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The two Blu-ray discs in this set present a perfect picture of Mitchell's life and music for old fans and new.

Music Blu-ray Review: Joni Mitchell – ‘Woman of Heart and Mind’ & ‘Painting with Words and Music’

Woman of Heart and Mind and Painting with Words and Music celebrate Joni Mitchell, who is one of those artists who impacted the lives of her early fans in lasting ways. Those fans who have followed Mitchell since the ’60s know that she has influenced the way they think about many things from trees to love and life in general. One of her great talents is to use marvelously vivid images that stick in the mind and keep her message embedded in the brain for decades: “big yellow taxi,” “tree museum,” “bows and flows of angel hair,” for example.

jonimitchell3Because Mitchell’s popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years, the two Blu-rays are likely to have surprises for even her fans. Woman of Heart and Mind is a documentary from 2003 which explores her life and music. featuring commentary by many of her friends and associates as well as an interview with Mitchell herself. The discussion of her relationships and her search for the daughter she gave up at 19 and found again at 40 are discreet, as they should be. But the documentary has much to tell us about Mitchell’s childhood and early career and is greatly enhanced by beautiful photographs and archival material.

Painting with Words and Music presents a concert Mitchell performed on the Warner’s Lot in Los Angeles in 1998. It covers a number of songs from three decades of her career, some more well known than others but all sure to please those who love her sensitive and beautiful music. The songs are sometimes accompanied by much too brief scenes of Mitchell’s artwork.

An example of a song with which I was unfamiliar that will now be a favorite is “Nothing Can Be Done,” in which Mitchell explains that you can cure a cold or the flu but when it comes to love nothing can be done. The setlist also includes “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Woodstock,” probably her best known songs, and one of the saddest songs this reviewer has ever heard, “The Magdelene Laundries.”

Delightful moments during the concert include some charming tales that Mitchell shares with the intimate audience and an unforgettable moment when she takes off her shoes and dances with one of her background singers who was sitting in the audience.

Aside from her own songs, Mitchell performs a light-hearted version of “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and a surprisingly effective version of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man.”

This Blu-ray offers absolutely crystal clear quality and sound. It is SD but it is upscaled standard definition with uncompressed stereo and features DTS HD-Master Audio Surround Sound. There is no crackle or extraneous sound and I can detect no pixilation at all.

This Blu-ray set is a wonderful gift for Mitchell fans and would be an excellent way to introduce new listeners to her music. Buy a copy and invite your friends or your kids’ friends who have poetic souls over to listen!

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.

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