Joni Mitchell / Archives Volume 1: The Early Years 1963-1967 box set

Five-CD box set kicks off the long awaited ‘Archives’ series

Joni Mitchell opens her vaults for the first time for the Joni Mitchell Archives, a new series of box set releases that will span the next few years and start NEXT MONTH with a five-disc box set, Archives – Volume 1 and two associated vinyl releases.

Mitchell has been “intimately involved in producing the archive series” and Archives Volume 1: The Early Years (1963-1967) features nearly six hours of unreleased home, live, and radio recordings that flow chronologically to map Joni’s rapid growth as a performer and songwriter during the period leading up to her debut album.

The collection begins in 1963 with her earliest-known recording as a 19-year-old Mitchell performs at CFQC AM, a radio station in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The box culminates with a stirring, three-set 1967 nightclub performance recorded at the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In total, the five-CD box includes 29 original Mitchell compositions that have never been released before with her vocals.

Volume 1: The Early Years (1963-1967) is a five-CD box set (click image to enlarge)

The box set includes a 40-page booklet that features many unseen photos from Mitchell’s personal collection as well as new liner notes featuring conversations between Cameron Crowe and Mitchell, who recently spent a couple of Sunday afternoons together discussing her archives. Crowe will continue to provide liners for future releases in the series.

Looking back, Mitchell reflects on her early label of “folk singer”: “The early stuff, I shouldn’t be such a snob against it. A lot of these songs, I just lost them. They fell away. They only exist in these recordings. For so long I rebelled against the term, ‘I was never a folk-singer.’ I would get pissed off if they put that label on me. I didn’t think it was a good description of what I was. And then I listened and…it was beautiful. It made me forgive my beginnings. And I had this realisation…I was a folk singer!”

CDs four and five of the box set feature Mitchell’s previously unreleased, entire three-
set performance at Canterbury House in 1967. Those three sets are also issued as a special 3LP vinyl package: Live at Canterbury House – 1967.

To complete the physical archive releases, a single 180g vinyl, Early Joni – 1963 features the nine-song CFQC AM performance in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This is featured on CD 1 of the box set.

The five-CD box set, the 3LP Canterbury package and Early Joni will all be released on 30 October 2020.

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Joni Mitchell

Archives Vol 1 - the Early Years 1963-1967 - 5CD box set


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Joni Mitchell

Live at Canterbury House 1967 - 3LP vinyl


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Joni Mitchell

Early Joni 1963 - vinyl LP


CD 1

Radio Station CFQC AM, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (ca. 1963)
1. “House Of The Rising Sun”
2. “John Hardy”
3. “Dark As A Dungeon”
4. “Tell Old Bill”
5. “Nancy Whiskey”
6. “Anathea”
7. “Copper Kettle”
8. “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)”
9. “Molly Malone”

Live at the Half Beat: Yorkville, Toronto, Canada (October 21, 1964)

First Set
10. Introduction
11. “Nancy Whiskey”
12. Intro to “The Crow On The Cradle”
13. “The Crow On The Cradle”
14. “Pastures Of Plenty”
15. “Every Night When The Sun Goes In”
16. Intro to “Sail Away”
17. “Sail Away”

Second Set
18. “John Hardy”
19. “Dark As A Dungeon”
20. Intro to “Maids When You’re Young Never Wed An Old Man”
21. “Maids When You’re Young Never Wed An Old Man”
22. “The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow”
23. “Deportee (Plane Crash At Los Gatos)”
Joni’s Parents’ House: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (February 1965)
24. “The Long Black Rifle”
25. “Ten Thousand Miles”
26. “Seven Daffodils”

CD 2

Myrtle Anderson Birthday Tape: Detroit, MI (1965)
1. “Urge For Going”
2. “Born To Take The Highway”
3. “Here Today And Gone Tomorrow”

Jac Holzman Demo: Detroit, MI (August 24, 1965)
4. “What Will You Give Me”
5. “Let It Be Me”
6. “The Student Song”
7. “Day After Day”
8. “Like The Lonely Swallow”

Let’s Sing Out, CBC TV: University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada (October 4, 1965)
9. “Favorite Colour”
10. “Me And My Uncle”

Home Demo: Detroit, MI (ca. 1966)
11. “Sad Winds Blowin’”

Let’s Sing Out, CBC TV: Laurentian University, London, ON, Canada (October 24, 1966)
12. “Just Like Me”
13. “Night In The City”

Live at the 2nd Fret: Philadelphia, PA (November 1966)
14. “Brandy Eyes”
15. Intro to “Urge For Going”
16. “Urge For Going”
17. Intro to “What’s The Story Mr. Blue”
18. “What’s The Story Mr. Blue”
19. “Eastern Rain”
20. Intro to “The Circle Game”
21. “The Circle Game”
22. Intro to “Night In The City”
23. “Night In The City”

CD 3

Folklore, WHAT FM: Philadelphia, PA, (March 12, 1967)
1. Intro to “Both Sides Now”
2. “Both Sides Now”
3. Intro to “The Circle Game”
4. “The Circle Game”

Live at the 2nd Fret: Philadelphia, PA (March 17, 1967)

Second Set
5. “Morning Morgantown”
6. “Born To Take The Highway”
7. Intro to “Song To A Seagull”
8. “Song To A Seagull”

Third Set
9. “Winter Lady”
10. Intro to “Both Sides Now”
11. “Both Sides Now”

Folklore, WHAT FM: Philadelphia, PA (March 19, 1967)
12. Intro to “Eastern Rain”
13. “Eastern Rain”
14. Intro to “Blue On Blue”
15. “Blue On Blue”

“A Record Of My Changes” – Michael’s Birthday Tape: North Carolina (May 1967)
16. “Gemini Twin”
17. “Strawflower Me”
18. “A Melody In Your Name”
19. “Tin Angel”
20. “I Don’t Know Where I Stand”
21. Joni improvising

Folklore, WHAT FM: Philadelphia, PA (May 28, 1967)
22. Intro to “Sugar Mountain”
23. “Sugar Mountain”

CD 4

Home Demo: New York City, NY (ca. June 1967)
1. “I Had A King”
2. “Free Darling”
3. “Conversation”
4. “Morning Morgantown”
5. “Dr. Junk”
6. “Gift Of The Magi”
7. “Chelsea Morning”
8. “Michael From Mountains”
9. “Cara’s Castle”
10. “Jeremy” (Incomplete)

Live at Canterbury House: Ann Arbor, MI (October 27, 1967)

First Set
11. “Conversation”
12. Intro to “Come To The Sunshine”
13. “Come To The Sunshine”
14. Intro to “Chelsea Morning”
15. “Chelsea Morning”
16. Intro to “Gift Of The Magi”
17. “Gift Of The Magi”
18. “Play Little David”
19. Intro to “The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow”
20. “The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow”
21. “I Had A King”
22. Intro to “Free Darling”
23. “Free Darling”
24. Intro to “Cactus Tree”
25. “Cactus Tree”

CD 5

Live at Canterbury House: Ann Arbor, MI (October 27, 1967)

Second Set
1. “Little Green”
2. Intro to “Marcie”
3. “Marcie”
4. Intro to “Ballerina Valerie”
5. “Ballerina Valerie”
6. “The Circle Game”
7. Intro to “Michael From Mountains”
8. “Michael From Mountains”
9. “Go Tell The Drummer Man”
10. Intro to “I Don’t Know Where I Stand”
11. “I Don’t Know Where I Stand”

Third Set
12. “A Melody In Your Name”
13. Intro to “Carnival In Kenora”
14. “Carnival In Kenora”
15. “Songs To Aging Children Come”
16. Intro to “Dr. Junk”
17. “Dr. Junk”
18. “Morning Morgantown”
19. Intro to “Night In The City”
20. “Night In The City”
21. “Both Sides Now”
22. “Urge For Going”

Live at Canterbury House – 1967 3LP vinyl set

Side One: First Set
1. “Conversation”
2. Intro to “Come To The Sunshine”
3. “Come To The Sunshine”
4. Intro to “Chelsea Morning”
5. “Chelsea Morning”
6. Intro to “Gift Of The Magi”
7. “Gift Of The Magi”

Side Two
1. “Play Little David”
2. Intro to “The Dowy Dens Of Yarrow”
3. “The Dowy Dens Of Yarrow”
4. “I Had A King”
5. Intro to “Free Darling”
6. “Free Darling”
7. Intro to “Cactus Tree”
8. “Cactus Tree”

Side Three: Second Set
1. “Little Green”
2. Intro to “Marcie”
3. “Marcie”
4. Intro to “Ballerina Valerie”
5. “Ballerina Valerie”
6. “The Circle Game”

Side Four
1. Intro to “Michael From
2. “Michael From Mountains”
3. “Go Tell The Drummer Man”
4. Intro to “I Don’t Know Where I Stand”
5. “I Don’t Know Where I Stand”

Side Five: Third Set
1. “A Melody In Your Name”
2. Intro to “Carnival In Kenora”
3. “Carnival In Kenora”
4. “Songs To Aging Children Come”
5. Intro to “Dr. Junk”
6. “Dr. Junk”

