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Joni Mitchell — California
Album: Blue
Avg rating:
6.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1607









Released: 1971
Length: 3:39
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Sitting in a park in Paris France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won't give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn't want to stay here
It's too old and cold and settled in its ways here
Oh but California

California I'm coming home
I'm going to see the folks I dig
I'll even kiss a Sunset pig
California I'm coming home

I met a redneck on a Grecian isle
Who did the goat dance very well
He gave me back my smile
But he kept my camera to sell
Oh the rogue the red red rogue
He cooked good omelettes and stews
And I might have stayed on with him there
But my heart cried out for you California

Oh California I'm coming home
Oh make me feel good rock 'n' roll band
I'm your biggest fan
California I'm coming home

Oh it gets so lonely
When you're walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
Just give you the blues
Just give you the blues

So I bought me a ticket
I caught a plane to Spain
Went to a party down a red dirt road
There were lots of pretty people there
Reading Rolling Stone reading Vogue
They said "How long can you hang around?"
I said a week maybe two
Just until my skin turns brown
Then I'm going home to California

California I'm coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California I'm coming home

Oh it gets so lonely
When you're walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
More about the war
And the bloody changes
Oh will you take me as I am?
Will you take me as I am?
Will you?
Comments (249)add comment
 Randomax wrote:
I know some can't get passed the voice......but it's the poetry!  and her meter and timing.....wish those with voice trouble would TRY to listen to the words.....what a poet
 

The 'poetry' ain't all that either yo.
O U C H .


I stopped donating here because of her....
Worst voice on the earth...how she made it is beyond me!!
I know some can't get passed the voice......but it's the poetry!  and her meter and timing.....wish those with voice trouble would TRY to listen to the words.....what a poet
That voice is so horrible and painful to listen to.... I'm out again...
Although I saw Joni down in Illinois back in the 70's, the first time I heard an album was 1974 when I moved into a house in Halifax, NS for first year university.  Two women were moving out of the house I was moving into.  Blue (side one) was on the turntable on endless repeat  for about 3 hours as they were moving out and I was moving in. Then they flipped it over so we heard side two for another 3 hours.  Unfortunately, that put me off Joni almost forever.  My loss obviously!
 jp33442 wrote:


STFU  Scotty 
 

 scottbolten wrote:
Bill, again, I beg of you, please stop playing so much Joni Mitchel. Horrible!
 

STFU  Scotty 
Fantastic song!
Definitely one of my top 5 songs of all time and thanks for playing Joni Mitchell.  She's one of this generation's best songwriters and performers.
sorry you guys are missin' it
Bill, again, I beg of you, please stop playing so much Joni Mitchel. Horrible!
Has she made anything that doesn't sound like stray dogs howling over who gets to sleep near the bins?
Kiss a sunset pig.
sucko barfo indeed
 RobN wrote:
This album is number 30 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. I'd put it in the top 20.


 
I'm OK with somewhere in the 20-30 range, and I'll go 8→9 today

And to add a finer point to RS' list (from Joni's Wiki):

Her 1971 album Blue is often cited as one of the best albums of all time; it was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time", the highest entry by a female artist.[5]

....Long Live RP!!

 

 pinto wrote:
Yeah, well, there's not a song on RP by Richard Thompson (Richard Thompson??) that you've rated less than a 10.  Come back when you've got better credentials.  
 
{#Roflol}  {#Yes}
 hbs47 wrote:
Don't care how good her voice is supposed to be, the phrasing is awful, pseudo jazz style, even worse than so called "proper" jazz.
 
Yeah, well, there's not a song on RP by Richard Thompson (Richard Thompson??) that you've rated less than a 10.  Come back when you've got better credentials.  
Don't care how good her voice is supposed to be, the phrasing is awful, pseudo jazz style, even worse than so called "proper" jazz.
What utter nonsense. One of the greatest ever!
 Foot wrote:

Happily agree 100%.  Would love for RP to give Joni a permanent rest.

 

This album is number 30 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. I'd put it in the top 20.

