Hear Jimi Hendrix's Recording of Joni Mitchell Live in Ottawa

"The Dawntreader" will appear in Mitchell's 'Archives, Vol. 2' box set

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jul 28, 2021

In a well-documented bit of Ottawa music history, March 1968 saw a 24-year-old Joni Mitchell take the stage at Le Hibou coffee house with Jimi Hendrix in the audience. Hendrix, who was in town for shows of his own, had brought along a reel-to-reel tape recorder to capture Mitchell's two performances, and audio from the evening once thought to be lost has now surfaced.

Mitchell's performance of "The Dawntreader," taken from Hendrix's tape, can be heard below. It's one of many archival pieces that will now see release as part of Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971), set for release on October 29 through Rhino.

Hendrix had also noted his run-in with Mitchell (and his stay downtown at the Château Laurier) in his personal diary, writing, "Arrived in Ottawa. Beautiful hotel. Strange people...Beautiful dinner. Talks with Joni Mitchell on the phone. I think I'll record her tonight with my excellent tape recorder (knock on wood). Hmmm...can't find any wood...everything's plastic. Beautiful view."

The guitarist's entry described Mitchell as a "fantastic girl with heaven words," noting that he captured "marvellous sound on first show. Good on second. Good recording."

As Mitchell now recalls to Cameron Crowe in new Archives Vol. 2 liner notes, "They came and told me, 'Jimi Hendrix is here, and he's at the front door.' I went to meet him. He had a large box. He said to me, 'My name is Jimi Hendrix. I'm on the same label as you. Reprise Records.' We were both signed about the same time. He said, 'I'd like to record your show. Do you mind?' I said, 'no, not at all.' There was a large reel-to-reel tape recorder in the box.

"The stage was only about a foot off the ground. He knelt at edge of the stage, with a microphone, at my feet. All during the show, he kept twisting knobs. He was engineering it, I don't know what he was controlling, volume? He was watching the needles or something, messing with knobs. He beautifully recorded this tape. Of course I played part of the show to him. He was right below me."

Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) will arrive digitally, as well as a 5-CD set and 10-LP set. The latter will be limited to 4,000 copies. Not unlike last year's archival set The Early Years (1963-1967), the selections have been chronologically sequenced to follow Mitchell's output in real time.

The new collection also features the Blue demos and outtakes Mitchell shared last month, along with her complete Carnegie Hall debut from 1969, a BBC concert with James Taylor and more. Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) is now available for pre-order.

Mitchell recently became one of the first Canadians to receive a Kennedy Centre Honor. She also recently shared remastered reissues of her first four albums.

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