the circle game, from joni mitchell: woman of heart and mind
joni mitchell, david crosby, eric clapton in mama cass's backyard, 1968
When I was in fourth grade, my favorite teacher ever, used to play us "The Circle Game" on her guitar. For the holidays she gave everyone in the class a tape of her playing that song, amongst others, which, rather tellingly, I do not remember. It took me until last year to come to Joni Mitchell, and it happened through watching the extraordinary Woman of Heart and Mind. I went from calling her "Skeletor" after watching The Last Waltz, and not understanding what the fuss was about "Woodstock" (admittedly, still not one of my favorite songs) to being totally enamoured. Me and the rest of the world, and Laurel Canyon, too. It's pretty difficult to watch it and not want to know her, and I do mean know her. I should find that tape. And then a tape recorder to listen to it on.
update: Joni Mitchell began writing "The Circle Game" as a response to her friend Neil Young's "Sugar Mountain," according to "The Real Angels" in Vanity Fair.