More joy for me! 
 CrispyDruid wrote:
Born and bred Californian, here. I never got this song, until I came back after living in TX for a stint.

Now this track had become my anthem - it sums up perfectly what I was feeling while I was away.

Thanks to Joni for the great track, and thanks to Bill for spinning it every so often. :-)
 
Funny, I did the opposite, yet feel the same! Texan here, but spent about a year in NorCal (ca 1989, Loma Prieta quake). And I feel exactly what Joni is singing about too. 
THE GREATEST VOICE EVER!

And I can't stand it. My loss, I know, but UGGGGH. 
I don't mind complaining about Joni Mitchell's voice - some can't take high-pitched soprano.  I get that.  What I can't understand is people insisting it should be taken off the RP playlist - not just this song, but her whole repertoire.  Why not just mute or PSD, or just listen to more mainstream stations?

I'm glad RP exists and am willing to put up with the odd artist or song that I don't like here.  Which reminds me - time for my annual donation! {#Music}
6.6? Joni deserves better than this.
Try Shadows & Light - a live album with her and Pat Metheney, Lyle Mays, Jaco Pastorius and Tom Scott. Really nice if you don't like the high pitched Joni (which I don't).
A brilliant artist, poet, songwriter and singer - especially when you you consider how many of Joni Mitchell's best songs were written before she became "famous."


 mdfergy wrote:
I can't stand Joni Mitchell's whining high-pitch "voice".. Bill plays way too many of her "songs"... A Solid 1 .....

 
Happily agree 100%.  Would love for RP to give Joni a permanent rest.
I've always missed the point with Joni, though she clearly occupies divine status with most.  The voice just scares me off and I can't get past it.  My loss.  What right do I have to comment on Joni Mitchell, for God's sake?
I can't stand Joni Mitchell's whining high-pitch "voice".. Bill plays way too many of her "songs"... A Solid 1 .....
Born and bred Californian, here. I never got this song, until I came back after living in TX for a stint. Now this track had become my anthem - it sums up perfectly what I was feeling while I was away. Thanks to Joni for the great track, and thanks to Bill for spinning it every so often. :-)
ears almost starting to bleed.... {#Yell}{#Cry}
California is a dream for so many.  So many have followed that dream and Joni does a great job of expressing that feeling from her worldly view of wanting to be back home.
 FluorideFreeMN wrote:
I just can't get into Joni's sound even after a half dozen or so tries.

Maybe it's an acquired taste, but I don't feel up to the task.  PSD moving forward.

 
try the album Court and Spark
I'm with the cannot take her group.  Spent my whole life trying to, starting with paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.  The minute I hear her I start to get annoyed.  No can do. Always grateful for the PSD button when she comes around.
 medoras wrote:
It's interesting to note the pro and con comments here for Joni Mitchell.

Her music is impossible to categorize - much like that of Kate Bush - whom listeners either love or hate.

With that said, I simply love Joni's music and California is one of my favorites songs among many. 

 
Couldn't have said it better. This is definitely one of my favourites.
 Springbok84 wrote:
Her voice is grating. The sonic equivalent of a stubbed toe.

 
...very nice metaphor!
It's interesting to note the pro and con comments here for Joni Mitchell.

Her music is impossible to categorize - much like that of Kate Bush - whom listeners either love or hate.

With that said, I simply love Joni's music and California is one of my favorite songs among many. 
looks (and sounds) like I won the PSD lottery
is 9 to low of a score?
i'm leaning towards 10 but it doesn't designate Goddess-like 
 Ikharry wrote:
I hear her too often here on RP. Very disrupting....
 

Too much Joni Mitchell? Sorry I don't understand that concept Ikharry!


Oh California... how I miss you.
I just can't get into Joni's sound even after a half dozen or so tries.

