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Joni Mitchell — Passion Play (When All The Slaves are Free)
Album: Night Ride Home
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2146









Released: 1988
Length: 5:08
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Magdalene is trembling
Like a washing on a line
Trembling and gleaming
Never before was a man so kind
Never so redeeming

Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Ecstasy
Now you tell me
Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
(Who're you gonna get)

I am up a sycamore
Looking through the leaves
A sinner of some position
Who in the world can this heart healer be
This magical physician

Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Misery
Now you tell me
Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
(Who're you gonna get)

Enter the multitudes
The walking wounded
They come to this diver of the heart
of the multitudes
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done

Oh climb down climb down he says to me
From the middle of unrest
They think his light is squandered
But he sees a stray in the wilderness
And I see how far I've wandered

Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Apathy
Now you tell me
Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
(Who're you gonna get)

Enter the multitudes
The walking wounded
They come to this diver of the heart
of the multitudes
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done

Oh all around the marketplace
The buzzing of the flies
The buzzing and the stinging
Divinely barren
And wickedly wise
The killer nails are ringing

Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Tragedy
Now you tell me
Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
(Who're you gonna get)
Comments (142)add comment
21 years... and, sadly, this is still as relevant as when it was first released. 
This whole album is so exquisite - such beauty expressing such sorrow.
 JCJ wrote:

wake me when its over


What your wife tells you every night?
Happy 80th Birthday Joni!
I'm all smiles now. Thank you RP! 
Hey...

Not familar with this album

Please consider playing more
One of Joni Mitchell best
 tompoll wrote:

I've never been a Joni fan, but I've always recognized her huge talent, both in songwriting and performing. That said, I actually like this song quite a bit! Solid 7.




Imagine seeing Joni live, backed by Pat Metheny, Jaco and Michael Brecker and then hearing them play together; Damn fine.Did the crowds then appreciate what they were hearing? That may be someone's of idea of heaven. Especially Joni and Amelia. How sonically wide open is that song? I love the spaciousness on that track.






fuck I love Joni… thanks BillG and Rebecca
I've never been a Joni fan, but I've always recognized her huge talent, both in songwriting and performing. That said, I actually like this song quite a bit! Solid 7.
Amazing song; still sounds so good after so long... I've always loved that view of Malibu through the car window, too!
Our Canadian kid....Love you Joni
Accomplished lady and deservedly so...
 coyote620 wrote:


You were neither an imbecile nor an idiot.  



why do we consider stars, both on video and musically, as non-human?
SUPERB!!!
Is it any wonder the mighty Robert Plant as many others from this era had a crush on Joni <3
 sonicsurfer wrote:

She came into my store. I became an imbecile. Her package of Camels fell out of her pocket. I picked them up and handed them back. I was, stunned? starstruck? an idiot. She smiled.



You were neither an imbecile nor an idiot.  
I just love this.  
God bless Joni Mitchell. She isn't doing too well these days, but her music will live forever.
Why is Joni so good? There is another league and she is in it for sure.
 glassman wrote:

STOP all this Joni over play!!


STOP all this! Joni play over!

Gordon Lightfoot then Joni- genius!
 Koan wrote:
The unconventional way she ties the periphery of an otherwise heavily referenced Biblical story into relevant modern parallels is so beautifully expressed, it really stunned me the first time I gave these lyrics a proper read and noticed the progression. She deserves an even larger role in our cultural landscape (besides all the awards!), like in our schools.
 

Love the way you described these lyrics. And I recently addended a day-long music school conference on her music. 
All the songs I've heard from her (which aren't many and almost all here) I either really like or really dislike, never seems to be in between. This one is really great.  Guess I need to get some of her stuff and just sit down and listen to it. Seems she is a controversial artist.
I love this album and this track in particular. Beauty in sound. Her voice!
She came into my store. I became an imbecile. Her package of Camels fell out of her pocket. I picked them up and handed them back. I was, stunned? starstruck? an idiot. She smiled.
 chinaski wrote:
On Oct. 26, 2020 the Guardian published a recent interview with her by Cameron Crowe: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/oct/27/joni-mitchell-interview-archives-early-years-cameron-crowe
 
Another thanks for posting. 

