Joni Mitchell / Shadows and Light

More Joni Mitchell

  • An excellent copy of Mitchell’s second live album with Double Plus (A++) grades on all FOUR sides of these vintage Asylum pressings
  • The sound is full-bodied, lively and dynamic, with wonderful immediately to Joni’s remarkably present and breathy vocals
  • If you’re a fan of Joni’s more experimental work from the mid to late ’70s, this album is a Must Own
  • “…it serves as a good retrospective of her jazzy period from 1975-1979. As expected, she assembles a group of all-star musicians including Pat Metheny (guitar), Jaco Pastorius (bass), Lyle Mays (keyboards), and Michael Brecker (saxophone) who give these compositions more energy than on the studio recordings.”

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG


Four outstanding sides! We recently had a huge shootout for this famous double album and this copy blew our minds with Double Plus sonics and reasonanbly quiet vinyl from start to finish. In the high-stakes game of Better Records Double Album Poker, that’s a full house, man! This one gives you the kind of you are there immediacy and transparency that put you front and center for a late ’70s jazzy Joni Mitchell show. Not too many copies will do that!

Joni’s voice is breathy and present with real texture, and the three-dimensional imaging gives the music a real sense of space — just like you’d get at a concert. This helps convey the intimacy of the songs and the performances, and isn’t that what we audiophiles got in this crazy hobby for in the first place?

Good luck finding another copy that sounds this good and plays this quiet on all four sides! It was a huge project to clean and play so many pressings of this double LP, and I wouldn’t expect that we’ll get around to this shootout again any time too soon. If you’re a fan of Joni and particularly of her work from this era, you don’t want to miss out on this one.

These vintage Asylum pressings have the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, these are the records for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What The Best Sides of Shadows and Light Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1980
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing these records are the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find pressings that sound as good as these two do.

What We’re Listening For On Shadows and Light

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Andy Johns and Henry Lewy in this case, two of our favorites — would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

The Players

  • Backing Vocals – The Persuasions
  • Bass – Jaco Pastorius
  • Drums – Don Alias
  • Electric Guitar – Joni Mitchell
  • Keyboards – Lyle Mays
  • Lead Guitar – Pat Metheny
  • Saxophone – Michael Brecker

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Introduction
In France They Kiss on Main Street
Edith and the Kingpin
Coyote
Goodby Pork Pie Hat

Side Two

The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines
Amelia
Pat’s Solo
Hejira

Side Three

Black Crow
Don’s Solo
Dreamland
Free Man in Paris
Band Introduction
Furry Sings the Blues

Side Four

Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
Shadows and Light
God Must Be a Boogie Man
Woodstock

AMG  Review

As expected, she assembles a group of all-star musicians including Pat Metheny (guitar), Jaco Pastorius (bass), Lyle Mays (keyboards), and Michael Brecker (saxophone) that give these compositions more energy than on the studio recordings. The musicians are given room to jam, and they sound terrific on up-tempo songs such as “Coyote” and “In France They Kiss on Main Street.”

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