Maybe it's an acquired taste, but I don't feel up to the task.  PSD moving forward.
 boober wrote: 
Yes, it's a bit worrisome as she's being out of the limelight for a while, since the CBC interview. My fear is that we're about to lose another icon. They tend to 'disappear' from the public, celebrities in dangerous health.
one of my all time favorite albums
from one of my favorite singers
she sounds like an Angel
who lost her religion
and found love 
Her voice is grating. The sonic equivalent of a stubbed toe.
I agree with previous post.  She is my least favorite regularly played artist on RP.  Would be great if she was played a lot less!
I hear her too often here on RP. Very disrupting....
 Honeyko wrote:
Mitchell can neither sing nor play. She makes Cyndi Lauper seem like Judy Garland.
 
Many people may dislike her singing but she has long been an outstanding and innovative guitarist; ask any guitar player if you know any, because you clearly are not one yourself.
Not my thing - So where is the PSD button on an iPhone?!
This song is simply delightful.
 dwlangham wrote:
So many people love her, but her voice makes me want to howl in pain.
 
Came here to say exactly that.
 swtobias508 wrote:
Inger f dwlangham wrote:
So many people love her, but her voice makes me want to howl in pain.

 

Ditto.... like finger nails on a chalkboard! 
 
Especially on this song! While I find some others are OK, this... this... this is painful!
Inger f dwlangham wrote:
So many people love her, but her voice makes me want to howl in pain.

 

Ditto.... like finger nails on a chalkboard! 
So many people love her, but her voice makes me want to howl in pain.
Reminds me of an old girlfriend, in another stage of my life...love it!
I appreciate that many love her, but I find this to be un-listenable.
 dewhead wrote:

{#Clap} I looked up "caterwauling" in the dictionary and all it said was, "See Joni Mitchell"

 
Now, that is funny. 

One woman's caterwauling is another woman's ________________________. 
o song of my youth. Pure genius!
 sirtezza wrote:
you and your friend, it must be hard hearing much at all with your heads so far up your arses......
 
{#Lol}
{#Bananajam}Lovin Joni!
thanks Bill
 
 Honeyko wrote:
Mitchell can neither sing nor play. She makes Cyndi Lauper seem like Judy Garland.

 
{#Clap} I looked up "caterwauling" in the dictionary and all it said was, "See Joni Mitchell"
absolutely one of the top albums on that decade... and FEMALE {#Daisy} saw her in San Antonio... we sat on the floor and ate brownies!
LOVE this.  Wonderful, slice of life.
 Honeyko wrote:
Mitchell can neither sing nor play. She makes Cyndi Lauper seem like Judy Garland.
 

I’d visit your doctor as you obviously need your ears syringed. 


my heart!
Honeyko
Posted: Apr 30, 2014 - 17:06
 

Mitchell can neither sing nor play. She makes Cyndi Lauper seem like Judy Garland.

  zubeneschamli
Posted: Jan 17, 2014 - 12:54
 

Brilliant, the songwriting, the playing, and the vocal.


Someone's got a classic case of dissonance. Ain't going to pick it.  Take two glasses of merlot and call us in the morning. 
Personally -- it's terrific writing, timeless in its way but more of its 1970s time -- now blast us some Sticky Fingers. 


Mitchell can neither sing nor play. She makes Cyndi Lauper seem like Judy Garland.
Bill's doing his bit for the Golden State Chamber of Commerce.
PSD, take me away!
I totally agree, brilliant and so of a dramatic time in the world     10
Brilliant, the songwriting, the playing, and the vocal.
 laozilover wrote:
average rating 6.9? Outrageous!
 
.......... Agree 10.2 minimum
One of the best albums I've ever heard!
 Ericocean wrote:
As annoying as ever.

 
Either a completely oblivious troll or unable to recognize true genius.

California is a sample of Joni at her finest. 
As annoying as ever.
"They won't give peace a chance; that was just a dream some of us had."

Forty two years ago and her words ring truer than ever. 

She's marvelous.


Sweet!
She's to be honoured in Toronto at Massey Hall June 18 and 19. Almost 70 now and kind of reclusive. Big interview with her on the CBC to go with her Luminata Festival Honor
She was indeed a groundbreaker, but I always want to reach for the WD40 when she goes for that high register.
average rating 6.9? Outrageous!
 idiot_wind wrote:
Hey RP,

JUST PLAY THE WHOLE FREAKIN ALBUM!!!

