Joni Mitchell First Four LP Box June 25th From Rhino Celebrates Blue 's 50th Anniversary

Rhino releases on June 25th a box set containing re-mastered versions of Joni Mitchell's first four Reprise albums (1968-71). The date is the 3 days after the 50th anniversary of the original release of Blue, which many fans consider a pivotal album in her recording career and one of the most thoughtful musical expressions of love lost ever. It was also her final Reprise release. Blue, like albums by Nick Drake and a few others from that era continue to be rediscovered by succeeding generations of fans and musicians alike.

Mitchell and mixing engineer Matt Lee re-mixed Song to a Seagull. "The original mix was atrocious," says Mitchell. "It sounded like it was recorded under a jello bowl, so I fixed it!" Even original producer David Crosby would surely agree.

While the Song to a Seagull was remixed to 192/24 digital and that LP was cut from the high resolution file, the other three, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, and Blue were cut from the original analog master tapes. Bernie Grundman mastered both the CDs and the LPs. Both RTI and Optimal are pressing the LPs for different global regions.

Both the CD box ($49.98) and the 4-LP 180gram box ($109.98) will be available June 25th limited to 10,000 copies each. The remasters will also be available digitally on streaming services. The box cover features an unseen self-portrait Mitchell created during that time. The set includes an essay by Brandi Carlisle.

Fans who pre-order either version from Joni Mitchell's website will receive an exclusive limited edition 7"x7" print of the box cover art. At the website, launched today, you can also find "tsotchkes" including apparel and home goods. I went there and was unable to find "a case of you".

Analogue+Fan's picture

When in these they are said .. "Were cut from the original analog master tapes. Bernie Grundman mastered both the CDs and the LPs."

Is this because these vinyls are analog .?

Michael Fremer's picture
The vinyl (no vinyls, please) is cut from tape other than Song to a Seagull, which is a remix to 192/24 bit digitals
romanotrax's picture

I have a copy of Blue done my Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman that I'm sure was listed as the first time this album was cut from the original analog master. Am I wrong? It says KG and SH in the deadwax. Also pressed at RTI.

xtcfan80's picture

R U sure U want Vinyls????

seltaeb's picture

I'ms sures hes wantss vinylssss

Eskisi's picture

What we need today is a single, blank track LP that crackles, pops and hisses in the background, while we listen to Spotify, to add that "vinyl warmth." Oh, and maybe some broadsheet sized prints, posters of the artist to feel like 1975.

seltaeb's picture

You're right Eskisi. That IS what we want. And also, maybe we want some broadsheet sized prints, posters of the artist to feel like 1975.

Michael Fremer's picture
To go fork himself. BTW you might find this amusing: I wanted to tell someone on Twitter to go himself but instead to avoid the vulgarity I write "go fork yourself". Twitter treated to suspend my account unless I remove the tweet because it was against Twitter rules to wish someone bodily harm (with a fork).
xtcfan80's picture

Hell...While we're dreaming, let's go back to ancient times, say to 1958 before anti-vinyl trolls walked the earth.

JEB-42's picture

Thanks for doing the leg work and finding the sources Michael. I was unable to find them elsewhere. Made a difference in my buying now or waiting.

brednjam1's picture

Anybody know if Clouds will be reissued separately?

cundare's picture

Actually, it's "Seagull", not "Clouds," that I think most people will be interested in purchasing separately. Really, anybody (like Mikey & me) who was alive when these albums were originally released probably already has so many versions of each release that there has to be a real reason to buy yet another copy. The revelation that Joni has FINALLY found a way to fix Crosby's well-meaning but amateurish recording technique -- well, I'd consider that sufficient reason to buy another copy of this so-underrated album. But I really don't need 4th or 6th copies of the other three. Is anybody at Rhino thinking along the same lines? In the interim, I guess I'll settle for the likely Tidal MQA version, but, boy, it would be great to have the new version on LP.

cundare's picture

By the way, anybody who still believes that "Seagull" is nothing more than Joni's early attempt at Joan Baez-class "folk music", composed before she really "bloomed" as an artist, should read Lloyd Whitesell's outstanding book "The Music of Joni Mitchell". It contains analysis of Joni's lyrics, chord progressions, arrangements, vocal stylings, "personae," melodies, etc. -- having something intelligent and nonobvious to say about every track she's recorded -- and in particular explains clearly just how innovative and sophisticated this first album was. I've struggled through a few similar books that try to present a musicological analysis of Joni's music, but the operative word here is "struggle." Whitesell writes clearly and passionately, and even a wizened old Joni fan like me found the book to be a page-turner. Lloyd is the reason why my copy of "Don Juan", which I'd played maybe 10 times in 40 years, is now one of my 2 or 3 favorite Joni releases -- I'd completely missed the fact that it's a "concept album", like "Hejira," of great sophistication and depth. I highly recommended this book to anybody who can read simple score notation and is passingly familiar with poetic conventions and music theory. OK, nuff said, back to AnalogPlanet...

Vinyl On Tubes's picture

Clouds wasn't included in the 2009 reissues. And I already have the 2007 Blue, so I'm only interested in Clouds.

Ivan Lietaert's picture

So... I looked at the official store. I live in mainland Europe. Mitchell's eurostore is in the UK.
OK, let me repeat that one: Joni Mitchell's official eurostore is located in the UK!
What???? For some reason, the vinyl costs 50% more, 142 euro. The CDs are 20 per cent cheaper, at 41 euro. And then the Brits kindly say they will add taxes and import duties (here no details are given), and longer delivery times, unspecified.
My point: just for that reason alone, there's no way I'm going to buy Mitchell's box!

Wymax's picture

Have a look at The price is 128 EUR from Germany.

HoomanR's picture

After looking online it looks like this is a Bernie Remaster vs. what's already out in the wild by Rhino cut by KPG. Is that correct? If so, is it worth having both, specially if I'm a Blue fan?

Grant M's picture

the hoffman/grey version of Blue is fantastic, i can't imagine buying all 4 titles in this set to get the cut by Bernie. If the set of the set is of interest then go for it.

Grant M's picture

sorry for the typo.

OldschoolE's picture

I have about 7 early Joni Mitchell LPs (original pressings), but the one I do not have is "Blue". I'm not a huge Joni Mitchell fan despite ending up with 7 LPs from her discography (not sure how that happened either),but it is her writing that does it for me.
I would look into "Blue", but my record buying days came to an end with covid (no more record fairs and such, only left with overpriced record stores). By overpriced I mean: $7 to $10 for a used record of at least highly questionable condition. If the record showed signs of being well kept, I'd do $7 to $10 all day. (Part of the great thing about record fairs or record swap meets, tons of selection and higher chances of pulling decent records for $5 and up with a little bit of room for negotiation if needed (did not need it much).
I don't know why, but I just can't get myself into re-releases and digital remasters and all the modern record stuff. I'm just an original pressing guy, hard core I guess.
I will say though, that I can agree with Joni about the "A Song To A Seagull" mix. It is not often I do not like an original pressing, that is one of the few exceptions.

TheSimonToUrGarfunkel's picture

Michael, do you know anything about the jackets on these issues? Are they tip-on Stoughton's?