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Joni Mitchell — Cactus Tree
Album: Song To A Seagull
Avg rating:
7.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1150









Released: 1968
Length: 4:32
Plays (last 30 days): 1
There's a man who's been out sailing,
In a decade full of dreams.
And he takes her to a schooner,
And he treats her like a queen.
Bearing beads from California,
With their amber stones and green.
He has called her from the harbor,
He has kissed her with his freedom,
He has heard her off to starboard
In the breaking and the breathing of the water weeds.

While she was busy being free.

There's a man who's climbed a mountain,
And he's calling out her name,
And he hopes her heart can hear,
3,000 miles he calls again,
He can think her there beside him,
He can miss her just the same.
He has missed her in the forest,
While he showed her all the flowers,
And the branches sang the chorus,
As he climbed the scaly towers of a forest tree.

While she was somewhere being free.

There's a man who sent a letter and he's waiting for her reply.
He has asked her of her travels since the day they said goodbye.
He writes, "Wish you were beside me, we could make it if we try."
He has seen her at the office, with her name on all his papers,
Through the sharing of the profits,
He will find it hard to shake her from these memories.

And she's so busy being free.

There's a lady, in the city, and she thinks she loves them all.
There's the one who's thinking of her,
There's the one who sometimes calls.
There's the one who writes her letters,
With his facts and figures scrawl.
She has brought them to her senses,
They have laughed inside her laughter.
Now she rallies her defenses,
For she fears that one will ask her for eternity.

And she's so busy being free.

There's a man who sends her medals,
He is bleeding from the war.
There's a jouster and a jester and a man who owns a store.
There's a drummer, and a dreamer,
And you know there may be more .
She will love them when she sees them,
They will lose her if they follow.
And she only means to please them,
And her heart is full and hollow like a cactus tree.

While she's so busy being free.

Like a cactus tree-
Being free.
Comments (119)add comment
 dwhayslett wrote:

No.
 Never enough Joni-- certainly never too much

Bad....Bad....Bad.....Bad .. I leave radio paradise now.....
that voice just make my ears bleed....
Joni's songs are timeless.
Absolutely. Beautiful.
Magnificent. Beyond words. Used to great effect in the film A Walk on the Moon with Viggo Mortensen and Diane Lane. 
 eveliko wrote:
Joni haters must have something against her person, or the era that she represents, etc. With all the respect I have for differences in opinions, I objectively think nothing can be reproached to her singing.
 Yeah, just try to sing along with her and you'll find out right quick how strong a vocalist she is. 

Joni haters must have something against her person, or the era that she represents, etc. With all the respect I have for differences in opinions, I objectively think nothing can be reproached to her singing.
 radioparadise9 wrote:
Options for  trolls:
- tune in to Radio Trump
- get a life
- understand the PSD option
- die in a fire
- ++++
 
{#Clap}
 Michael_Dean wrote:
handyrae
(Zero Point Field)
Posted: Feb 09, 2018 9:45

I honest think I would be happy to listen to her sing the phone book.
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Mike wrote: Exactly!  I laughed out loud.
 
The phone book has several lists. They include:
A list:  those who would be great even singing the phone book
Z list: those who only ever sang the phone book (all front and no back , 1mm deep)

YMMV

STARTER
A list
- Joan Baez
- Loreena McKennit
- Nick Drake
- Tracy Grammer
- Cesaria Evora
+++

Z list
- David Bowie
- Bryan Ferry
- +++




 swtobias508 wrote:
words cannot describe the depth of irritation and revulsion I feel when the sound of JM's voice vibrates my tympanic membrane.
 
Options for  trolls:
- tune in to Radio Trump
- get a life
- understand the PSD option
- die in a fire
- ++++
words cannot describe the depth of irritation and revulsion I feel when the sound of JM's voice vibrates my tympanic membrane.
 scottbolten wrote:
Bill, please, enough with Joni Mitchell
 
No.
Bill, please, enough with Joni Mitchell
Thank you Bill!
Never was much for Joni Mitchell, but THIS!  Zowie!
handyrae
(Zero Point Field)
Posted: Feb 09, 2018 9:45

I honest think I would be happy to listen to her sing the phone book.
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Mike wrote: Exactly!  I laughed out loud.
This one makes me think of Leonard Cohen and Joan Baez too come to think of it.

