Joni Mitchell Court and Spark

CD (October 25, 1990)
Label: Elektra/Asylum

COURT AND SPARK, Asylum. Grammy nominations for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female ("Court and Spark"); Album of the Year; Record of the Year ("Help Me"); Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist, with Tom Scott, arranger ("Down to You")

Painter-turned-folksinger Joni Mitchell had slipped stark saxophone solos into her prior album, For the Roses, and her singing had often hinted at a capacity for bluesier fare than her guitar- and piano-framed confessional ballads offered. None of those hints prepared fans for this sudden, expansive shift toward a much larger canvas--a sleeker, orchestrated pop style pulsing with jazz elements. Court & Spark found Mitchell casting aside her earth mother affectations and revealing herself as the thoroughly modern, thoroughly complicated woman she is; the songs sustained familiar preoccupations with relationships but replaced courtly settings and naturalistic imagery with recognizably modern locales. Deeply romantic, constantly questioning, classic tracks like the title song, "Help Me," "Free Man in Paris," "Same Situation," and "Raised on Robbery" display a more liberated Mitchell, ready to rumble with unbridled electric guitars (guest Robbie Robertson on "...Robbery"), even willing to poke fun at her own oh-so-sensitive rep with a hip cover of Annie Ross's hilarious "Twisted." --Sam Sutherland

1. Court And Spark
2. Help Me
3. Free Man In Paris
4. People's Parties
5. Same Situation
6. Car On A Hill
7. Down To You
8. Just Like This Train
9. Raised On Robbery
10. Trouble Child
11. Twisted