As a young person, you’ve got to pull the weeds in your soul when you’re young. Otherwise they will choke you. Pulling the weeds in your soul early makes you a better adult.

Some artists grow and change and experiment throughout their career... I like what she said about the major Van Gogh exhibit, where you could watch him develop through his paintings. 

This is a great song, but the masterpiece of this album is Slouching Towards Bethlehema take on Yeats' poem The Second Coming.  30 years of regular play, and I'll never get sick of it. 
"The Magdalene Laundries in Ireland were institutions usually run by Roman Catholic orders, which operated from the 18th to the late 20th centuries. They were run ostensibly to house "fallen women", an estimated 30,000 of whom were confined in these institutions in Ireland. In 1993, a mass grave containing 155 corpses was uncovered in the convent grounds of one of the laundries.[1] This led to media revelations about the operations of the secretive institutions."
A beautiful song, and an easy 10 for me. Have loved Joni in just about everything she did since 1969, even Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, which took a few listens, but I came around.

This one is lovely.
 chinaski wrote:
On Oct. 26, 2020 the Guardian published a recent interview with her by Cameron Crowe: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/oct/27/joni-mitchell-interview-archives-early-years-cameron-crowe
 
Thanks for sending this out.
On Oct. 26, 2020 the Guardian published a recent interview with her by Cameron Crowe: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/oct/27/joni-mitchell-interview-archives-early-years-cameron-crowe
Thanks to RP, I get to read the lyrics of songs I've only been casually listening to for years, not paying much attention to the words.
It often makes the songs even better :) 
 nickshortie wrote:
She sucks so so so much.... Stop it and I'll start donating again!
 
Thank you for posting this; just doubled my donation!
When I studied English Lit at a Canadian university, we read the lyrics of Leonard Cohen as straight up lit. It makes sense that he would be in the curriculum since he also wrote novels and poetry not set to music, but I think Joni Mitchell should get the same respect for her lyrics as pure literature. Especially songs like this one, rivals anything we ever read in Canadian Poetry classes (which are also historically loaded with Biblical allusions). The unconventional way she ties the periphery of an otherwise heavily referenced Biblical story into relevant modern parallels is so beautifully expressed, it really stunned me the first time I gave these lyrics a proper read and noticed the progression. She deserves an even larger role in our cultural landscape (besides all the awards!), like in our schools.
 
I always loved some of her songs that I grew up hearing on the radio, or the album I bought because Peter Gabriel sang on it (kinda how I got into another Canadian, Robbie Robertson, who I also came to love independently). I've only really gotten into her full catalogue this year. She's amaaaazing. <3
The amazing
One and only

Joni

I love you

Sending peace and love to my sisters and brothers
As the world goes into lockdown with C19 and those on high seem more than willing to sacrifice the poor, the old, the "other" to save their billion$, this song seems more than apropos. Bill has his finger on the zeitgeist today.
One of her very best.
"Who you gonna get to do the dirty work when all the slaves are free?"
A lyric for our times.
 sirdroseph wrote:
I am sure she is a fine songwriter, but when the voice hits your ears like fingrnails on a chalkboard it doesn't even matter does it?{#Stupid}
 

Nuts, some people are......Yoda
 nickshortie wrote:
She sucks so so so much.... Stop it and I'll start donating again!
 
Thank you, B&R for your expression of appreciation of Joni Mitchell....
 nickshortie wrote:
She sucks so so so much.... Stop it and I'll start donating again!
 
