Joni Mitchell's Blue was an undisputed groundbreaking album in folk music. To celebrate five decades since its release, Mitchell has unveiled five alternate and unreleased recordings from the album's sessions, to be featured in a box set of archival material to be released later in 2021.
Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes) includes demos of the original album's beloved tracks "A Case of You" and "California," an alternate version of the classic "River" with French horns, plus two rare and unreleased songs: an unheard recording of "Urge for Going," later released as a B-side in 1972, and "Hunter," a song performed live in concert by Mitchell but cut from Blue at the last minute. The album cover features an alternate shot of Joni by Tim Considine, from the same shoot that produced the original album sleeve.
Blue is one of four classic albums that will be reissued this week in The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) box set. But the excitement for Joni fans doesn't end there: on Oct. 29, Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) will be released on five CDs or 10 LPs. It covers the same span of time as The Reprise Albums but through more than 100 unreleased tracks. The set will feature rare studio outtakes and live recordings, including a 1968 performance at a coffeehouse in Ottawa that was personally recorded by Jimi Hendrix as well as Mitchell's first performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1969.
Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2 will feature rare photos and writings from Mitchell's personal archive as well as notes featuring conversations about the era between Joni and writer/director Cameron Crowe. The set's complete Carnegie Hall performance will also be released on its own as a 3LP set, available on black or white vinyl.