Blue song…

Inspired by: Becky’s Blue July Squares 

 

The year was 1971.
Joni Mitchell released Blue – one of my favorite albums…ever.

A few years later I was able to see her perform in concert on a cold winter night. Up in the balcony at The Music Hall in Boston. It was a magical evening spent with this amazing singer/songwriter.

My well worn vinyl copy still survives…

 

BLUE
by Joni Mitchell

JONI BLUE

 

Song Lyric Sunday – Record/Jukebox/DJ/Radio

My contribution to this week’s Song Lyric Sunday (prompt: Record/Jukebox/DJ/Radio).

 

At the age of 17, I discovered Joni Mitchell when I first dropped the needle on her album Blue. Thanks to new friends at my summer job. One of those friends and I were lucky enough to see her in concert together. Three years later. The Music Hall in Boston. High up in the balcony.

Joni Mitchell is a Canadian singer/songwriter. The winner of 9 Grammy awards. Music that ranges from folk to pop to rock to jazz. Lyrics that reach out and grab you tight…especially when you’re 17.

You Turn Me On I’m A Radio was Mitchell’s first Top 40 hit as an artist in America. Lighter and brighter than her more serious musings on Blue, it was released in 1972 on the For the Roses album (her 5th). Written from the point of view of a radio station, it moved more towards the pop genre.

I now get a kick out of the references to dials and transistors…as I remember my first radio. A gift from my grandparents when I was in the 5th grade. A black Sony transistor radio (with a case!). And a dial…which picked up my favorite AM station: 77WABC

I’ll bet Joni Mitchell performed this song that night in Boston…

 

 

 

You Turn Me On I’m a Radio

by Joni Mitchell

If you’re driving into town
With a dark cloud above you
Dial in the number
Who’s bound to love you
Oh honey you turn me on
I’m a radio
I’m a country station
I’m a little bit corny
I’m a wildwood flower
Waving for you
I’m a broadcasting tower
Waving for you
And I’m sending you out
This signal here
I hope you can pick it up
Loud and clear
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
It’s been dirty for dirty
Down the line
But you know I come when you whistle
When you’re loving and kind
But if you’ve got too many doubts
If there’s no good reception for me
Then tune me out, ’cause honey
Who needs the static
It hurts the head
And you wind up cracking
And the day goes dismal
From “Breakfast Barney”
To the sign-off prayer
What a sorry face you get to wear
I’m going to tell you again now
If you’re still listening there
If you’re driving into town
With a dark cloud above you
Dial in the number
Who’s bound to love you
If you’re lying on the beach
With the transistor going
Kick off the sandflies honey
The love’s still flowing
If your head says forget it
But your heart’s still smoking
Call me at the station
The lines are open

 

 

 

 

River

This post is inspired by:

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #20: River

I wish I had a river to skate away on….

Joni Mitchell

 

Back in 1971, when Joni Mitchell’s album Blue was released, I spent the summer working at a conference center 6 hours away from home. I worked mostly alongside other 17 and 18 year olds from around the country. It was a desperation move on my part to go so far away. For my own sanity. Constantly wishing for a “river to skate away on,” I finally got it that summer.

Although I didn’t fully realize it at the time, that summer was life changing. I shared a small room in the staff house with 3 other girls…I’m still close friends with one. I worked in the office. They were waitress/housekeepers. Rustic cabins. Barn dances. Dining hall. A beautiful lake. Staff parties. Work and play all in one.

The album Blue (which contains River) – as well as Carole King’s Tapestry – formed the backdrop of those weeks away. By summer’s end, I knew every single word of every single song. Even now I still do. Like a time machine.

There was always something about the lyrics from River that reached deep in my gut. I’d sing along in my shaky, slightly off key adolescent  voice…feeling every bit of the not-yet-understood longing and cloudy sadness that was to plague me for years. But in those moments I was comforted. I did not feel alone. Someone else understood. And voiced what I could not.

That’s what fine lyrics will do. For teenagers finding their way. Fighting to stay afloat. In a family like mine.

…I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
Oh I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly…