Tag Archives: Joni Mitchell

“This song is old, this song is new / This song is me, this song you”

 I was sitting on my bed, working on a blog post that never came to fruition and listening to Minnie Riperton’s Greatest Hits album, when a live interlude started playing. The interlude, “Another Moment With Minnie,” is one of the two or three live clips that pepper the album. It follows “You Take My Breath Away”, a duet with  George Benson. (I can’t describe how hard it is to describe why I love this song, but I’ve never heard anything like it. More on Minnie’s amazing-ness later).

Still, when the live interlude started playing, I ignored it and continued working on the blog post that never came to fruition. I am a staunch opposer of live recordings of things; in fact, if I’d noticed there were any live bits in the album at all I would have given pause to buying it. I don’t believe in live recordings unless they are absolutely necessary (“Benny and the Jets”, “Baby, I Love Your Way”, and the live Woodstock version of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” come to mind. And, of course, the Simon and Garfunkel live in Central Park album…okay, so maybe I make a lot of exceptions.). Time and time again, live recordings that sporadically play on my Pandora stations cause me to Google a way to prevent them from coming up again, because it disturbs the flow. People singing or shouting or whistling in audiences drives me bananas if I’m not actually in said audience. The magic of live music is that it’s happening in a particular moment in time. Who wants to listen to canned improvisation?

Sorry–end rant. I’ve never actually sat down and thought about why live recordings of things irk me. But I suppose that is why–the canned spontaneity of it all.

Anyway, I’m listening to Minnie Riperton and subconsciously eye-rolling at the thought of being made to think I’m at a concert that happened 30+ years ago when in reality I’m sitting on a tiny bed in a tiny room, working on a blog post that never came to fruition, and suddenly I hear Minnie say something about reincarnation. All the blood rushes to my brain. I stop what I’m doing, reach over, pick up the needle, and do my best to rewind it the old-fashioned way: by studying the grooves in the vinyl and gingerly placing the needle back down.

This is what she says:

Thank you very much. I’m glad you enjoyed that. People do talk about reincarnation…that sounds pretty good. But, I don’t recollect anything prior to this, and I don’t know about you, I haven’t gotten a message yet saying I’m coming back…so i intend to have a great time while I’m here, and I think you should too.

I’m not exactly sure what year she said this. The way that she says it makes me believe it must have been after January 1976, which is when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy, and was given six months to live because the cancer had spread. She surpassed this, of course, going on to live for another three years, perform, and make music. She died in the summer of 1979, only 31 years old.

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