I like Joni Mitchell in all her manifestations.  
 DanFHiggins wrote:
wow
I never tire of getting led by her - what is it? Voice, lyrics, music, vibe -  the sheer artistry and synergy of all.
Simply magical

 
totally agree!!
I have always found folk Joni more satisfying than jazz Joni.  I suppose liking folk music in general more than jazz (at least jazz with vocals) could have something to do with that.  She is an amazing talent regardless and this is just magical.
I honestly think I would be happy to listen to her sing the phone book.
wow
I never tire of getting led by her - what is it? Voice, lyrics, music, vibe -  the sheer artistry and synergy of all.
Simply magical
An inordinate amount of Joni haters in the comments below. I don't get that. This is a lovely song. Did they bother to read or heed the thoughtful and evocative lyrics? Oh, sorry, that's a rhetorical question. The answer is in their cynicism. 
Vive Joni!
More Joni Please!
 RobN wrote:
{#Think} So the majority of people who actually like this song are to be denied the pleasure because you and a handful of Joni haters don't want it?
I suggest you restrict your listening to less eclectic station which panders to your personal prejudices.
 
Thank you RobN.
So tired of these whiny haters.
 greiffenstein wrote:

Totally agree, I guess we are the Joni haters.  Just don't see the charm in this rambling, whining, melodically confused song style.  Her voice is grating, her lyrics sappy, her melodic flow totally unappealing.  Keep it off RP please

 
{#Think}

So the majority of people who actually like this song are to be denied the pleasure because you and a handful of Joni haters don't want it?
I suggest you restrict your listening to less eclectic station which panders to your personal prejudices.
 nickshortie wrote:

You nailed it! Just horrible.... {#Sad}

Pitty that there is way too much JM on this Station... ruins the otherwise so nice radio experience for me every time...

 
Totally agree, I guess we are the Joni haters.  Just don't see the charm in this rambling, whining, melodically confused song style.  Her voice is grating, her lyrics sappy, her melodic flow totally unappealing.  Keep it off RP please
very well said. 
 

old_shep wrote:
If it hasn't already happened dear reader, one day you will hear a voice in song from the past and you will re-experience the hope and joy of youth.  This is not nostalgia or sentimentality, but a genuine love and gratitude for what once was, and for that now which allows us to see it.

 


If it hasn't already happened dear reader, one day you will hear a voice in song from the past and you will re-experience the hope and joy of youth.  This is not nostalgia or sentimentality, but a genuine love and gratitude for what once was, and for that now which allows us to see it.
 1wolfy wrote:
quite a pleasant vibe from Joni..I did not care for her music when I was a younger man..I have since mellowed and so with it my tastes in music have evolved

 
I liked a little of Joni's stuff when it came out, but I believe life (age) mellows must of us over time. 
And I now enjoy her much more than I originally remember liking it.  
 I think I'd enjoy being your neighbor-friend {#Drool}coloradojohn wrote:
Thanks, RP!   Sunny Sunday morning after a late spring snowstorm...this Divine song playing here...rosemary ham and mozzarella omelet...a big mug of TJ's Santa Alina...a plume of oxidized legal green seeks exchange with snowmelt juniper breeze...  Praise all!

 


quite a pleasant vibe from Joni..I did not care for her music when I was a younger man..I have since mellowed and so with it my tastes in music have evolved
 pinto wrote:

Couldn't disagree more.  There's just not enough Joni on this station.

 
I can't disagree less!  JM's poetry, singing and music often hit me right where it takes to rate a tune 7+, which I did with this one giving it an 8.  And based on the rating distribution on this particular JM tune, seems like the majority of us RPsters also like it.  Rock on!
 nickshortie wrote:

You nailed it! Just horrible.... {#Sad}

Pitty that there is way too much JM on this Station... ruins the otherwise so nice radio experience for me every time...

 
Couldn't disagree more.  There's just not enough Joni on this station.
 nickshortie wrote:

You nailed it! Just horrible.... {#Sad}

Pitty that there is way too much JM on this Station... ruins the otherwise so nice radio experience for me every time...

 
Wish there are more Joni!  Just love her!
 KevinM wrote:
Instant vomit inducer

can't stand her voice

 
You nailed it! Just horrible.... {#Sad}

Pitty that there is way too much JM on this Station... ruins the otherwise so nice radio experience for me every time...
Man, every time I hear this I want to rate it higher. Unfortunately I topped out at 10 a while ago. I'm a bit meh towards Joni in general, but I love this exquisite piece of poetry.
Thanks, RP!   Sunny Sunday morning after a late spring snowstorm...this Divine song playing here...rosemary ham and mozzarella omelet...a big mug of TJ's Santa Alina...a plume of oxidized legal green seeks exchange with snowmelt juniper breeze...  Praise all!
 