Extortion is never pretty.  Just ask Volodymyr Zelensky.

 nickshortie wrote:
She sucks so so so much.... Stop it and I'll start donating again!
 
guess you will be better off by creating your own perfect playlist   - sonicwise and financially 

..
She sucks so so so much.... Stop it and I'll start donating again!
Rarely do we get such a rich, deep, complex, and nuanced banquet of artistic excellence.
Come for the seductive melody and arrangement, stay for the gritty, insightful, and textured meaning.
ahhhhhh...one of the original Princesses!
You.
"Exxon blue"...the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in the Gulf of Alaska was only one year later. I remember hearing this song and weeping yet again. "Who ya gonna get?" I cried for the sea otters that I knew I'd kayaked with and died in the tidal waves of oil...
 mark93 wrote:
I didn't much like this side of Joni when she started to move into the jazzier modes... but now I suspect that was a result of being younger and stupider and not smart enough to understand what she was up to.  ;^)   Now I simply marvel at her.
 
For the Roses
through to Don Juan's Reckless Daughter and the live Shadows & Light are really what make Joni unparalleled. To write classics like Clouds at an early age and end up so musically rich and mature... there are few and far between that come close. 

To anyone who likes Joni, I recommend listening to Madison Cunningham. I've tried to upload some of her tracks on RP but had tech difficulty. Check out the album Love Lose Remember. Good stuff. 
 glassman wrote:
STOP all this Joni over play!!

 
I didn't have to look very hard to find at least one reason why you should stop asking for Joni tracks to be stopped....

Joni I love you sooooo much, you make me sing and cry and my spirits fly. So many years of wonderful music. {#Daisy} {#Hearteyes} {#Daisy}
Still an amazing song after all these years.
 glassman wrote:
STOP all this Joni over play!!

 
Only 1 play in the last 30 days for this one. The thing is, there's so much incredible material from Joni that still stands up so well.
 glassman wrote:
STOP all this Joni over play!!

 
No thank you.
Very nice tune to have come on as I turn up and test my new bluetooth speaker toy this morning. :-)
STOP all this Joni over play!!
Joni I love you sooooo much, you make me sing and cry and my spirits fly. So many years of wonderful music. {#Daisy}{#Hearteyes}{#Daisy}
I've never heard this one before.  Beautiful, as usual.

Still... twisted is my all-time favorite!

thanks Joni....   for your contribution to my amazingly curious life.{#Notworthy}
Just great! Putting it into our dance music list...
I thought this was Heart for a hot minute!  I have a love/dislike relationship with Joni, but I like this one.  Thanks, RP.
 kcar wrote:

It definitely deserves regular play, far more than most stuff from Dengue Fever, Cake and Radiohead. Very summery and calmly joyous. 

 
Yes : )
 sirdroseph wrote:
I am sure she is a fine songwriter, but when the voice hits your ears like fingrnails on a chalkboard it doesn't even matter does it?{#Stupid}

 
I agree, I want to like it but just cannot, haven't heard a song I like yet.
 sirdroseph wrote:
I am sure she is a fine songwriter, but when the voice hits your ears like fingrnails on a chalkboard it doesn't even matter does it?{#Stupid}

 
yup! {#Stop}
The first time I've heard this jewel.  Absolutely WONDERFUL!!  An 8 on first blush.
Simply so damn good. An unparalleled music maker.
 Zep wrote:
Four and a half years without playing this?

Certainly it's better than that? 
 
It definitely deserves regular play, far more than most stuff from Dengue Fever, Cake and Radiohead. Very summery and calmly joyous. 
I didn't much like this side of Joni when she started to move into the jazzier modes... but now I suspect that was a result of being younger and stupider and not smart enough to understand what she was up to.  ;^)   Now I simply marvel at her.
 nagsheadlocal wrote:
Some of my favorite guitar work by Joni, in a career full of marvelous guitar tunings and phrasings.
 
She's under-rated as a guitarist. She done some very innovative and astounding things with her tunings and phrasings over the years.
One of her very best. 10.
 nagsheadlocal wrote:
Some of my favorite guitar work by Joni, in a career full of marvelous guitar tunings and phrasings.
 
concur. wonderful stuff.

