Joni Mitchell’s First 4 Reprise Albums Get 2021 Collection

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Rhino Records’ Joni Mitchell Archives Series continues with remasters of her first four albums in celebration of her landmark album Blue’s 50th anniversary. The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) debuted newly remastered versions of Song to a Seagull, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon and Blue. The albums were released on 4-CDs and 4-LPs on July 2, 2021.

The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) brings together the albums that helped establish Mitchell as one of the most-talented songwriters of her generation. It includes essential tracks like “River,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Both Sides, Now,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock” and “The Circle Game.”

Listen to the 2021 remaster of her 1970 single, “Big Yellow Taxi”

Clouds, her second album, was certified gold and won the 1969 Grammy (her first of nine) for Best Folk Performance. Ladies of the Canyon and Blue were both certified platinum, while the latter was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Listen to the remastered version of “Both Sides, Now”

In the case of Song to a Seagull, the original mix has been recently updated by Mitchell and mixer Matt Lee. “The original mix was atrocious,” said Mitchell in a press release. “It sounded like it was recorded under a Jello bowl, so I fixed it!”

Listen to the 2021 remaster of “Cactus Tree”

Scroll down to listen to newly remastered versions of many more songs.

The cover art for The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) features a previously unseen self-portrait Mitchell sketched during the time period. The collection also includes an essay by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, who’s been influenced greatly by Mitchell. She writes: “In my opinion Blue is the greatest album ever made. Blue didn’t make me a better songwriter. Blue made me a better woman… No matter what we are dealing with in these times we can rejoice and know that of all the ages we could have lived through, we lived in the time of Joni Mitchell.”

Related: Our review of Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963–1967)

The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) will be followed later this year by Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2, the second installment in the extensive archival series that began last year. Each one promises a deep dive into unreleased studio and live recordings from different eras of Mitchell’s storied career. Vol. 2 will focus on the timeframe when she recorded the albums included in The Reprise Albums (1968-1971).

Says the April 8 press release, “Mitchell continues to be intimately involved in producing these collections, lending her vision and personal touch to every element of the projects. Future releases in the archive series will arrive in a similar manner, with a boxed set focused on studio albums from a specific era, followed by an official ‘Archives’ release looking at unreleased audio from the same period.”

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  1. Batchman
    #1 Batchman 8 April, 2021, 16:45

    Brandi Carlile performed the entire “Blue” album live at a recent concert (and Joni Mitchell was in the audience). Sadly, it wasn’t recorded, but she did sing a bit of “A Case of You” when she appeared on A Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Amazing vocal emulation of Joni.

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  2. Tim
    #2 Tim 4 July, 2021, 17:16

    My understanding is that, a few years ago, a building that stored a treasure trove of master tapes and session tapes burned to the ground. I remember reading about it. The author of the article described it as catastrophic. And Joni Mitchel’s tapes were said to be among them.

    If that’s true, her music could still be remastered, but not remixed (the multitrack source tapes would be gone). And few, if any, alternate takes or unreleased tracks would remain. But maybe, who knows . . .

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  3. Fab Four Fan
    #3 Fab Four Fan 4 July, 2021, 23:34

    I highly recommend Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller. It’s a triple (I almost said “threeway”) biography of Mitchell, Carly Simon, and Carole Long as well as a culturak history of their times.

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