 minutes
3. Ladies Of The Canyon, April 1970 LP, 12 Tracks, 44:59 minutes
4. Blue, June 1971 LP, 10 Tracks, 36:13 minutes
5. For The Roses, November 1972 LP, 12 Tracks, 40:25 minutes
6. Court And Spark, February 1974 LP, 11 Tracks, 36:58 minutes
7. The Hissing of Summer Lawns, November 1975 LP, 10 Tracks, 42:37 minutes
8. Hejira, November 1976 LP, 9 Tracks, 51:55 minutes
9. Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, December 1977 2LP Set, 10 Tracks, 59:52 minutes
10. Mingus, June 1979 LP, 11 Tracks, 37:23 minutes

The release dates above reflect the original American albums because that's what's been used in the 5" card repro artwork for each LP. It's pleasing to see that each disc sports the original 'gatefold' sleeve - with both "For The Roses" and "Mingus" having their extra inner flaps also reproduced as a separate inlay. CDs 1 to 4 have the tan colour Reprise label and thereafter revert to the standard silver look of 1980's WEA discs (a bit more attention to detail would have gotten all the correct labels for each period - something Rhino normally gets right).

Most of the gatefolds open from the inside in order to get at the CD - so I put all of mine in a Japanese plastic protective (which you can buy online) to avoid scuffing. The original album inner sleeves on "Hejira" and "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" are not here - but it has to be said that the clean 5" gatefold repros are beautifully done and for an old album's nut like me - aesthetically pleasing - even if you will need a microscope to actually read any of the lyrics or recording info. There's no booklet which is a damn shame given this woman's musical stature.

On that subject - I hate the way the Sony/Legacy/Columbia 'Complete Albums' Box Sets look with that generic Red Box cover they do - but at least they do come with comprehensive booklets that 'so' compliment the audio (The Byrds, Bill Withers, Etta James, Nilsson - see reviews). I mention this because arguably WEA has an artist's roster that is far more worthy and deserves the presentation-business done by them - songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Gordon Lightfoot, Rickie Lee Jones - and many others. A nice booklet would have lifted this astonishing box set into the stratosphere. But these are mere niggles to the main event - the wonderful AUDIO...

The best bit for many will be the GORGEOUS QUALITY SOUND. From what I can hear every one of these has used the upgraded HDCD remasters and the audio warmth and presence on say "Clouds", "Ladies Of The Canyon" and "Blue" is mind-blowingly good. Which brings us to the music itself...

Even as lifelong fan of Joni - relistening to these albums in chronological order is an awesome experience and on many occasions leaves you picking your jaw up off the floor and reaching for the Thesaurus to find adjectives big enough to do these songs justice. Track after track simply floors you - melodious, witty, heartfelt, articulate - Joni Mitchell has a way with melodies and words that oozes a rare intelligence. She's an artist who was (and is) bound to engender true hero worship. By the time you get to Blue classics like "River" and the sublime "A Case Of You" - resistance is quite literally futile (lyrics from it title this review).

The other brill thing about a box like this is the dipping-in and the rediscovering of song nuggets that you'd either forgotten or aren't on those "Best Of" compilations - Night In The City (from Song Of A Seagull), That Song About The Midway (from Clouds), Conversation (from Ladies Of The Canyon), California (from Blue), Electricity (from For The Roses), People's Parties (from Court And Spark), The Boho Dance (from The Hissing Of Summer Lawns), Furry Sings The Blues (from Hejira) and Off Night Backstreet (from Don Juan's Reckless Daughter). The only real clunker for me is the patchy jazz album "Mingus" which to this day still feels indulgent. Other than that this is a peerless and incredible body of work (for not a lot of wedge).

If ever an artist deserved lavish - it's Canada's finest - Joni Mitchell. Don't think - don't dither - dive in and drool.

God bless you our Lady of the Canyon and stop smoking you silly twit - you're too precious to lose...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic box, February 20, 2013
This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
What a fantastic box! Joni Mitchell is one of the greatest singer-songwriters of the last 50 years (and that doesn't need the often applied qualification of "female singer-songwriters" either). She is, in my view, in the same league as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and the other true greats of the era. This collection of her first ten studio albums at a bargain price shows why that's true.

"Red on Black" has written an excellent review which I won't repeat, but suggest any prospective purchaser should read. I would just add that Joni Mitchell moved in this period from largely guitar-and-solo-voice songs, through more complex arrangements and varied instrumentation, to out-and-out jazz. If you're like me, you will like some of this material more than other bits. Personally, I have never quite come to terms with Mingus, for example. Many people love it, though, and the box is all top-quality music from a true giant of our age and there is a huge amount of great stuff here. People of a certain age will also probably join me in going misty-eyed while having my teenage and university years flash before my eyes as these classic albums play.

In short, it's a fantastic box of superlative music at a ridiculously low price. Don't hesitate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hippie Goddess to Jazz Treasure - the Eternal Joni Mitchell, December 6, 2013
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This review is from: Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 (Audio CD)
Joni Mitchell provided much of the sound track for my teens and twenties. Listening to her again, I find her as fresh and relevant now as I did then. It’s wonderful to get reacquainted with this old friend and marvel again at her trajectory from a mountain dulcimer strumming hippie goddess to a jazz peer of the great Charles Mingus.
This collection, which covers her first 10 records, drives home just how amazing her contribution to modern song, culture, and music has been.
I must have “met” Joni somewhere around “Ladies of the Canyon,” her third record. Unfamiliar with her first two discs, I found it enlightening to listen to her simple, often melancholy tunes that reveal the roots of “future Joni” very clearly. She was considered a folk artist at the time but her open guitar tunings and eerie vocal excursions move well beyond simple chord changes and song structures more associated with the movement.
Some artifacts from the 60’s don’t hold up well over the years. Joni does. She never – okay, rarely—sound dated. Her deeply personal lyrics are as poetic, honest, wry, and insightful as her arrangements are rich. Her phrasing, tonality, and overall vocals are gorgeous.
She has written anthems such as “Woodstock” and “Big Yellow Taxi” as well as modern jazz standards such as “Help Me.”
Joni has claimed to be first and foremost a painter—a fact revealed in much of the album art. She said something like she only sang and recorded that which she couldn’t paint. As her work proceeds from “Blue” and “For the Roses” through the increasingly jazzy “Court and Spark” to “Hissing of Summer Lawns” and beyond, her sonic landscapes are brought to life with amazing collaborators like Tom Scott’s L.A. Express, members of Weather Report, and some of the world’s top musicians. The resonant, open landscape of “Hejira” still makes me long for an open stretch of highway. The collection culminates in “Mingus” where she secures a prominent place on the stage of the jazz pantheon.
If you’re a Joni fan like me, or just checking her out for the first time, this collection is a great place to start. Listen to the discs in chronological order and ride along on her journey. I encourage you to watch some of her performances and interviews online and gain an appreciation for an artist who will stand the test of time and emerge as one of the great treasures of our era.
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Studio Albums 1968 - 1979
Studio Albums 1968 - 1979 by Joni Mitchell (Audio CD - 2013)
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