Some of my favorite guitar work by Joni, in a career full of marvelous guitar tunings and phrasings.
 WonderLizard wrote:
Joni Mitchell - Passion Play (When All The Slaves Are Free)
Solomon Burke - None Of Us Are Free
Elvis Costello - Peace, Love and Understanding
Youngbloods - Get Together

Right now the little town I've lived in for 28 years and in which I'm deeply involved is undergoing one of those periodic spasms that seem to plague little towns in the Old South. This time the chosen hate targets are Hispanic immigrants. The meanspiritedness of the rhetoric makes even the ugliest of sentiments in these pages pale in comparison. It is during times like these that I treasure Bill's clear-eyed sense of music's magic, its gift for distilling the essence of what is best in all of us. This set is emblematic of that.

 
Very interesting personal observation, thanks for sharing that.  I guess on that level, Bill's (and his lovely companion's) personal values and tastes are part of the beauty that draws us here.  Wow, nice segue to Plant and Krause.  Interesting that Joni M's arrangements and T-Bone Burnett's impeccable production flow that well together.
Beautiful, insightful... Joni
I am sure she is a fine songwriter, but when the voice hits your ears like fingrnails on a chalkboard it doesn't even matter does it?{#Stupid}
Joni Mitchell - Passion Play (When All The Slaves Are Free)
Solomon Burke - None Of Us Are Free
Elvis Costello - Peace, Love and Understanding
Youngbloods - Get Together

Right now the little town I've lived in for 28 years and in which I'm deeply involved is undergoing one of those periodic spasms that seem to plague little towns in the Old South. This time the chosen hate targets are Hispanic immigrants. The meanspiritedness of the rhetoric makes even the ugliest of sentiments in these pages pale in comparison. It is during times like these that I treasure Bill's clear-eyed sense of music's magic, its gift for distilling the essence of what is best in all of us. This set is emblematic of that.

Of her later day albums, I feel this is her strongest.  Solid songwriting and studio engineering.
Robots!
Four and a half years without playing this?

Certainly it's better than that? 

