Saturday, August 08, 2009

Talk, the 1970s and Tequila-Anaconda

Over vegan vittles tonight, Joni Mitchell came up in conversation with an old friend. Joni -- bitter, rich and bonding with her grand child over cigarettes (which she has described as a "healing herb") in her Malibu mansion -- has slowly re-engaged with the world and recording industry that a decade ago she dismissed as a cesspool of bimbos and profit (not prophets). Perhaps she needed profits to maintain her lifestyle.

Oddly, my favorite album of Joni's has always been one of her most derided opuses -- Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. Its title is at once revelatory and redundant. It has a 16-minute opus about the plains of Canada, photos of Joni in black face drag king make up and a tune about "Muslims holding up Washington". Yet, the most mysterious lyric -- one that holds many questions but few answers on the internet -- is this one from "Talk to Me":

There was a moon and a street lamp
I didn't know I drank such a lot
'Till I pissed a tequila-anaconda

The full length of the parking lot!

Oh, I talk too loose
Again I talk too open and free
I pay a high price for my open talking
Like you do for your silent mystery

Many want the "Blue" period Joni, the "Court and Spark" Joni or even the "Hejira" and "Hissing Lawns" Joni. But this is the one that I most love. The one that had just enough success and bravado to share the realities of romance, a tad too much booze and the search for something beyond Paprika Plains.

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5 Comments:

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Wow -- it takes a certain amount of courage to love this album. I'm all for everything up through Hejira -- but after that, Joni occasionally went in directions I just couldn't follow. (Mingus -- ugh!) She had more strong moments, to be sure, but nothing like Blue. (Sorry to be so conventional!)

 
At 2:05 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Steve - I'm with you on "Mingus" (though I like the musician himself) and "Dog Eat Dog". Actually, I think there is about one full album, not two full discs on "Don Juan".

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sides 1 and 4 of that album have some of my favorite music ever. The musicianship on the record is top notch. Jaco Pastorius. Wayne Shorter and Mitchells voice? Gosh. I had no idea this album was maligned.

Jericho alone makes the whole album worth it.

That's what I get for Googling "tequila-anaconda" for fun!

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Anon - Glad I am not the only fan of this album. I love Jericho too and saw her perform it live around 1975. And it's also on her Miles of Aisles as I recall.

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger shawn quinlan www.shawnquinlan.com said...

It's Bjorks fav Joni album as well..

 

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