THIS IS A TRIPPY MASTERPIECE!!!
 
Amen to idiot. For those who made the trek to Europe when she did, it is simply anthem stuff-every generation has some anthem stuff—I hope!!!
 
 jckearney wrote:
good call. he did it again..... ha ha :)

 

cubaninlondon wrote:
I bet you any money that this wonderful track is followed by Led Zeppelin's superb California.{#Angel}

Greetings from London.
 
 
and again - but I'm not complaining! {#Wave}
Hey RP,

JUST PLAY THE WHOLE FREAKIN ALBUM!!!

THIS IS A TRIPPY MASTERPIECE!!!
good call. he did it again..... ha ha :)

 

cubaninlondon wrote:
I bet you any money that this wonderful track is followed by Led Zeppelin's superb California.{#Angel}

Greetings from London.
 


I bet you any money that this wonderful track is followed by Led Zeppelin's superb California.{#Angel}

Greetings from London.
No, Yoni - no!!!
 d-don wrote:


This comment is laughable.
 
No...actually it isn't.
 gigikent wrote:
is it just me or that guitar sounds awful?
 
It's probably the dulcimer.  James Taylor is playing guitar on this track.
is it just me or that guitar sounds awful?
LowPhreak wrote:

Please use your mute button and quit dissing a great musician/songwriter.
 

Sorry I'd rather not have to, its like nails on a chalkboard and makes my dog howl. 
 deepwoodskev wrote:
Have never understood why people like her singing. It's almost laughable.
 

This comment is laughable.
Thank god for the PLAY SOMETHING DIFFERENT button
Have never understood why people like her singing. It's almost laughable.
 iTuner wrote:
Please make Joni Mitchell stop.
 
Please use your mute button and quit dissing a great musician/songwriter.


 nagsheadlocal wrote:
Has this (finally) been remastered? Sure sounds sharp and clear - or perhaps it's just my worn-out vinyl I'm used to.

The BBC clip of Joni playing this solo with a dulcimer is a magic moment. 
 
The "Buy CD" button takes you to an Amazon product page where it states "Digitally remastered reissue of her landmark 1971 album on a 24 karat gold CD from DCC." so it SHOULD should sharp and clear. {#Biggrin}{#Biggrin} But I know what you mean by "worn out vinyl" memories of album tracks. For others, here is the YouTube video of Joni playing California on the dulcimer that nagsheadlocal mentioned.


Please make Joni Mitchell stop.
 Nerubo wrote:
Joni is for me like Bob Dylan is for some other people: I can tell she's a talented songwriter, but I can't get past her voice, which is especially like an ice pick in the ear on this song.  (I usually can for Bob, it depends on the song.) I'm okay with hearing songs I don't like: if I don't get exposed to different stuff, I'll get stuck in a musical rut.

 
nano wrote:
i think the things joni mitchell does with her voice in this song are THE MOST ANNOYING form of singing i've ever heard, on par with horrible television jingles from the 80's. Normally i don't get on to leave negative comments about music i don't like. I WISH i could like joni mitchell... she's one of Tori Amos's main influences (according to Tori, who i love)... but i just don't get it. i can't understand how, at any point in human history, someone put on joni mitchell and found the music even remotely pleasant or desirable or tolerable. its weird when music can invoke this sort of extreme dislike in me. okay, that's enough for now.
 
 

Yea, I feel the same way. Only difference is that Tori Amos is horrible too so I can understand the influence thing.
Ahhh - Joni...
 nano wrote:
i think the things joni mitchell does with her voice in this song are THE MOST ANNOYING form of singing i've ever heard, on par with horrible television jingles from the 80's. Normally i don't get on to leave negative comments about music i don't like. I WISH i could like joni mitchell... she's one of Tori Amos's main influences (according to Tori, who i love)... but i just don't get it. i can't understand how, at any point in human history, someone put on joni mitchell and found the music even remotely pleasant or desirable or tolerable. its weird when music can invoke this sort of extreme dislike in me. okay, that's enough for now.
 
