“a remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz” – Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide
Court and Spark
Free Man in Paris
The Same Situation
Car on a Hill
Down to You
Just Like This Train
Raised on Robbery
Total Running Time: 36:52
Raised on Robbery (12/22/73) #65 US, #40 AC
Help Me (3/16/74) #7 US, #1 AC
Free Man in Paris (7/20/74) #22 US, #2 AC
Notes: In 2007, a remastered and expanded version of the album was released.
Court and Spark
“Joni Mitchell reached her commercial high point with Court and Spark, a remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz which stands as her best-selling work to date. While as unified and insightful as Blue” (Ankeny), which “was wonderful, but also well-named” (Blender), this album is more for “those who didn’t feel like drowning in melancholy” (Blender). This is “a concept record exploring the roles of honesty and trust in relationships, romantic and otherwise” (Ankeny). Court and Spark “moves away from confessional songwriting into evocative character studies: the hit Free Man in Paris, written about David Geffen, is a not-so-subtle dig at the machinations of the music industry, while Raised on Robbery offers an acutely funny look at the predatory environment of the singles bar scene” (Ankeny).
“Much of Court and Spark is devoted to wary love songs” (Ankeny); that is, “affairs of the heart, ‘70s-style” (Blender). “Both the title cut and Help Me, the record’s most successful single, carefully measure the risks of romance, while People’s Parties and The Same Situation are fraught with worry and self-doubt (standing in direct opposition to the music, which is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last)” (Ankeny).