Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Joni Mitchell: Ladies of the Canyon [Reprise, 1970]
Joni's new dependence on piano implies a move from the open air to the drawing room--or at least living area--that's reflected in richer, more sophisticated songs. Sometimes the wordplay is still laughably high school--"lookout thru the pain" my eye. But "Both Sides Now" was only the beginning, and this album offers at least half a dozen continuations, all in different directions. Side two leads off with songs to a (real) FM DJ and a (figurative?) priest and includes her versions of "Woodstock" and "The Circle Game" as well as my own favorite, "Big Yellow Taxi," an ecology song with a trick ending. A-