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Joni Mitchell reached her commercial high point with Court and Spark, a remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz which stands as her best-selling work to date. While as unified and insightful as Blue, the album -- a concept record exploring the roles of honesty and trust in relationships, romantic and otherwise -- moves away from confessional songwriting into evocative character studies: the hit "Free Man in Paris," written about David Geffen, is a not-so-subtle dig at the machinations of the music industry, while "Raised on Robbery" offers an acutely funny look at the predatory environment of the singles bar scene. Much of Court and Spark is devoted to wary love songs: both the title cut and "Help Me," the record's most successful single, carefully measure the risks of romance, while "People's Parties" and "The Same Situation" are fraught with worry and self-doubt (standing in direct opposition to the music, which is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last).
Performance CreditsJoni Mitchell Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Clavinet
Cheech & Chong Vocals,Background Vocals
José Feliciano Guitar,Electric Guitar
Graham Nash Harmonica,Vocals,Background Vocals
Robbie Robertson Guitar,Electric Guitar
Larry Carlton Guitar,Electric Guitar
Victor Feldman Percussion,Keyboards
Joe Sample Keyboards,Electric Piano
Tom Scott Reeds,Wind,Multiple Reeds,Woodwind
Max Bennett Bass
Dennis Budimir Guitar,Electric Guitar
Tommy Chong Background Vocals
David Crosby Vocals,Background Vocals
Wilton Felder Bass
Chuck Findley Trumpet
John Guerin Percussion,Drums
Milt Holland Percussion,Chimes
Jim Hughart Bass
Cheech Marin Background Vocals
Wayne Perkins Guitar,Electric Guitar
Susan Webb Vocals,Background Vocals
Dennis Dudimir Electric Guitar
Chong Background Vocals
Technical CreditsJoni Mitchell Arranger,Composer,Artwork,Audio Production
Annie Ross Composer
Tom Scott Arranger
Dave Lambert Composer
Jon Hendricks Composer
Henry Lewy Engineer
Anthony Hudson Art Direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Court and Spark based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
This is an unbelievable album. Superb engineering (described by sound engineers as a masterpiece); gorgeous lyrics; lush, jazzy instrumentation and vocals. The songs are linked together beautifully, and the editing is exquisite. If you want to understand why Joni Mitchell is such a legend, get Court and Spark and Blue.
First, I love Joni Mitchell, so anything I have to say is going to be biased, but this is definitely a fun album. Jazzy, pop delight.
COURT AND SPARK IS JONI MITCHELL'S HIGHEST HONORS, AND EVEN IF THIS IS MY SECOND FAVORITE ALBUM TO "BLUE". THIS ALBUMS IS JUST AS SPECIAL.COURT AND SPARK MADE JONI MITCHELL A STAR WITH "HELP ME" WHICH IS THE ALBUMS TOP 10 HIT. THE 1982 ALBUM" WILD THINGS RUN FAST TRIED TO DO THE SAME THING BUT FAILED. NOW WILD THINGS RUN FAST WAS FIRST ALBUM ON DAVID GEFFEN RECORD LABEL. JONI DEDICATED THE SONG " FREE MAN IN PARIS FOR HIM WHICH IS FEATURE ON COURT AND SPARK. PEOPLE'S PARTIES,THE SAME SITUATION,COURT AND SPARK AND A CAR ON HILL BRING A STRETCH OF ROMANIC SONGS TO THE ALBUM. "DOWN TO YOU" JONI EXPERENCES WITH ORCHESTRA BEFORE PAPRIKA PLAIN ON "DON JUAN'S RECKLESS DAUGHTER". JUST LIKE THIS TRAIN AND RAISED ON ROBBERY BRINGS A TRAINING EFFECT TO ALBUMS. HUMOR ENDS THE ALBUMS WITH TROUBLE CHILD AND TWISTED WHICH FEATURE CHEECH AND CHONG. COURT AND SPARK MAKES ME FALL IN LOVE. I AM IN LOVE JONI MITCHELL.
Joni's ''Help Me'' is the best. Her background orchestra is fantastic, almost in a jazzy beat and mellow too for the time this was recorded.
The definitive Joni Mitchell set -- every cut is a keeper. How many albums can say that? Maybe twenty -- ever?
Without question, Joni produced an incredible volume of work, some that satisfied her traditional fan-base and some that expanded her audience to the jazz side. What makes this THE clear winner in the Mitchell camp is the relative consistency of the work, her unbelievable vocal range, the beautifully done harmonies and the clever lyrics. A tip of the hat to the recording engineers as well. Many thanks to Canada for sharing one the top talents to come from that country.
This is an outstanding work, a sort of cross-over between rock, pop, folk, and even jazz (on 'Twisted'). It may not be her best album (I think that "Hejira" and "The Hissing of Summer Lawns" are her best), but it's almost the best album you can ever listen to. I highly recommend it!
Of course my memories of the time this came out are part of the whole listening experience. Still, I rediscovered the richness of the arrangements.
As Joni's Blue album was a masterpiece of grief, this album is a masterpiece of love. We had not heard this kind of pure joy from Joni since her Ladies of the Canyon album and it is pure pleasure to listen to.