1976: Asylum 1087-2
Of the early-70s mighty foursome of Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, and Don Juans Reckless Daughter, this is probably the pinnacle. Its intensely profound, exploring a cohesive theme of journeying through a number of perspectives and scenarios, adding up to only the conclusion that journeys are for journeying, not for arriving. Refuge of the Roads closes the album with that unstated conclusion after wrapping up the last of the stories by zooming from a space view of the earth all the way back down to Joni in a highway service stations cold water restroom.
Its also probably my favorite of Jonis albums, after Court & Spark anyway (which reached me first); the lyrics are mesmerizing and intensely well-crafted, loaded with contrasts, pictures, textures, emotions, psychology, and wisps of regret. Great distances are travelled here, rarely in a rush, and Joni reflects on both whats inside and outside her vehicle as she sees it.
Geographically were taken through Saskatchewan, New England, Memphis, the Gulf states, and who knows where else . During the stopover in Memphis, Furry Sings the Blues, Joni surprises by including herself in the scene shes observing, noting that her presence there only adds to the sour ironies of Old Furrys decline.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.