Don Juan's Reckless Daughter

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Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
Studio album by Joni Mitchell
Released December 13, 1977[1]
Recorded 1977
A&M Studios, Hollywood; orchestra recorded at Columbia Studio C, New York; additional recording at Basing Street Studio, London
Genre Folk rock, folk jazz, jazz fusion, world
Length 59:38
Label Asylum
Producer Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell chronology
Hejira
(1976)
Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
(1977)
Mingus
(1979)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars [2]
Pitchfork Media 6.1/10[3]
Robert Christgau B−[4]
Rolling Stone not rated[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[6]

Don Juan's Reckless Daughter is a 1977 double album by the folk/pop/rock musician Joni Mitchell. It is unusual for its experimental style, expanding even further on the jazz fusion sound of Mitchell's Hejira from the year before. Mitchell has stated that, close to completing her contract with Asylum Records, she allowed this album to be looser than anything she'd done previously.[7]

Don Juan's Reckless Daughter was released in December 1977 to mixed reviews, but managed to peak at #25 on the Billboard charts and attained gold record status within three months.

Experimentation[edit]

Much of the album is experimental, but especially so are: "Overture," played with six simultaneous guitars, some in different tunings from others, with vocal echo effects; "The Tenth World," an extended-length instrumental of Latin percussion; and "Dreamland," which features only percussion and voices (including Chaka Khan).

Most experimental of all is "Paprika Plains," a 16-minute song played on improvised piano and arranged with a full orchestra; it takes up all of Side 2. In it, Mitchell narrates a first-person description of a late-night gathering in a bar frequented by Indigenous peoples of Canada, touching on themes of hopelessness and alcoholism. At one point in the narrative, the narrator leaves the setting to watch the rain and enters into a dreamstate, and the lyrics – printed in the liner notes but not sung – become a mixture of references to innocent childhood memories, a nuclear explosion and an expressionless tribe gazing upon the dreamer. The narrator returns inside after the rain passes. In speaking to Anthony Fawcett about working on "Paprika Plains," Mitchell said:

"The Improvisational, the spontaneous aspect of this creative process – still as a poet – is to set words to the music, which is a hammer and chisel process. Sometimes it flows, but a lot of times it's blocked by concept. And if you're writing free consciousness – which I do once in a while just to remind myself that I can, you know, because I'm fitting little pieces of this puzzle together – the end result must flow as if it was spoken for the first time."[7]

Cover[edit]

The album jacket is a photomontage and includes three photographs of Mitchell. In the foreground she is in blackface as her "reputed alter ego, a black hipster named Art Nouveau."[8][9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Joni Mitchell, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Overture - Cotton Avenue"   6:41
2. "Talk to Me"   3:45
3. "Jericho"   3:22
Side two
No. Title Length
4. "Paprika Plains"   16:21
Side three
No. Title Length
5. "Otis and Marlena"   4:09
6. "The Tenth World" (Joni Mitchell, Don Alias, Manolo Badrena, Alex Acuña, Airto Moreira, Jaco Pastorius) 6:45
7. "Dreamland"   4:38
Side four
No. Title Length
8. "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"   6:36
9. "Off Night Backstreet"   3:20
10. "The Silky Veils of Ardor"   4:01

Personnel[edit]

Don Juan's Reckless Daughter attracted contributions from prominent jazz musicians, including two members of Weather Report- Jaco Pastorius, and Wayne Shorter, who would later become frequent collaborators of Mitchell's.

The complete list of musicians is as follows:

  • Joni Mitchell – guitar and vocals, piano on "Paprika Plains", backing vocals on "Paprika Plains"
  • Alejandro Acuña – congas/cowbell and backing vocals on "The Tenth World", shakers on "Dreamland", ankle bells on "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"
  • Airto – surdo on "The Tenth World" and "Dreamland"
  • Don Alias – bongos on "Jericho", congos/clave and backing vocals on "The Tenth World", snaredrum and sandpaper blocks on "Dreamland", shaker on "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"
  • Manolo Badrena – congas/coffee cans and lead vocal on "The Tenth World", congas on "Dreamland", credited "in spirit" on "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"
  • El Bwyd – the split-tongued spirit on "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"
  • Larry Carlton – electric guitar on "Otis And Marlena"
  • Michel Colombier – piano on "Otis And Marlena"
  • Glenn Frey – backing vocals on "Off Night Backstreet"
  • Michael Gibbs – conductor of orchestra on "Paprika Plains" and "Off Night Backstreet"
  • John Guerin – drums
  • Bobbye Hall – credited in spirit on "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"
  • Chaka Khan – backing vocals on "The Tenth World" and "Dreamland"
  • Jaco Pastorius – bass, bongos on "The Tenth World", cowbells on "Dreamland", bass on "Off Night Backstreet", bass on "Talk to Me", bass on "Jericho", bass on "Paprika Plains", bass on "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter", bass on "Overture-Cotton Avenue"
  • Wayne Shorter – soprano saxophone on "Jericho" and "Paprika Plains"
  • J.D. Souther – backing vocals on "Off Night Backstreet"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter". Rate Your Music. Retrieved May 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Ruhlmann, W. (2011). "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter – Joni Mitchell | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Christgau, R. (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: joni mitchell". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (2011). "Joni Mitchell: Don Juan's Reckless Daughter : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  6. ^ The Rolling Stone Album Guide – Joni Mitchell
  7. ^ a b Joni Mitchell Biography from jonimitchell.com Retrieved 2008-08-22
  8. ^ Evelyn White, "Joni Mitchell, Herizons, June 2010. Reproduced on a fair-use basis in Joni Mitchell.com Library. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  9. ^ Larry David Smith, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, and the torch song tradition (2004), Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-97392-1. p.64.