Joni Mitchell - Coyote (Live) - The Last Waltz
August 11, 2017 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Joni Mitchell - Coyote (Live) - The Last Waltz A luminous performance of an amazing song. Reportedly written about a fling with Sam Shepard.

(This version shows what a great bassist Rick Danko was. He plays beautifully, even when compared to the legendary Jaco Pastorius who played on the album version.)
posted by OmieWise (36 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tired: Oh no an aging celebrity's name in a MeFi post, I hope they aren't dead.
Wired: Oh no did Joni Mitchell just milkshake duck herself?
posted by Space Coyote at 1:34 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


Oh, shit, of course I should have included a prominent statement of her continued aliveness.
posted by OmieWise at 1:46 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


In the string of videos along side is Bob Dylan singing Forever Young, with The Band, which includes the same musicians as backed up Joni Mitchell in the video above.
posted by Oyéah at 2:04 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I forgot how beautifully shot that movie is. I knew that Scorsese directed this but just looked up who the cinematographer was and see that he, Michael Chapman, also shot Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fugitive and a ton of great looking films. The lighting makes Mitchell just glow in this clip.
posted by octothorpe at 2:04 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Last Waltz??? Scared me.
posted by latkes at 2:05 PM on August 11


a lot of these musicians, including joni, still get royalties - if you feel like buying The Last Waltz. It's filled with awesome including neil young doing a staggering version of helpless.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:09 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


this is majestic
posted by PinkMoose at 2:21 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Nice find!
posted by latkes at 2:37 PM on August 11


neil young doing a staggering version of helpless.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:09 PM on August 11

Well, staggered.
On account of the giant rock in his nostril.
posted by ZaphodB at 3:10 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


Weird thing happened to me with Joni Mitchell the other day. I was reading Reddit (hold the rotten fruit), a thread asking about the best acting people had ever seen, and one of the most popular replies cited a particular scene by Emma Thompson in Love, Actually (which I hadn't seen). So I YouTubed it. In the movie, Thompson's character receives a present, a Joni Mitchell CD, and her reaction to that gift is set to Both Sides Now.

What was odd about was that I thought they'd used a cover of the song --- I was only familiar with this version, basically, from her debut. I came to realise, the version in the movie was also Joni, just a version recorded decades later. Like this.

Very different, those voices. Cigarettes, of course. And time. Time, time, time. Same words and same singer, two songs.
posted by Diablevert at 3:11 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


It's good, and rick danko gets some of that fretless tone going, but this is just better
posted by pyramid termite at 3:18 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I can't say enough about how amazing Joni is, but how cool is it that you could take her out of that video, in that outfit with that hairstyle and she'd fit right into 2017?
posted by kimberussell at 3:53 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


So Sam Shepard was Coyote? I had no idea. Makes sense though. I'd wondered since reading an interview with Joni in which she discussed, with disdain, Leonard Cohen showing up at her house with his Roshi, perhaps trying to set them up. She mentioned that at the time she was already going with a very handsome actor. He would fit the bill.

Did Joni ever write an autobiography? If so I would love to read it. Even if she didn't name drop people like this. And especially if she did. I would certainly like to hear about her meeting with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche ("I met a friend of spirit/he drank and he womanized...").
posted by ecourbanist at 4:03 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


but this is just better

Yeah, Jaco Pastorius is genius, and was gone too soon. Plus it's the way I've listened eight million times.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:51 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Wasn't Judy Collin's cover of Both Sides Now the big hit that you heard on the radio? Joni's version was much more spare, in her gorgeous high soprano.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:56 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I always thought it was about Peter Coyote.
posted by wormwood23 at 5:19 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Jaco Pastorius is someone to listen to if you like music that is busy with furious notes constantly bustling all of the time. He was a genius, but he didn't pace himself.
posted by ovvl at 5:36 PM on August 11


Oh wow, my fav song by one of my fav singers. For the short time we tried living in Canada I was spitting distance from the Bay of Fundy, and every time I mentally noted that fact Joni would be there with me singing Coyote. An earworm but I never grew tired of it.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:47 PM on August 11


I just fucking love this song, that is all. I could drone on & on about how Joni informed my ideas about feminism, & jazz, & lyrical experimentation-- her words - her words -- but I won't do that today. I'll just stand in awe at such an incredible artist & such an incredible piece of art.

Also, The Band was pretty good.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:09 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Michael Chapman, also shot Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fugitive and a ton of great looking films. The lig

I just got Taxi Driver on blu-ray, & while I have mixed feelings about the screenplay, it really is just beautiful.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:13 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Curious Joni-related thingette of the week - watching Reginald D. Hunter's Songs of the South last week, when he gets to Memphis and mentions Beale Street and immediately Furry Sings the Blues comes into my head, because I know relatively little about Memphis, but have Hejira burned into my brain. Then Furry Sings the Blues comes up on the soundtrack, because obviously I'm not the only one.

As this seems to be a slightly unfocused thread, I hope no one minds me recommending Reginald D. Hunter's series about music in the American South, which I enjoyed immensely.