Side Six
1. “Morning Morgantown”
2. Intro to “Night In The City”
3. “Night In The City”
4. “Both Sides Now”
5. “Urge For Going”

Early Joni – 1963 vinyl LP

Side One
1. “House Of The Rising Sun”
2. “John Hardy”
3. “Dark As A Dungeon”
4. “Tell Old Bill”
5. “Nancy Whiskey”

Side Two
1. “Anathea”
2. “Copper Kettle”
3. “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)”
4. “Molly Malone”

55 responses to Joni Mitchell / Archives Volume 1: The Early Years 1963-1967 box set

  1. Skippy O'Nasica says:

    Great! Hope this set does well and encourages other acts to issue similar archival releases. Someone mentioned Carole King; I would love to see something from the extremely prolific Gordon Lightfoot. In the 1960s he demoed numerous songs which remain unreleased, issued several obscure vinyl records which haven’t been reissued and performed a number of songs live and for TV which haven’t appeared elsewhere. Then in his Warner Brother years he is known to have recorded 20 or so songs for some of his 10-or-11 song albums, as well as recording concerts which featured unreleased material.

    A well-presented archival set on Al Stewart would also be great. Scads of his outtakes have been issued over the years, but scattered over numerous reissues in a haphazard fashion and not always in great sound quality.

  2. jopla2 says:

    Re Joni not allowing her back catalogue to be remastered:

    Mitchell has been somewhat against releasing compilations to cash in on her catalogue, not against reissuing her past catalogue, or against remastering. She hasn’t been against releasing unreleased material, but she’s had bad experiences with record companies that have tried to take over control.

    In 1996 she agreed to release “Hits” but on the condition that a ‘companion’ release “Misses”, with less known tracks, was also released. These were remastered.

    All Mitchell albums until 1979’s “Shadows And Light” were reissued in 1996-98-ish on HDCD, remastered & “repackaged by Robbie Cavolina”. The repackagings are quite lovely, as close to original LP design as possible. These are quite hard to find these days.

    There’s also the budget box “The Studio Albums 1968-1979” from 2012 which inclueds all Joni albums up to “Mingus”. I don’t have this but it looks quite good. Some versions apparently include some albums in HDCD. All albums come in miniature LP replica gatefold sleeves. Apparently this is a mix of original (ie. 80s masters) and remasters.

    The three 80s albums were compiled in 2003 on “The Complete Geffen Recordings”, although not remastered. “Dog Eat Dog” here actually sounds slightly worse than the 1985 CD.

    Worth noting is that even some of the first Joni CD issues were remastered – which obviously is good, the fact that they didn’t use the mastering intended for vinyl. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Rhino, Nautilus etc also have remastered and reissued some Joni albums during the years, on vinyl and CD.

    In the early 00’s Joni put together 3 compilations, some remastered: The Beginning Of Survival 2004, Dreamland 2004, Songs Of A Prairie Girl 2005.

    The 2014 box set “Love Has Many Faces” includes tracks from all Joni albums except the first three and the live sets. Tracks are remastered. 7 of 10 tracks from “Night Ride Home” are included, so this almost includes that album in remastered form.

  3. Rik_K says:

    My early years in Saskatoon briefly overlapped with Joni’s time there, although I was much too young to have seen her play. But I do know someone who worked at CFQC Radio in 1963. I got word to him about this box set, but being a rock guy he recalled nothing about this folk recording made at his station. His father managed the station at the time and so might possibly have met Joni there in ’63, but he’s long passed now.

  4. FagJoni says:

    I’ll wait for Court and Spark onwards. Fags did wonders for her voice and really kicked in around that time.

  5. Wayne Olsen says:

    Do you know why this is so fantastic? I didn’t know most of this stuff existed.
    Thanks, Paul!

  6. Colin Harper says:

    Paul – if you’re able to put me in touch (or vice versa) with someone involved in this set, I have an original off-air reel with Joni’s 1968 Top Gear session that I can have digitised at 24-bit if they wish to have it to restore/master for Vol.2 (I shared it on YouTube in laptop-digitised form). I also have access to an original reel of her John Peel Sunday Concert with James Taylor from 1970.

  7. H says:

    This is excellent stuff for Joni fans. Hope it encourages others from that era to do the same – still dreaming of a Carole King archive which would be phenomenal.

  8. Simonf says:

    Maybe Joni’s fellow Canuck Neil Young should take a good long hard look at this and learn how to do archive releases instead of the appalling mess he put out…

  9. Andy Hudson says:

    According to Amazon UK the vinyl is not available for pre order so have they either already sold out?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Doubt it. Just amazon shenanigans…

      • Wayne C says:

        Both vinyls are back up again for pre order on amazon UK , considered ordering the lot direct from Joni’s site but the postage costs and such like really bump the price up which is unfortunate. The actually record label shop here in the U.K. haven’t even got them listed at all!.

