Carey (song)


Carey (song)

"Carey" is a song from the 1971 Joni Mitchell album "Blue". It was inspired by her time with a cave-dwelling hippie community in the village of Matala, on the Greek island of Crete.

Autobiographical elements

The song is sometimes rumoured to be about fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor, who plays guitar on some "Blue" tracks (although not on "Carey" itself) and with whom Mitchell had a brief affair. However, Mitchell has stated publicly that the "Carey" in question was a memorable character named Carey Raditz (or "Carrot" Raditz), a cane-carrying chef with bright red hair that she met in Matala during her European odyssey of 1970. Other references to the village and the al fresco hippie lifestyle abound in the song lyrics, most notably to Matala's now-defunct "Dolphin Café" (called "The Mermaid Café" in the song). Mitchell frequently introduced live performances of "Carey" by recounting anecdotes about Raditz and their Cretan adventures. [http://www.mail-archive.com/joni@jmdl.com/msg13306.html] [http://www.mail-archive.com/joni@smoe.org/msg11682.html]

Recording sabbatical

Mitchell's European travels, which also encompassed France and Spain, were intended as a "time out" from her increasing fame and fortune in the music business. Whilst on the road, she learned to play the Appalachian dulcimer, which was to become a feature of her musical output in the following years. Her dulcimer skills were first showcased on "Blue" and in particular the original recording of "Carey", which also features Stephen Stills (of Crosby, Stills & Nash) on bass and acoustic guitar. "Carey" was released as a single, debuting at number 93 on the Billboard Chart on 4 September 1971 and lasting just one week; nevertheless, it remains one of Mitchell's most enduring and popular songs.

Albums

"Carey" appears on two Joni Mitchell greatest hits albums - "Hits" (1996) and "Dreamland: The Very Best Of Joni Mitchell" (2004) - and has been covered by Cyndi Lauper, Goldie Hawn, Universal Honey, and Kiki Dee. Lauper's updated interpretation was regarded by many critics as the highlight of a televised Joni Mitchell tribute concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on 6 April 2000.

Mitchell herself performs a different interpretation of "Carey" on her 1974 live album "Miles of Aisles". Backed by jazz band Tom Scott & The LA Express, and recorded at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, this reggae/ska version has been criticised as "light-weight" [http://www.warr.org/joni.html] ; Rolling Stone went so far as to say that the song was "murdered". [http://www.superseventies.com/spmitchelljoni2.html]

External links

* [http://www.jonimitchell.com/musician/song.cfm?id=Carey "Carey" at jonimitchell.com (includes lyrics)]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ37OoHTnOE Joni performs "Carey" at Wembley Arena, London 1983]
* [http://www.jonimitchell.com/research/g_entry.cfm?id=27 "The Mermaid Café" from the jonimitchell.com's lyrics glossary (did the Café exist?)]
* [http://www.acousticguitar.com/issues/ag44/CoverStory.shtml "Acoustic Guitar" interview with Mitchell (includes discussion of learning the dulcimer in Greece)]
* [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000002GWN "Miles of Aisles" at Amazon.com (includes link to audio clip of "reggae" version)]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg5b7yrooLs Cyndi Lauper's tribute performance]
* [http://www.amiright.com/parody/70s/jonimitchell9.shtml "Elect Kerry" song parody] from Am I Right
* [http://www.matala-holidays.gr/usersphotos.php?lang=en#Thomas Photos from the 1972 Mermaid Cafe (cafe which is described in the song)]


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