Saturday, 22 September 2007

Joni Mitchell & John Wilson "Big Yellow Taxi" & "The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines"

"They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot/With a pink hotel, a boutique/And a swinging hot spot" (Big Yellow Taxi). Thus starts Joni Mitchell's greatest popular hit from 1970. “Big Yellow Taxi” is a link to John Wilson's funny animation of the song with the two hippies fleeing from their rustic pleasures under the pressure of the bulldozer and urban sprawl. This is a better movie than yesterday's trailblazer. It seems to have everything of the sixties about it including the remarkable insight that caring about the environment is not just territory of the young today. I have to admit the ending of the movie is as neat a match for Joni's closing laugh as it is possible to make. The second animated Joni track is from one of her least favourite albums "Mingus", which coincidentally is one of my favourites. The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines has been animated by Tim Jerran here in the UK. Tim seems to be more web designer than artist (though with a good taste in music.) It shows how software for animation has advanced since the years in which John Wilson was working. See Tim's video on YouTube. You can read about John in yesterday's post and if you go to the profile for the interestingly named Oofus Twillip you can access some more of John Wilson's 70s classics including some music videos he made for Sonny and Cher for their television series. The unmissable ones are Cher's cover version of the old Spinners classic Black and White, The Candy Man and one I'd forgotten about, Brand New Key, covered by Cher though I much prefer Melanie's original.

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