  10. KP says:

    Now this is something worth looking at. Early Joni, I’m not too familiar with.

  11. Sean says:

    There’s a geographic inaccuracy in the track listing here (interested to find out if same occurs on the box set listing itself). “Let’s Sing Out, October 24, 1966” lists Laurentian University as being in London, Ontario. As a graduate of Laurentian, I can tell you that the school is not in London, but rather, some 550kms away to the north…in Sudbury, Ontario. Regardless, it’s quite exciting to see that there are a couple live recordings from Sudbury in ‘66. Very cool.

  12. Len Jaffe says:

    I guess I’m looking for Volume 2, although I intend to pick up the first one. Joni was commissioned to write the title song to the movie, “Midnight Cowboy”, and even though the producers passed on using it, she was singing it in her stage shows in late 1968. I’ve only heard her sing it once (it was great), and it’s never popped up on a bootleg cd. The only commercial recording of it came out in 1972 on a self-titled album by DC folkie Donal Leace. Here’s hoping someone, somewhere, recorded Joni doing it.

  13. George glazener says:

    Thanks Paul, this is one of those music releases that will make the year 2020 bearable after all. Thanks for keeping all of us quarantinees alerted to the many wonderful products that are helping us get thru the craziness. It’s so nice to have this to look forward to. I trust this set will be available on Amazon USA as well, right?

  14. Rob says:

    I’ve been enjoying the Doobie Brothers Quadio box today. It would be great if Joni’s old quad mixes found their way onto one of these archive sets.

  15. Eric Thiessen says:

    This is $64.98 with $7.45 in the US at Joni’s website.

    • Wayne C says:

      Great if you in the USA or Canada , international customers are stung with import charges, high postage and other duty. Wish they would put some on Rhino UK but as yet nothing at all for the coloured vinyl sets .

    • Patrick Cleasby says:

      Instant Grat of House of the Rising Sun as 16/44.1!

    • GP says:

      You get an exclusive 7″x7″ litho as her as a child wearing a Native American outfit and a cowboy outfit as the added bonus for the extra $15 from her website, as well as, if you the box set or the 1500 count Early clear vinyl or the Canterbury 3 LP, if order all 3, you get 3 lithos, (while supplies last.)

  16. SimonP2 says:

    Coloured vinyls of both sets with prints available from Rhino website. Only 1500 copies of each

    • Patrick Cleasby says:

      Doesn’t appear to be on either Rhino site. Only on her site.

      • Wayne C says:

        Only on Joni’s Site which is a shame for fans like me in the UK who want them for completist purposes . I would love to purchase from the site but with import duty it’s taking these two discs over the £100 mark and probably more when Royal Mail charge their £13 duty payment. I’ve looked everywhere for these and they can’t be found unless importing from the site. I can’t really justify paying £40 more for coloured vinyl.

  17. CJ says:

    I’m glad to see Joni showing an interest in revisiting her past and bringing something out for the fans. I’m probably in the minority on this, but I’m really interested in seeing whats in the vaults from her 80s period. I know that the critical consensus is that decade was a low point for her, but I love Chalkmark in a Rainstorm and Night Ride Home. I’d love to hear what didn’t make it to those albums.

    • Fogarrach says:

      CJ you may be in a minority but you’re not alone.
      For me, Chinese cafe is in her pantheon.

      I recall being in an excellent Manchester record store. It was in a basement near to a shop that specialised in denims. Anyhap, i picked up three Joni 80s lps for an intro. (Cheaper than for a song)
      At the time I’d not heard court and spark and in retrospect I’d say I was coming to Joni fairly scant of knowledge.
      Her lyrics and sense of a good hook blew me away. Plus.
      I still adore the production.

      Joni, I wish you well. Thank you for the so far.

    • Gary says:

      Like you CJ I loved her stuff from Chalkmark onwards and then kind of worked my way back, so this is very welcome but can’t wait for the later material. Turbulent Indigo is a personal fave. The limited editions on her website at just 1500 copies of this new release are indeed very limited for an artist of her stature.

  18. Mic Smith says:

    Saw the track listing the other day and was gobsmacked by what they’ve unearthed. Great set and even better to come.

  19. Alan M says:

    Been a long while since something here caught my interest. I’d like to think every person with an ear for music appreciates Joni.

