Joni Mitchell - Reckless Daughter: A Joni Mitchell Anthology book review

Collection of rock writings on Canadian songwriting genius

Reckless Daughter: A Joni Mitchell Anthology book cover

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It’s only recently that rock thinkers have begun to entertain seriously the idea that Joni Mitchell is on a par with peers such as Dylan, Cohen and Neil Young. She has railed bitterly against the objectification of women and sexism of the record industry, as well as the banal simplicity of some passed off as worthy singer-songwriters in her wake. All of this is understandable, however. She has undoubtedly been the victim of condescension over the decades.

This anthology traces her evolution via the rock journalism covering her over the years. It’s a fascinating filter, which says as much about changing attitudes in rock writing as it does about Mitchell’s growth from a shy, precocious folkie to a versatile, erudite, jazz-inflected rock genius.

Initially, in these pieces she is ‘Joni’, shy, demure, fascinating for her prettiness. In later pieces, especially her interviews, she is ‘Mitchell’, formidable, eloquent, commanding in her perception. A fascinating companion to reassessment of her oeuvre.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.