The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) (LP6)

Joni Mitchell Joni Mitchell

LPA HEJIRA

  1. Coyote
  2. Amelia
  3. Furry Sings The Blues
  4. A Strange Boy
  5. Hejira

LPB HEJIRA

  1. Song For Sharon
  2. Black Crow
  3. Blue Motel Room
  4. Refuge Of The Road

 
LPC DON JUAN’S RECKLESS DAUGHTER

  1. Overture – Cotton Avenue
  2. Talk To Me
  3. Jericho

LPD DON JUAN’S RECKLESS DAUGHTER

  1. Paprika Plains

LPE DON JUAN’S RECKLESS DAUGHTER

  1. Otis And Marlena
  2. The Tenth World
  3. Dreamland

LPF DON JUAN’S RECKLESS DAUGHTER

  1. Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter
  2. Off Night Backstreet
  3. The Silky Veils Of Ardor

 
LPG MINGUS

  1. Happy Birthday 1975 (Rap)
  2. God Must Be A Boogie Man
  3. Funeral (Rap)
  4. A Chair In The Sky
  5. The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey

LPH MINGUS

  1. I’s A Muggin (Rap)
  2. Sweet Sucker Dance
  3. Coin In The Pocket (Rap)
  4. The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines
  5. Lucky (Rap)
  6. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

LPI SHADOWS AND LIGHT

  1. Introduction
  2. In France They Kiss On Main Street
  3. Edith And The Kingpin
  4. Coyote
  5. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

LPJ SHADOWS AND LIGHT

  1. The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines
  2. Amelia
  3. Pat’s Solo
  4. Hejira

LPK SHADOWS AND LIGHT

  1. Black Crow
  2. Don’s Solo
  3. Dreamland
  4. Free Man In Paris
  5. Band Introduction
  6. Furry Sings The Blues

LPL SHADOWS AND LIGHT

  1. Why Do Fools Fall In Love
  2. Shadows And Light
  3. God Must Be A Boogie Man
  4. Woodstock

 

After The Hissing Of Summer Lawns tour, Joni Mitchell retreated to Neil Young’s beach house to recover. Eager to travel but undecided about a destination, Mitchell was unexpectedly invited on a cross-country road trip with friends. It was one of three road trips she took between 1975 and 1976 and the beginning of a period defined by wanderlust, both in her physical travels and musical exploration. This transformative phase is the focal point of The Asylum Albums (1976-1980), the next release in the Joni Mitchell Archives series.

The new collection showcases Mitchell at her most daring across Hejira (1976), Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter (1977), Mingus (1979), and the live album Shadows and Light (1980). Renowned audio engineer Bernie Grundman remastered all four releases included in this boxed set from the original flat analog master tapes.

The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) will be available on June 21 from Rhino as a 5-CD set, a limited edition (5,000 copies) 6-LP version pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and digitally. The newly remastered version of “Coyote” from Hejira is available today digitally.

The cover art for The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) includes a portion of one of Mitchell’s original paintings. Fans will enjoy a full version of the whimsically abstract landscape as an accompanying insert included in the album packaging for both the CD and LP configurations.

During this period, Mitchell boldly declared her move from the “hit department” to the “art department.” Critics were slow to catch up, but her creativity was in overdrive. Instead of session aces, she began recording with jazz virtuosos like Larry Carlton and Pat Metheny (guitar), Michael Brecker (saxophone), Herbie Hancock (keyboard), and Don Alias (percussion), as well as several members of Weather Report, including Jaco Pastorius (bass) and Wayne Shorter (saxophone).

Accompanying the set is a heartfelt essay penned by Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, a lifelong fan of Mitchell’s work. She writes: “It’s not just the artifact – music and lyrics – that Joni gives us. Her artistry leaves us, ourselves, changed. She has shifted things around inside us. And that’s how artists change the world.”

Hejira stands out as a testament to Mitchell’s artistic evolution. Its subdued instrumentation, coupled with her introspective lyrics, resulted in timeless tracks like “Coyote” and “Furry Sings The Blues” with Young on harmonica. Mitchell once said: “I suppose a lot of people could have written a lot of my other songs, but I feel the songs on Hejira could only have come from me.”

Her journey continued with Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, a double album of largely experimental music. It included “Paprika Plains,” a side-long piano piece with orchestral arrangements. It found a receptive audience in musical seekers like Bjork, who said the album’s fearless approach later inspired her music.

Ultimately, Mitchell’s path led to Mingus, her collaboration with jazz titan Charles Mingus, who wrote several songs for the project. Mingus died shortly before the album was complete, and Mitchell dedicated it to him. Four songs by Mingus with lyrics written by Mitchell appeared on the album, including a version of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” Mingus’ tribute to saxophonist Lester Young, and one of his most famous compositions. In the album’s liner notes, Mitchell said she felt fully immersed in jazz for the first time while making the record. “It was as if I had been standing by a river – one toe in the water – feeling it out – and Charlie came by and pushed me in – ‘sink or swim’…”

The final entry in The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) is the double live album Shadows and Light. It was Mitchell’s second live album and her last release with Asylum Records. She recorded it during the tour for Mingus in September 1979 at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Except for the performance of her classic song “Woodstock,” the album focused on songs from her most recent albums, like “Amelia,” “Dreamland,” and “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines.” The Persuasions, a vocal group popular in the 1960s, also appeared on two songs: the title track and a cover of “Why Do Fools Fall In Love.”

The release of The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) sets the stage for Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 4, the next installment in the archival series dedicated to exploring Mitchell’s career through unreleased studio and live recordings. More details will be announced later this year.

The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) (LP6) • The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) (LP6) • The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) (LP6) • The Asylum Albums (1976-1980) (LP6) •

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