This is one of those classic albums that is so well-known, but for all the right reasons. There is no pop hit on this album that might bring the casual listener to it, like Big Yellow Taxi on the earlier Ladies Of The Canyon. It’s hard then to decide what is the hit and what is the hidden gem on this album. I’d say All I Want has to be the hit. As the first song, this really says ‘Blue’ to me, more than any other song on the album, even the titular song. For a hidden gem on the album, I could pretty much choose every track. I’ve opted for California as I really like the super-slow fade-out at the end of the song, with Mitchell singing against Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s pedal steel guitar (Stephen Stills and James Taylor also play on the album).
Blue was introduced to me through the first series of the Classic Albums TV programme, and it’s remained a favourite ever since. I prefer it to Ladies Of The Canyon as it works much better as one whole piece of work. Whereas Ladies Of The Canyon exists as a collection of songs, Blue is more cohesive with a number of themes that run throughout the album. The style of guitar playing she employs in All I Want and Carey are also highlights for me.
For some reason, listening to this reminds me of driving over Snake Pass, between Manchester and Sheffield. It’s funny that music does that. I’m presuming I was listening to the album during that journey once, and then on a repeat trip my subconscious reminded me of the association and I played it again, further cementing the connection between the two.
Hit: All I Want
Hidden Gem: California