I think if I needed to pick out what I were my favourite lyrics in popular song, it would probably go to this album - they seem casual and thrown together, but are beautifully made. I used to listen to it when I was young, awestruck at how it was possible to make such songs. I'm not sure that most confessional songwriters get that it's only interesting if you have an interesting life, or if you also manage to make the song about something else, something deeper, at the same time. Mitchell managed both.
posted by Grangousier at 7:19 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Reportedly written about a fling with Sam Shepard.

Who starred with Levon Helm in The Right Stuff.

It's all connected, people!
posted by octothorpe at 7:23 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


But he didn't pace himself.

I can't really listen to Weather Report because of this, & it's mostly true -- all the notes all the time -- except with Joni. It feels like he he had some sort of respect for those songs & his playing was at it's absolute finest with her because it was about the songs. Measured, deliberate & emotional.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:24 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Wait, Jack Ridley is Levon Helm?

MIND DONE BLONE YO
posted by mwhybark at 7:41 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


In a highway service station,
Over the month of June
Was a photograph of the Earth
Taken coming back from the moon.
And you couldn't see a city
On that marbled bowling ball
Or a forest or a highway,
Or me here, least of all.

Her art lives in my heart.
posted by Oyéah at 8:36 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I love Joni Mitchell! Her backup vocals on Helpless are also staggering... despite being a blue hue, and despite the incredible (and coked up) performance of Neil Young she has always stolen that song. So much Canadian power on that stage!

One of my favorite songs she made is Jungle Line, and in fact the whole Hissing of Summer Lawns is amazing. That album was apparently a big influence on Bjork, and Jungle Line sounds like an ur-Bjork tune. It's really incredible.
posted by juice boo at 11:35 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Bizarrely current and awesome for me...last Saturday at my parent's place in "north Ontario" the whole family was there and my brother threw on the Last Waltz DVD at about 12am. I hadn't seen it in a while, my recollections were Neil's giant lump of cocaine and the sad footage of a way-drunk Richard. But the Joni song stands out as a huge highlight, along with the Mavis and the Staples singers. Love it. Joni invented that style: prosey, stream of consciousness open strumming; cutting, fuck-you lyrics.
Alanis's aping this style aways bugged me in the 90's because I thought Joni had nailed it so much better before.
posted by chococat at 11:36 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


It's good, and rick danko gets some of that fretless tone going, but this is just better

I also love that version, but there is something about Joni's expressiveness in the Last Waltz cut that I find slays me.
posted by OmieWise at 5:14 AM on August 12


Here is the uncut four-hour Last Waltz concert video. Once static black and white shot. It lacks the visual artistry that Scorcese brought to the film, but it's pretty cool nonetheless.
posted by Optamystic at 5:40 AM on August 12


Who starred with Levon Helm in The Right Stuff.

Who starred with Laura Dern in Smooth Talk.

It's all connected, replicants.
posted by y2karl at 8:40 AM on August 12


"In a highway service station,
Over the month of June
Was a photograph of the Earth
Taken coming back from the moon.
And you couldn't see a city
On that marbled bowling ball
Or a forest or a highway,
Or me here, least of all. "


For those who don't know, this is from Refuge of the Roads. While "Coyote" is well-known, I think some of the other lesser-known tracks from her Hejira album like "Refuge" also show her at her most artistically mature -- lyricality and musicality, both.

For instance, Amelia.
For instance, Song for Sharon.
posted by storybored at 12:53 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Jaco Pastorius is someone to listen to if you like music that is busy with furious notes constantly bustling all of the time. He was a genius, but he didn't pace himself.

Jaco's work on especially Heijira is very understated, compared to (especially) late era New York City Jaco.
I don't think the super chops stuff would have impressed Mitchell that much, and I think Jaco was quite interested in impressing her. What she had been looking for, she said in later years, was for the bass to be more like an element in classical music, to play on top or over the music at times, and she couldn't get this out of like Max Bennett or whatever LA session guys she'd been using....one of them told her, "Joni, there's this crazy guy in Florida who plays for Phyllis Diller, you'd probably like him" and that did indeed work out.
posted by thelonius at 3:42 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Lovely. I'm tempted to include this in the mix CD I make for The Daughter every Christmas.

Rick Danko (RIP) looks like he's a little bit in love with Joni at that moment.

Oh no did Joni Mitchell just milkshake duck herself?
Wut?

posted by Space Coyote at 1:34 PM
Eponysterical
posted by e-man at 6:55 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Who wouldn't be in love with Joanie, at any moment?

Did this make it all better? It damn near made it all all better.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:18 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


listening to hejira right now - she's a genius and i know that jaco only plays on 4 songs here - all i know is that i play weird tunings and fretless bass and i just wish i could come close to this
posted by pyramid termite at 8:01 PM on August 12


I looked for a live performance of Refuge of the Roads, and I found this which is part three of a longish film, with a lot of pieces.
posted by Oyéah at 8:38 PM on August 12


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