Joni Mitchell Archives Vol 3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975) 5CD Box Set : Unboxing Review

Unboxing Joni Mitchell’s “The Asylum Years” – A Journey Through Her Golden Era

This Box Set is the third in this series are chronicles her journey from 1972 to 1975. This period is particularly dear to me, and I’m thrilled to share my experience with this collection.

Unboxing “Archive Volume 3 – The Asylum Years”

This is the third volume in Joni Mitchell’s archive series, and it’s the first one I’ve got my hands on. The box set’s design is consistent with the previous volumes, featuring a luxurious presentation and a detailed track listing from various albums of the era.


Four CDs: Each CD is a treasure trove of live performances, demos, early sessions, and more.
Booklet: A 40-page booklet filled with stunning photographs and insightful text, a delight for any Joni Mitchell fan.
Memorabilia: The box set includes a variety of memorabilia, thoughtfully curated to enhance the experience.
Exploring the Music

The quality of the recordings in this box set is exceptional, making it feel like every track was meant for official release. Highlights include:

Disc 1: Features For The Roses Demos, a live concert from Carnegie Hallcand sessions, including collaborations with Graham Nash and David Crosby.
Disc 2: Continues with live performances (Festival Hall)  and early sessions, showcasing Joni’s versatility.
Disc 3: Offers Court and Spark demos, Neil Young sessions, and live performances from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Disc 4 -features the rest of the Dorothy Chandler Concert
Disc 5: Concludes with more live tracks and the intriguing Hissing of Summer Lawns demos.
The Experience

Listening to these CDs, you’re transported into Joni’s world. The demos, in particular, are not just rough sketches but beautifully crafted pieces. They allow you to feel as if you’re sitting in a room with Joni Mitchell herself, experiencing the raw, organic sound of her music.

Reflections on Joni Mitchell’s Artistry

This period of Joni Mitchell’s career is one of my favourites, and this box set encapsulates why. Her music from this era is a blend of introspection, innovation, and raw emotional power. The box set not only offers a deep dive into her music but also into her creative process, showcasing her evolution as an artist.

Why This Box Set Matters

For fans of Joni Mitchell, this box set is a must-have. It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of CD box sets as a medium to present music in a way that’s both luxurious and meaningful. The attention to detail in the packaging and the quality of the content make it a valuable addition to any music collection.


“The Asylum Years Archive Series” is more than just a collection of songs; it’s a journey through a pivotal period in Joni Mitchell’s career. It’s a beautifully presented, lovingly curated experience that brings her music to life in a new and exciting way. If you’re a fan of Joni Mitchell or just appreciate the art of music, this box set is an essential addition to your collection.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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