Song of the Day: Joni Mitchell, “Help Me”

It took me a while to actually like Joni Mitchell’s music. I always thought of her as some hippie chick who sang in a nun’s soprano. At least until her album Court And Spark came out in 1974 and all the music magazines I read at the time published articles about her. A couple of them mentioned that she had come up with a system of alternate tunings on the guitar and that she would switch tunings for different songs. That piqued my interest in her, because all I really knew was the standard EADGBE and open E (EBEG#BE) that I had just recently learned for playing slide guitar. I was always afraid to do too much alternate tuning, because (a) I broke enough strings as it was and (b) the trick for me was always getting back into standard tuning. (They hadn’t invented the electronic tuner yet. Believe me, it would have made all the difference.) Anyway, I started to listen more closely when her songs would come on to see if I could figure out how she had her guitar tuned. I never quite figured it out, but I did learn to like her music. This is from Court and Spark.

7 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Joni Mitchell, “Help Me”

  1. I always loved her music. On my way home from shopping yesterday, “California” came on, and it just took me back to much easier times.

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    1. I think I liked her music, especially when “Court and Spark” came out. It was the first time I considered buying one of her albums. The ’70’s were definitely easier times…

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  2. Hi John – love this take on her song … she was so innovative … thank you – all the best Hilary

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  3. I always like Joni Mitchell but I find people either like or really dislike her because of her style of singing. This is one of her famous songs. You knew she wrote Woodstock? I think that’s pretty cool

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    1. I know it well (that she wrote “Woodstock”), and hers is the best version out there. Joni’s voice has changed since she had throat troubles a few years ago (I don’t think it was cancer, but it was pretty severe) and her voice is pitched a little lower and more pleasant (to me, anyway) to listen to. Interesting that most of her sidemen of late have been jazz musicians…

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