Posted: Mar 19, 2014 6:55
 

 Randomax wrote:

It was a time....a place....women were just coming into their own and standing up...I was in junior high when this came out and I wanted to be this woman when i grew up....all these lovers but I would be very busy changing the world!  ahhh....those were some powerful times.
  hayduke2 wrote:

You've made it Randomax, you are a SuperPower! (great Joni, with that 70's sketch-art album cover, I can feel my sideburns growing, my heels getting higher and a sprouting turtleneck)

 
Great Song {#Hearteyes}  (and a woman won the Presidential election then had it stolen by a chubby crook, ... )
next level Joni
I still have original vinyl.  Lots of gems on her debut.  This is the last track and always left me with the feeling of looking forward to hearing the whole album again soon.
Joni in the middle of the folk singer troubadour movement, Singer and guitar, very simple but the lyrics are what counts. they let you dream.
 RParadise wrote:
When you consider how young she was when she wrote this, it's even more amazing.
 
Agree completely; very mature perspective (with, I think, a hint of a brave face) in the lyrics.
This song is really beautiful.
it must be Sunday morning {#Meditate}


Ohhhh sing it Joni...like you were born to, sing sing SING!!
 chasech5 wrote:
I find this absolutely amazing. The interplay of guitar and voice is exquisite. I can't believe I've never heard this before.

 
I do too. Takes my breath away! And since I consider myself a Joni fan, I can't believe I've never heard this before either. {#Good-vibes}
Nothing like this song. No one like Joni.

{#Daisy}Ah, Joni~ I played this LP out, but I still have it. Exquisite tune. I wanted to be her.
 dewhead wrote:

spot on

 
sometimes I feel the same way, a part of my brain projects my arm to the off button at lightning speed, but as the rain trickles down my windows this afternoon, I can't help noticing there's a certain melancholy beauty in this song, which couldn't be performed by any other voice. Could we say I'm bipolar towards Joni Mitchell?
 KevinM wrote:
Instant vomit inducer

can't stand her voice

 
spot on
stops you in your tracks. so beautiful Joni.
Goosebumps!  Love, love, love this song and her amazing voice!
 
When you consider how young she was when she wrote this, it's even more amazing.
She is so busy being free!
 joetekubi wrote:
An angel, a real woman. Teaching us all to feel deeply,  We shall not hear her like again.

 
Well put. I agree.
An angel, a real woman. Teaching us all to feel deeply,  We shall not hear her like again.
I hear Jorma Kaukonen's Water Song instrumental chops in here. Wonder what his inspiration might have been?
This gives me goosebumps!  Love Joni!
 Randomax wrote:
Please get well Joni.....many, many good wishes to you

 
Makes me so sad hearing about her health problems {#Cry}

So many 60s heroes getting old and passing too.
Please get well Joni.....many, many good wishes to you
You had to have been there...
 dewhead wrote:
Just seems to drone on and on and on and on.... I know some people think she's the best thing since sliced bread but I don't get it.

 
Sliced bread is very overrated. Joni is great though.
 dewhead wrote:
Just seems to drone on and on and on and on.... I know some people think she's the best thing since sliced bread but I don't get it.

 
Ditto.
{#Daisy} Thanks Bill!  Great song!
Just seems to drone on and on and on and on.... I know some people think she's the best thing since sliced bread but I don't get it.
 LizK wrote:
Note the diction.  Every word clear , understandable, no mumbling.  Much more to the technical mastery here, but Joni & Barbra Streisand both know their diction.

 
All of the above and NO "enhancements" just the pure voice.

Really love this tune.
oh goodness. thank you for the beauty!
Play some songs from Blue!
 KevinM wrote:
Instant vomit inducer

can't stand her voice

PSD and quit bitching.  A great song.


And this my friends is how to sing.
Joni is my soulmate, since I first heard Blue in 1971. I have everyone of her albums on vinyl, duplicated them all on CD and have several of her published songbooks for piano. I try and play them as best I can. I declare myself her biggest fan. I have one big complaint though. Joni drew and/or painted all of the cover art for almost every album she ever released. Joni's paintings are awesome, in my opinion, but....if you visit her website you will find a lot of her art and some of it with a teaser to sign up to receive an email when they might be released as prints. I signed up 8 years ago.....still no email announcing their release for purchase. I've visited numerous poster websites to find prints of her artwork. I can only conclude that Joni doesn't ever want to commercialize her art, i.e. possibly until she's gone from this planet whence my guess is she'll donate the proceeds from her art to a cosmic charity or to her long lost daughter that she reconnected with a decade ago. I still love ya Joni. Guess I'll just have to stare at my 33 1/3 LP record covers.
Sweet wonderful voice, great lovely poetry that was so much a part of the sixties as many have mentioned below.
Still beautiful today.  
Note the diction.  Every word clear , understandable, no mumbling.  Much more to the technical mastery here, but Joni & Barbra Streisand both know their diction.
 Randomax wrote:

It was a time....a place....women were just coming into their own and standing up...I was in junior high when this came out and I wanted to be this woman when i grew up....all these lovers but I would be very busy changing the world!  ahhh....those were some powerful times.