spiritbear wrote:
This is a great CD - can someone please upload "Come in From the Cold" and "Night Ride Home"? Those are both great tracks from this CD.
I believe both tracks got a "Sorry" when submitted via LRC. Which is a shame, imo.
spiritbear wrote:
This is a great CD - can someone please upload "Come in From the Cold" and "Night Ride Home"? Those are both great tracks from this CD.
This is a great CD - can someone please upload "Come in From the Cold" and "Night Ride Home"? Those are both great tracks from this CD.
Don't know what it is about Joni... I can't help liking her stuff. It just has this smooth, sunny feel to it.
This song is fairly cool, but when she says, "multitudes", I wan't to kill a mockingbird. She says it sort of like, "malltitÃŒdes"
For all the good work that Joni Mitchell has done, this is part of her later, lesser work. She useta be able to sing ... at least the synthsizers aren't as obtrusive on this one ... she also useta be able to write decent lyrics. Oh well, there's still Hejira.
...thanks Joni!... S.
Patrick wrote:
No offense meant, but that's a little like saying that Paul McCartney sounds like Dave Matthews.
Hey, now that you mention it... just kidding.
Daveinbawlmer wrote:
Oh God Please make it stop. It's coffee shop music from hell.
After all that head banging you must need your head examined! LOL!
I love Joni, I really do. But this is not good. I mean, hit me with the message brick, why don't you. "Did anyone order a side of subtlety? Anyone? Hello?"
Pyro wrote:
JONI
Love Joni-love this song! Joni is THE inspiration for all those "other" girl singers who followed in her footsteps......A woman after my own heart. Excellent pick Bill!
BGGA wrote:
Joni is a goddess! Hey Bob, I'd love to hear "a Case of You"!
You mean Bill?
Joni is a goddess! Hey Bob, I'd love to hear "a Case of You"!
JONI
trekhead wrote:
She DO sound like Shawn Colvin , don't she?
No offense meant, but that's a little like saying that Paul McCartney sounds like Dave Matthews.
Daveinbawlmer wrote:
Oh God Please make it stop. It's coffee shop music from hell.
Or a posting from hell.
timandjuliet wrote:
Love the song, loooooove the album (Night Ride Home)
Yes...with the crickets chirping....mmmmm.
Other than Court and Spark, I never really liked Joni a whole lot. But I think I like this.
chinacat wrote:
Well, I guess that you could start with "Blue" like many of us did and see if that does anything for you, or then again, maybe she just doesnt' do anything for you.
excellent advice!!! you'll hear this ... Just before our love got lost you said I am as constant as a northern star And I said, constant in the darkness Where's that at? If you want me I'll be in the bar Oh you are in my blood like holy wine And you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet Oh I could drink a case of you I could drink a case of you darling Still I'd be on my feet And still be on my feet who else has written this, or anything like it?
First time hearing this. Not a huge fan of hers one way or another. First thing I heard by her was her live CD Shadows and Light and thought she was more jazz-influenced than anything after hearing it. It had pretty much Pat Metheny's entire band backing her up. If you were ever into Jaco and Weather Report, check him out on this CD, some of his best playing, live or otherwise. The Shawn Colvin reference, hmmm, not sure about that. Colvin's voice seems like Joni-lite. I think they may be closer musically, since they each seem to experiment with odd chord and rythm changes for traditional 'folk' music. But Shawn's voice seems more frail.
Love the song, loooooove the album (Night Ride Home)
Shawn Colvin was produced by Joni's husband wasn't she...? Until her head got too big...
Oh God Please make it stop. It's coffee shop music from hell.
trekhead wrote:
She DO sound like Shawn Colvin , don't she?
You've got it switched around.
She DO sound like Shawn Colvin , don't she?
Magnificent.
i never could get into joni mitchell's music. she's mellowed a bit here, so it's not so bad. her voice just seems all over the place, which is probably why a lot of people like her. i guess it's a love or hate thing.
The version of "Both Sides Now" from her "Both Sides Now" CD (2000) gives me chill bumps. Maybe some orchestral Joni, Bill?
Rhaja wrote:
To ALL!! Check out Ms. Mitchell' "TRAVELOGUE", (double CD) She has done what many others have tried and failed at, and that is using an orchestra as her musical backdrop, While SUCCESFULLY REINTERPRETING and REINVENTING HER OWN TUNES. Check out the new versions of; 1) "Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody" 2) "The Circle Game" 3) "Cherokee Louise" (The saddest intro I have yet heard) Generally speaking, the orchestra pushes and supports the melody and lyrics, while Ms. Mitchell' still retains all her vocal chops and tone, she now also adds the tone of wisdom, reflection and regret, enhanced by age and life experiance, without sounding "show-casey" or predictable, all the while singing WITH the orchestra, and not over them. Very Impressive. (Also Thumbs-Up to Co-Producer Larry Klein and arranger and conductor Vince Mendoza) REALITY CHECK: If your a long-time OR "On-The-Fence" kinda fan (like me), check this Disk(s) out! If you never were a fan, give #1 and/or #3 a listen so that you can at least say that your "open-minded", and then move on and have a nice day :-)
