Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

December 14, 2007

Three Goddesses: Can You Choose?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 4:58 pm

Rosanne Cash, Rickie Lee Jones, or Joni Mitchell? You might want to take a look at my current Slate column on The Best Joni Mitchell Song Ever and see if you agree. You’ll notice I make sure to point out I also revere Rickie Lee Jones and Rosanne Cash, singer-songwriter goddesses.

Frankly I go back and forth among the three. I once wrote a tongue in cheek (sort of) “marriage proposal” to Rosanne Cash in a column about her work. I can listen to Rickie Lee’s brilliant “Rodeo Girls” and “Beat Angels” and “Stewart’s Coat” (the latter two from Traffic From Paradise)for days on end.

Remember the mythical story of the “Judgment of Paris” where he had to choose between three goddesses and selected the goddess of love, who then awarded him the love of Helen of Troy which of course resulted in the world wrecking slaughter of the Trojan war. You have to be careful in making these choices.

Anyone want to help? I’d be interested to see if others share this dilemma. Which singers? Which songs? Just asking.


  1. Check out Joni, when she was Joni Anderson, on YouTube, Oscar Brand’s “Singout” 1965. I’ll take Laura Nyro, whom I was lucky enough to see live at Carnegie Hall, Fall 1969, Terry Garthwaite singing “Slender Thread” at the Bottom Line, 1975, Tracy Nelson doing “Down So Low.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 14, 2007 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  2. A million memory quartet: I was just watching Judy Collins, Eric Andersen, Tom Rush and Arlo on YouTube (where else?) singing “Thirsty Boots” at Judy’s Wildflower Festival in 2002. This is what bothers me about Hillary. Has any of this ever really touched her? Nope. I worked as George McGovern’s New York State Student Coordinator in the general election in 1972. I helped organize an event at Madison Square Garden called “Star Spangled Women for McGovern”, an all-woman show featuring Judy Collins, Chita Rivera, Tina Turner and many others. The top ticket must have been $100 and the additional draw was that Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, et. al. would serve as ushers, escort you to your seat. That spirit has been marginalized and it is what fires people about Obama. And yet, Oprah ain’t that, is it? What’s authentic is gone from America.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 17, 2007 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  3. Joni’s Help Me — her voice, the pop hook and Tom Scott’s L.A. Express (particularly guitarist Robbin Ford) lifted Joni into mainstream consumer culture — her breathless “are you going to let me go there by myself” is as sensually sly and vulnerable as Lennon’s “from the first time that she really done me…”.

    Comment by Richard Schrader — December 18, 2007 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  4. Emmylou Harris’ version of “Going Back to Harlan” – a masterwork of production (Daniel Lanois) and singing on a song about memory, heartache and loss.

    Comment by karl wiberg — December 19, 2007 @ 11:20 am | Reply

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