Barry Bowman finds Joni Mitchell’s First Recordings in his Basement
by Mike Devlin
September 15, 2020
Two long-forgotten tapes featuring the first recordings of Joni Mitchell have come out of storage and into circulation, thanks to a serendipitous turn of events involving retired Victoria broadcaster Barry Bowman.
Bowman, who spent three decades on air at CFAX 1070, was a disc jockey at CFQC AM in Saskatoon when he first met Mitchell in 1963. She was an inexperienced 19 year-old playing music under her given name (Joni Anderson) when Bowman brought her into the CFQC studio for an hour-long session. Nine songs were recorded that night, featuring just Mitchell and her ukulele, which she hoped to use as an audition tape to attract managers and booking agents. “I propped her on a stool, put a mic in front of her went in the booth and put down the recording,” Bowman said.
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