Also, she did the same thing on the 2000 CD called "Both Sides Now". A single CD with wonderful orchestrations, and a mature (albeit smoker's) voice gives these old songs a GREAT sound. I confess, Joni is a goddess to me....can't blame Graham Nash for wanting her around in the early 70's.
:sunny.gif:
I know that Joni Mitchell has a huge and loyal following, and I like her music, but I've never been able to make that leap into being a fan of it. A few years back, she played with Dylan at U of Maryland. A group of us went. Everyone else in our group was excited, telling people they were going to the Joni Mitchell concert. Me, I was going to see Dylan. Different strokes . . .
I can't be objective about Joni--she owns a place in my heart.
To ALL!! Check out Ms. Mitchell' "TRAVELOGUE", (double CD) She has done what many others have tried and failed at, and that is using an orchestra as her musical backdrop, While SUCCESFULLY REINTERPRETING and REINVENTING HER OWN TUNES. Check out the new versions of; 1) "Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody" 2) "The Circle Game" 3) "Cherokee Louise" (The saddest intro I have yet heard) Generally speaking, the orchestra pushes and supports the melody and lyrics, while Ms. Mitchell' still retains all her vocal chops and tone, she now also adds the tone of wisdom, reflection and regret, enhanced by age and life experiance, without sounding "show-casey" or predictable, all the while singing WITH the orchestra, and not over them. Very Impressive. (Also Thumbs-Up to Co-Producer Larry Klein and arranger and conductor Vince Mendoza) REALITY CHECK: If your a long-time OR "On-The-Fence" kinda fan (like me), check this Disk(s) out! If you never were a fan, give #1 and/or #3 a listen so that you can at least say that your "open-minded", and then move on and have a nice day :-)
beelzebubba wrote:
Huh. Imagine that. Joni Mitchell on PBS. Who woulda thunk? Let me guess - they followed it up with a fund drive in between Peter Paul and Mary set breaks....
Shaaadaap.
I've yet to hear a Joni Mitchell song that doesn't sound like every other song of hers. I'll give her some credit. She has a unique way that she carries lyrics. Unfortunately, as unique as it is, her style just doesn't appeal to me.
pdhski wrote:
Finally found a Joni Mitchell song I can listen to all the way through
My thoughts exactly!
Finally found a Joni Mitchell song I can listen to all the way through
I fell in love with Joni when she released "Blue," and have been a BIG fan ever since....
Love this song, love Joni. But honestly "Who ya gonna get to do the dirtywork, when all the slaves are free" ? Good to give the issue some attention, but with "free trade", "outsourcing", China, the former "worker's paradise" turning out much of the worlds domestic goods under abysmal working conditions, and the whole third world as a sweat shop, there doesn't seem to be a lot of hope for the slaves. Perhaps the next Democratic administration will do something about this, hopefully in my lifetime.
ForestElf2020 wrote:
What amazes me about Joni is that I can hear her singing and have no idea who it is. The first couple of times I heard cuts from BOTH SIDES NOW, I was convinced it was a re-mastered Sarah Vaughan CD. But it was Joni. How many other artists have had almost a 40-year career and are as vital now as when they first started.
But her voice, and her style, has changed over the years. I think she's a stone genius, but everyone hears something different in her music. I think you have to relate to the poetry in her lyrics. It took me years of listening to her to get to that point myself. And, to digress a bit, I'm very understanding of people not liking Joni. I feel very strongly that nobody has to like anything, in fact. I'm always running into music on RP that sounds like trash to me, only to check the comments and find multiple posts of adoration. I reserve the right to not like anything I choose to not like, so if people don't like Joni, I respect that. At the same time, I'm so glad she's been doing what she does, and I appreciate her so much, and I'm so glad when I bump into others that are moved by her music, as I am.
great_one wrote:
I just don't get Joni.
Well, I guess that you could start with "Blue" like many of us did and see if that does anything for you, or then again, maybe she just doesnt' do anything for you.
Interesting title for this album "Misses". Not bad for a box of throw outs. Fine work from a very talented Lady. We all should miss so badly. A true artist in every sense of the word, with her quill, with her brush, with her camera, with her fingers dancing over strings or keys, with her vocal expressions oh so unique and creative, with her heart and soul. Joni has brought beauty into this world in so many ways. So many gifts wrapped up in one very talented person. Outside of the box before the expression was popular ...
ANNE_MARIE wrote:
something from Blue would be sooo nice!!!
I second that!
Love it! Huge Jm fan