Help Me by Joni Mitchell (Asylum, 1974)

Joni Mitchell was still being labeled as a folk singer until the first single, Help Me, from her 6th album, Court & Spark, traveled into the Top 10 in June of 1974. By now Joni was adding more jazzy touches to her singing and playing as well as her backing musicians, who on this album happened to be Tom Scott & the L.A. Express. The sound perfect suits Joni singing style with an arrangement that gives the listener the feeling of a falling-in-love swoon. Also coinciding with the arrival of Spring, this 45 was a welcome song on the radio during those warm months of rebirth.

This song and album was a door flung open to her musical adventures in jazz explorations, going so far as her 1979 album, Mingus, a collaboration with Charles Mingus who passed away during the making of that album. But nothing was a commercially successful as Help Me and it’s easy to see why.

Right from the opening sighs of ‘Help me, I think I’m falling’ we’re right there with Joni reminiscing on our first pangs of love. But the pangs turn tragic as she realizes that she’s in love with a dude that loves to play the field. [This song was supposedly written about Glenn Frey, which makes sense when you realize he was on the charts at the same time singing the song, Already Gone.] Joni is now hoping for the future and worrying about the past. Know why? She loves her freedom, too. Ah, hippies in love.

Now as the music builds in the bridge a desperate Joni asks, Didn’t It feel Good? over and over. I mean, she says, we were talking or not talking (wink wink) and then you danced with a lady with a hole in her stocking. I guess the question I ask is where was that hole? That would probably answer the didn’t feel good question.

Alas Joni would not get her question answered, but became a musical influence on just about every female singer/songwriter that came after her, as well as people like Prince. Glenn Frey would write & sing songs such as Lyin’ Eyes & Heartache Tonight. Plus he wouldn’t give Rod Tidwell a new contract. What a jerk!

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