3) Joni Mitchell, featuring Jaco Pastorius : Overture-Cotton Avenue

Favorite Line or Lyric:

If you got a place like that to go . . . You know you got to go there.

If you got no place special, well then, you just go no place special.


The line I chose, is a tricky one that can be interpreted in different ways. For me, it reminds me of the Adventure Hermit tag line, “Don’t Go Anywhere . . . Go Somewhere!.”  For this reason alone, Cotton Avenue, was supposed to be the first Wednesday Tune. But, alas, it has arrived as number 3.  Just in time for me to change the area to Tuesday’s Tune.

I love this song, and get into more of the details, below, in the “music stuff” section. But the idea, if he have do not have any place special to go, then simply go somewhere, really resonates with me. I have leaned that some of the least special places, in forethought, become my favorites after visiting.

I am writing this review from the small town of Three Forks Montana. A Town I have passed many times, on my way to Yellowstone National Park. I have, never thought to make a detour to visit or stay here, until a year ago. I stopped for gas, and discovered the beautiful, Sacajawea Hotel. When the chance came to stay here, this week, I jumped at it. Hands down, it is one of the nicest hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying in. Their restaurant, Pompey’s Grill, is worth the drive alone!

So, I encourage you to listen to the song, on your way to no place special. Get lost in it. If, like many people, you have only been exposed to Joni Mitchell, via the Counting Crows, Paved Paradise Cover, do yourself a favor and dig deeper. Check out the live album Shadows & Light, and have your mind blown. I’d love to hear where it takes you. Please share in the comments below.

Artist: Joni Mitchell, with members of Weather Report, including, Jaco PastoriusWayne ShorterManolo Badrena, and Alex Acuña

Song: Overture-Cotton Avenue

Genre: Folk, Fusion Jazz

Music Stuff: The song opens with Joni overdubbing all of these beautiful wordless sounds, layered on top of multiple open tuned guitars. She was known to be found of C-A-C-G-G-C, as opposed to the traditional tuning of E-A-D-G-B-E. I get lost in this first 1:45 seconds. But what made me stop and take notice of this song, and honestly the rest of Joni Mitchell’s catalogue, is what happens at the 1:45 mark in the Overture.

Jaco Pastorius, comes in with a growling bass sound, It is more reminiscent of Gene Simmons spitting blood and flying into the rafters, than the beautiful sounds Jaco was known to pry from his fretless Fender bass. But within a measure, it is unmistakably Jaco. Soon, he and Joni are swapping riffs until the song officially kicks in between the 2:50 and the 3:00 minute mark.

It continues on with a breezy beat, but an incredibly complex combination of sounds with Jaco swapping bass riffs with Joni’s lyrics. The song immediately goes into another fantastic song, Talk to Me, with Jaco soloing over the intro. It sounds like an extension of the first song.

You have to hear the first verse to realize just how crazy it is! I’ll say this, Joni apparently was singing about Anacondas way before Sir Mix a Lot! I highly recommend it, but I am going to stop there, otherwise this will turn into an Album review.

Release Year: December, 1977

Album(s): Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter


Full Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jonimitchell/overturecottonavenue.html

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