Out Now: Revisit an Icon’s Formative Era with ‘Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)’ (Listen)


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Today, Oct. 30, the vaults officially open up as far as  Joni Mitchell is concerned, as Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967) has been released as a lavish 5-CD box set collecting some of the singer/songwriter‘s earliest recordings.

Click here to purchase Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years 1963-67 from our Rock Cellar Store

It’s the first in a planned series of archival releases from Mitchell through Rhino Records, a series promising “deep dives into unreleased content from different eras of her storied career,” per a news release.

This new 5-CD set features nearly six hours of material, all unreleased, of home, live and radio recordings that “flow chronologically to paint a rich portrait of Mitchell’s rapid growth as a performer and songwriter during the period leading up to her debut album.”

It’s been previewed in recent weeks with a handful of tracks, and it all combines to paint a picture of who Joni Mitchell was in the mid-60s, as she started out on the path that would help cement her status as an all-time great.

It includes 29 original compositions from Mitchell that that have not previously been released with her vocal tracks — so this ought to be a real treat for fans.

Rhino included a statement from Mitchell regarding this early material:

“The early stuff, I shouldn’t be such a snob against it. A lot of these songs, I just lost them. They fell away. They only exist in these recordings. For so long I rebelled against the term, ‘I was never a folk-singer.’ I would get pissed off if they put that label on me. I didn’t think it was a good description of what I was. And then I listened and…it was beautiful. It made me forgive my beginnings. And I had this realization…I was a folk singer!”

Additional details on the Vol. 1 collection, per a news release:

The collection begins in 1963 with her earliest-known recording as a 19-year-old Mitchell performs “House Of The Rising Sun” at CFQC AM, a radio station in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The box culminates with a stirring, three-set 1967 nightclub performance recorded at the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The 5-CD collection includes a 40-page booklet that features many unseen photos from Mitchell’s personal collection as well as new liner notes featuring conversations between writer/filmmaker Cameron Crowe and Mitchell, who recently spent Sunday afternoons together discussing her archives. Crowe will continue to provide liners for future releases in the series.

The early performances mentioned above will also be released on vinyl, as Early Joni: 1963 (click here to purchase from our Rock Cellar Store) and Live at Canterbury House – 1967 (Click here to purchase from our Rock Cellar Store).

Stream Vol. 1: The Early Years 1963-1967 below, via Spotify.


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