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Joni Mitchell – Song To A Seagull (1968)

Joni Mitchell – Song To A Seagull (1968)
MP3 256 kbps / 73 MB
Released March 1968
Recorded Late 1967
Genre Folk-rock
Length 38:00
Label Reprise

Her debut, but yet a neglected album in the Mitchell catalogue. A concept album, no less!

This was produced by David Crosby then of CSNY … or maybe it was CSI NY! I get all those dumb fucking tv shows mixed up!

According to Mitchell, the album is more a result of her love of classical music than of folk, and this is evident through the thick, rich, and often unusual harmonies, and the densely poetic lyrics of the album.

Strangely, this album was originally released as an untitled or self-titled LP because of an error at Reprise Records’ publishing department!

Song to a Seagull is a actually concept album divided into two halves: “I Came to the City” and “Out of the City and Down to the Seaside”. The two halves correspond to the two sides of the LP, which are identified as “Part 1” and “Part 2” rather than the conventional “Side 1” and “Side 2”.

The first track refers to her failed marriage to Chuck Mitchell in Detroit, and a similar theme is explored with “Michael from Mountains”, which questions whether one can truly love someone without knowing him.

“Night in the City” is a celebration of nightlife; “Marcie” is a profile of a lonely woman, presumably a friend of Mitchell’s; and “Nathan La Franeer” ends side one with the account of a bitter city-dwelling taxi driver Mitchell once encountered.

Side two takes on more natural, organic themes: “Sisotowbell Lane” describes domestic bliss (Joni has said that “Sisotowbell” stands for “Somehow, in spite of trouble, ours will be ever lasting love”), and “The Dawntreader” and “Pirate of Penance” concern sea themes – first of a mystical sea captain calling her away, and then to a murderous pirate with whom a dancer is infatuated.

Though some speculate that “The Dawntreader” is written for David Crosby, Mitchell has denied this.

The final two tracks concern freedom: “Song to a Seagull” and “Cactus Tree”. “Song to a Seagull” is especially noteworthy for its uninhibited treatment of the desire for freedom.

Mitchell had written songs that were hits for other artists (e.g., “Both Sides Now” and “Chelsea Morning” by Judy Collins, “Eastern Rain” by Fairport Convention, “Urge for Going,” and “The Circle Game” by Tom Rush), but chose to record none of these for her debut.

The album is dedicated to: “Mr. Kratzman, who taught me to love words.”


Side 1: “I Came to the City”
1. “I Had a King” – 3:37
2. “Michael from Mountains” – 3:41
3. “Night in the City” – 2:30
4. “Marcie” – 4:35
5. “Nathan La Franeer” – 3:18

Side 2: “Out of the City and Down to the Seaside”

1. “Sisotowbell Lane” – 4:05
2. “The Dawntreader” – 5:04
3. “The Pirate Of Penance” – 2:44
4. “Song to a Seagull” – 3:51
5. “Cactus Tree” – 4:35

Here she be;

Big thanks to kadorna

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September 4, 2008 Posted by | Joni Mitchell, Music_Folk, Music_Pop, _MUSIC | 1 Comment