The Hissing of Summer Lawns

The Hissing of Summer Lawns

Infobox Album | Name = The Hissing of Summer Lawls
Type = Album
Artist = Joni Mitchell

Released = November 1975
Recorded = 1975
Genre = Folk jazz, Singer-songwriter, Experimental
Length = 42:34
Label = Asylum
Producer = Joni Mitchell

Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|4.5|5 [ link]
*"Rolling Stone" (not rated) [ link]
*Robert Christgau (B) [ link]
Last album = "Miles of Aisles"
This album = "The Hissing of Summer Lawns"
Next album = "Hejira"

"The Hissing of Summer Lawns" is a 1975 album by Joni Mitchell. Fans and critics regard this as an artistic turning pointfact|date=May 2008, and the beginning of her unique blend of folk, jazz and rock.

"In France They Kiss on Main Street", the starter, is a jazz-rock song about coming of age in a small town in the rock & roll-driven 1950s. (The song was released as the single from the album and reached #66 on the Billboard charts.) "The Jungle Line" borrows a field recording from Africa of the Drummers of Burundi (mistakenly called 'warrior drums' in the credits), onto which Joni dubs guitar, synthesizer and her vocal line. The lyrics pay homage to the works of the French Post-Impressionist Painter Henri Rousseau, in particular his 1897 painting "The Sleeping Gypsy". Mitchell blends details of his works with imagery of modern city life, the music industry and the underground drug culture. "Edith and the Kingpin" marks a return to jazz in a story of a gangster's new moll arriving in his home town. "Don't Interrupt The Sorrow" is an acoustic guitar-based song with stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

"Shades of Scarlett Conquering" is an orchestral based piece about a southern belle. The title track, "The Hissing of Summer Lawns", is about a woman who is being treated as part of her husband's portfolio, with the central image an imagining that the sprinklers on suburban lawns are in some way expressing disapproval at the materialistic culture contained in those houses. "The Boho Dance" comments on people who feel that artists sell out their "purity" for commercial success, with an ironic glance at those who said this of Joni herself. "Harry's House/Centerpiece" concerns a failing marriage. "Sweet Bird" is a sparser acoustic track that is a slight return to Joni's more confessional singer-songwriter style. The album closer is "Shadows and Light", consisting of multiple overdubs of her voice and an ARP String Machine (credited as an ARP-Farfisa on the album sleeve).

The African theme of "The Jungle Line" is continued on the album sleeve, with an image of natives carrying a huge captured snake (both were embossed or "raised" on the original vinyl album cover). The men and the snake are superimposed against the Beverly Hills suburbs, with Mitchell's own house marked in blue on the back cover.

The album was not as radio-friendly as Mitchell's earlier work, and despite the album attaining initial commercial success, reaching #4 on the charts and quickly going gold, contemporary reviewers were not entirely kind.fact|date=May 2008

Track listing

All tracks composed by Joni Mitchell; except where indicated

# "In France They Kiss on Main Street" – 3:19
# "The Jungle Line" – 4:25
# "Edith and the Kingpin" – 3:38
# "Don't Interrupt the Sorrow" – 4:05
# "Shades of Scarlett Conquering" – 4:59
# "The Hissing of Summer Lawns" – 3:01
# "The Boho Dance" – 3:48
# "Harry's House/Centerpiece" – 6:48 (Mitchell, Jon Hendricks, Johnny Mandel)
# "Sweet Bird" – 4:12
# "Shadows and Light" – 4:19


*Joni Mitchell : vocals, acoustic guitar (01,02,03,04,09), Moog (02), piano (05,09), keyboards (07), Arp (10), Farfisa (10)
*Graham Nash : background vocals (01)
*David Crosby : background vocals (01)
*James Taylor : background vocals (01), guitar (06)
*Robben Ford : electric guitar (01), dobro (04), guitar (08)
*Jeff Baxter : electric guitar (01)
*Larry Carlton : electric guitar (03,04,05,09)
*Victor Feldman : electric piano (01,05), congas (04), vibes (05), keyboards (06), percussion (06)
*Joe Sample : electric piano (03), keyboards (08)
*John Guerin : drums (01,03,04,05,06,07,08), arrangement (06), Moog (06)
*Max Bennett : bass (01,05,06,07,08)
*Wilton Felder : bass (03,04)
*The Warrior Drums of Burundi (02)
*Chuck Findley : horn (03), trumpet (06,08), flugelhorn (07)
*Bud Shank : sax and flute (03,06), bass flute (07)
*Dale Oehler : sting arrangement (05)
*Henry Lewy : producer and engineer
*Ellis Sorkin : engineer and assistant engineer

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