  20. hedley says:

    Tienken Road Rochester Hills MI carries a lot of history. Joni married Scott at his family farm on Tienken in 1965 before moving in to Midtown, near Wayne State University which likely are the “Detroit” recordings.

    Seger owned/rented “The Farm” on Tienken between 70 and 74 entertaining such fun folks as Rod Stewart and Stevie Marriott before the formation of the Silver Bullet Band.

    Meanwhile just down the road (literally) on Oklahoma, Ms Madonna was growing up and attending Adams High School

    Ann Arbor ? yea, Madonna went there and sent her daughter.

    So for those interested in the Joni story, you can listen to the very early folk music and place her very specifically in my community. Personally I am excited for the Court and Spark to Mingus period, but hey this one could be fun

  21. Trevor says:

    Anyone in Australia have an alternative means of getting hold of this… ?( thanks Morrison ) …It can be purchased via website for, I assume , $65 US…which makes it a better option than 65 GDP anyway. Redeye will probably charge an arm and a leg. It may be available through Amazon Australia but I have my doubts.

  22. Wonderful news! What a beautiful collection of box sets it will be!

  23. cora fowler says:

    well done to Cameron Crowe

  24. Stephen Towler says:

    David Fricke not available for the booklet notes?

  25. Stephen Hance says:

    This is the best best news. With U2 and Springsteen this has already been an expensive day. But this tops the bill.

  26. David B says:

    Yeah .. sounds good .. but Joni hasn’t allowed her back catalogue to be re-mastered .. so are these re-mastered? I hope so and if so would look forward to the set featuring her work with Tom Scott ..

    These apart- as good as they are- is there a fully remastered set of her official albums due out any time ???

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      You can’t ‘re’ master something that is previously unreleased…

      • Andrea says:

        Indeed… I might just add that her official albums (see “Studio Album 1968 1979”) sound so good they really don’t make me feel the need of a reremaster.

        This Archives series is the best news in a long time. Just keep them coming.

      • David B says:

        ok .. but surely these recordings were on tape somewhere .. and presumably they’ve been cleaned up for this issue (it may not be re-mastering exactly but pretty close to it) .. i do have some radio show recordings and all but one (Harry Chapin) sound incredibly bad .. maybe my luck ..

        i do have both Joni’s original cds and her 2004 “Dreamland” cd which sounds much better to my ears than the original cd versions .. but i would still buy the Tom Scott set as that’s my fave Joni period ..

    • CJ Feeney says:

      The CD box of the first nine albums sounds great. Why remaster them?

      This set looks really good. I cant imagine she’d put out something without making sure it sounds good, but some mastering/source info would help.

      I look forward to how the series develops. Will it be all archive (like Dylan) or mix albms with archive like most acts.

      • Alan Blevin says:

        An insider on Hoffman’s has posted that they have completed track selection for the next 2 volumes.It is all previously unreleased recordings and the next 2 sets look as though they will be more than 5 discs.Unknown whether those volumes go to the end of the 1970’s or beyond that.They have also pretty much completed liner notes and packaging for them so they just need to push go.

    • James W says:

      I have “Blue” and “Court And Spark” remastered on CD. It said so on the front cover sticker.

      • David Bly says:

        Since we are talking remasters and such, I have an oddity that I know some other people have, but whether they did something about it , I dont know.

        I got the ”Blue” LP when it first came out and I immediately noticed a problem at the beginning of Side 1 – the sound was going in and out, and it was clearly wrong. So I wrote a letter to Warner Bros. Records mentioning this and included the matrix numbers. About a week later another copy of the album (which was fine) came along with a letter thanking me, as one of their stampers was defective, and they were able to pull it off the line so no more bad copies could be pressed. So I have two original copies of the album, one bad, one good, along with the letter inside the ‘bad’ copy.

        In retrospect, maybe I should’ve asked them to send me all of Joni’s future albums on Reprise ”For Free”!

  27. Richard says:

    wow, this is exciting, am already salivating about what might be on the next couple of box sets, the mid seventies one especially!

  28. Wayne C says:

    Gosh I didn’t expect this, I’m astounded and then some!. I have been a fan of Joni for many years having everything she’s done on vinyl. This has made my day. My year!. I never expected this day to come but it’s tremendous. How to get these from the UK especially the limited releases, any idea of getting them from the UK anyone will the limited editions be website only?.

    Made up!.

  29. David says:

    Oh my god, i’ve stopped hoping for that for so long now, I can’t believe it’s happening!

  30. Ben says:

    You get a litho print included with any order direct from Joni’s website.

  31. Bogdan says:

    I can’t believe this is finally happening! Joni is opening up her vault. I’m lost for words. Thank you, Joni!

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