Joni Mitchell celebrates 50th anniversary of ‘Blue’ with new demos EP

She also has a new archives album on the way later this year

Joni Mitchell has released a new demos and outtakes EP to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her classic album ‘Blue’.

Released on June 22, 1971, ‘Blue’ is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. It explores various facets of relationships following the iconic musician’s breakup with Graham Nash.

Today (June 21), Rhino has released ‘Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes)’, a digital EP that debuts five unreleased recordings from the making of the original LP that will also appear on an upcoming archives collection.

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The album’s new tracks include demos for ‘California’ and an early version of ‘A Case Of You’ that features different lyrics from those heard on the final album.

There are also two alternate takes on the EP. The first being a version of ‘River’ that adds French horns, unlike the album version, which features Mitchell solo on piano. The other alternate take is for ‘Urge For Going’. Mitchell originally wrote the song in the mid-Sixties and often included in her early live sets.

She later revisited the song during the sessions for ‘Blue’, recording a version that included strings, that differs from the version that was  later released as the B-side to her 1972 hit ‘You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio’.

The final unreleased song included on ‘Blue 50’ is a studio recording for ‘Hunter’, another song that was cut from ‘Blue’ at the last minute that Mitchell later performed live but never officially released on an album.

Listen to ‘Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes)’ below:

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In addition to the demos and unreleased tracks, ‘Blue 50’ also includes a striking new cover featuring a previously unseen alternate photo of Mitchell by Tim Considine from the same show as the original cover art.

The ‘Blue’ celebrations don’t stop there. Mitchell and Rhino are also planning on releasing a new collection called ‘Joni Mitchell Archives Vol.2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971)’ later in the year on October 29.

Available as a 5-CD set, as well as a 10-LP collection on 180-gram vinyl, limited to 4,000 copies, ‘Archives Vol.2’ has been sequenced chronologically “to follow Mitchell in real time through one of the most creative periods of her career”.

The collection uncovers several unreleased Mitchell originals, including ‘Jesus’, recorded in 1969 at her friend Jane Lurie’s New York apartment in Chelsea, which also served as the setting for the song ‘Chelsea Morning’.

Other highlights include Mitchell’s performance at Le Hibou Coffee House in Ottawa on March 19, 1968, which was recorded by Jimi Hendrix, and a concert at the Paris Theatre in London on October 29, 1970 that was broadcast on the BBC.

‘Archives Vol.2’ serves as a companion to the upcoming boxset ‘The Reprise Albums (1968-1971)’, which arrives on July 2 in 4-CD, 4-LP, and digital versions. It includes newly remastered versions of ‘Blue’ (1971) and the three albums that came before it: ‘Song To A Seagull’ (1968), ‘Clouds’ (1969), and ‘Ladies Of The Canyon’ (1970).

You can pre-order the digital and CD versions of ‘Joni Mitchell Archives Vol.2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971)’ here. To find out more information and to pre-order the limited vinyl versions, visit Mitchell’s official website.

Meanwhile, Laura Marling has narrated a new audio documentary about Joni Mitchell for BBC Radio 4.

The singer voiced Blue: Pain And Pleasure to mark the 50th anniversary of the classic album.

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