 
You've made it Randomax, you are a SuperPower! (great Joni, with that 70's sketch-art album cover, I can feel my sideburns growing, my heels getting higher and a sprouting turtleneck)
 KevinM wrote:
Instant vomit inducer

can't stand her voice

 
Painful for me and my dogs
Instant vomit inducer

can't stand her voice
It is just amazing how much so many artists owe to Joni. So much of her lives in those who came  after her.
There is much in Joni's vast range of music that I have always appreciated but something about this song always touches me deeply, forcing me to pause and listen often reflecting on the past. Any song that does that gets a 10
Joni is one of the all-time greats. A genius imo.


This is a great song from an album that gets overlooked by her later recordings. Amazing how great she was right from the start. A lot like Neil Young and Richard Thompson in that regard. Joni, Neil and Richard wasted no time.
Her 70th birthday was 4 days ago.  Still a helluva woman.
That voice! Sublime.
Genius
 salzburg4321 wrote:
I love her, appreciate her, and also find her depressing.

 
Embrace that!
 unclehud wrote:
She is an extraordinary composer and performer.  This is proof.

 
Totally agree. Many artists are compared to her, but none have ever deserved the accolade. Some approach, but none match her talent.
10 ~ {#Good-vibes} ~ 10
She is an extraordinary composer and performer.  This is proof.
I am a puddle of tears right now. So amazing.
 Amen to that!!


meloman wrote:
Popular music as true art. I'm glad to have come of age during the era of Joni Mitchell. A true artist.

 


i am open minded in the sense that i acknowledge that music is subject to each individual's sensibilities; but how do you rate this song anything lower than an 8?
 

absolutely gorgeous...  love this song...  love this album...
 
 bachbeet wrote:
Always liked this song.  This album is underrated.
 
Indeed. I am part of the problem, and she is the Queen. What a songsmith she is...
Shocked that I had never rated this song!  Must be at least a nine!  Naah, it's Joni!  Must be ten.  Goddess Like!
 rolo wrote:
:D ... just Beautiful ... :D
 
Agreed {#High-five}
Love Joni.  Grew up listening to her.  Magic.
Always liked this song.  This album is underrated.
{#Group-hug}
I was just thinking of this song! Brings back wonderful memories - what a great album!
 blotto wrote:
twice in 9 years, and I am sick of this already.
 

Please find an appropriate place to 'Chunder' or if you wish, 'The Technicolour Yawn' should suffice your illness.
Popular music as true art. I'm glad to have come of age during the era of Joni Mitchell. A true artist.
ah, sheesh. i had a relationship that this song describes to a tee - she was so busy out there being free - that it is hard to listen to. but a beautiful song, anyway.
The only time it's depressing is when I don't feel free.
I love her, appreciate her, and also find her depressing.
 vesta0424 wrote:
I get depressed every time I listen to her.
 
How bout it!

I get depressed every time I listen to her.
Any Joni, any time
What a treasure Joni is!  - easy 9.
 katehof wrote:
So much for my groove... it has been killed. Please prepare me next time, a quickie intro like, "and now were gonna bring down a bit, pull out your bell bottoms and take a seat on the bean bag."
 
It was a time....a place....women were just coming into their own and standing up...I was in junior high when this came out and I wanted to be this woman when i grew up....all these lovers but I would be very busy changing the world!  ahhh....those were some powerful times.

Forgot all about this one. Great to hear it again. That line about "she's so busy being free" is is the kicker.
...surprisingly not bad at all for joni mitchell...
tears with this one...what an amazing voice

I find this absolutely amazing. The interplay of guitar and voice is exquisite. I can't believe I've never heard this before.
 katehof wrote:
So much for my groove... it has been killed. Please prepare me next time, a quickie intro like, "and now were gonna bring down a bit, pull out your bell bottoms and take a seat on the bean bag."
 
You say that like it's a bad thing...

twice in 9 years, and I am sick of this already.
 rolo wrote:
:D ... just Beautiful ... :D
 

AGREED!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
:D ... just Beautiful ... :D
fingernails scraping across a blackboard.
So much for my groove... it has been killed. Please prepare me next time, a quickie intro like, \"and now were gonna bring down a bit, pull out your bell bottoms and take a seat on the bean bag.\"