'80s TV jingles?  That's a peculiar reference; were the vocal stylings of TV ads that different than those of other decades?  Can you name one of these '80s television jingles that sounds anything like Joni Mitchell?  I have never heard a television jingle, from any decade, that sounded anything like Joni Mitchell.  I understand, you don't like her voice or singing style, but many millions of people have put on Joni Mitchell's music in her 45-year career and found it very pleasant and inspiring.  I like some of her tunes but am not a big fan.  Maybe you're just a little bit too sensitive or something. 
yeah...right... {#Frustrated}
Has this (finally) been remastered? Sure sounds sharp and clear - or perhaps it's just my worn-out vinyl I'm used to.

The BBC clip of Joni playing this solo with a dulcimer is a magic moment. 
 Randomax wrote:
youtube this song and watch a very young Joni singing this live with a dulcimer....and then I defy anyone to have a negative word....Joni is a poet first and foremost....paints those beautiful pictures with her music....sublime
 
Absolutely... listening to Joni sing is like enjoying a perfect drug, peaceful, warm, quiet, grounded... no ill effects - just right.

Can't. Stand. Joni. Mitchell.
Bruce Cockburn and then Joni. Stand up and start the anthem. O Canada....
 nano wrote:
i think the things joni mitchell does with her voice in this song are THE MOST ANNOYING form of singing i've ever heard, on par with horrible television jingles from the 80's. Normally i don't get on to leave negative comments about music i don't like. I WISH i could like joni mitchell... she's one of Tori Amos's main influences (according to Tori, who i love)... but i just don't get it. i can't understand how, at any point in human history, someone put on joni mitchell and found the music even remotely pleasant or desirable or tolerable. its weird when music can invoke this sort of extreme dislike in me. okay, that's enough for now.
 
How strange it is the variety of opinion....I love Joni and can't stand Tori....there, I've said it

Just can't cope with the voice.
I'd been a Joni Mitchell fan from her very first albums.  I could certainly appreciate some of the commentary about her voice.  Sometimes it would even grate on my nerves —- I, who had learned many of her songs on my guitar, and couldn't understand why the hell I couldn't get to the those high notes.  Acquired taste, maybe.  Some people just don't like high voices.
Very few voices I can't stand,this is one of them.
And James Taylor's guitar, there at the end....
 MM_Prague wrote:
I know Joni Mitchell is an acquired taste. Alas, I have never acquired it, and I doubt I ever shall....
 

Rotterdam shares your opinion. Luckily, RP plays so many other things that I love. I'm now turning the volume off for the next 2 minutes... 
Loved the album then as I do now. Classic
Very nice voice she has!!
I know Joni Mitchell is an acquired taste. Alas, I have never acquired it, and I doubt I ever shall....


Joni Mitchell by ~Ginofullstoryandpics

Rebecca Locke   ©2009-2010 ~Ginofullstoryandpics

product of an afternoon listening to joni mitchell


Joni is for me like Bob Dylan is for some other people: I can tell she's a talented songwriter, but I can't get past her voice, which is especially like an ice pick in the ear on this song.  (I usually can for Bob, it depends on the song.) I'm okay with hearing songs I don't like: if I don't get exposed to different stuff, I'll get stuck in a musical rut.

 
nano wrote:
i think the things joni mitchell does with her voice in this song are THE MOST ANNOYING form of singing i've ever heard, on par with horrible television jingles from the 80's. Normally i don't get on to leave negative comments about music i don't like. I WISH i could like joni mitchell... she's one of Tori Amos's main influences (according to Tori, who i love)... but i just don't get it. i can't understand how, at any point in human history, someone put on joni mitchell and found the music even remotely pleasant or desirable or tolerable. its weird when music can invoke this sort of extreme dislike in me. okay, that's enough for now.