A 1974 live effort recorded with backing band the L.A. Express, Miles of Aisles consists of fairly straightforward versions of songs from Canadian songstress Joni Mitchell's first five (pre-Court and Spark) albums. Although the record includes some soulful, Santana-esque lead guitar work from Robben Ford, and an extremely tight rhythm section, the best tracks are the ones where Mitchell is accompanied only by her own acoustic guitar or piano. In this setting, Mitchell is better able, both vocally and emotionally, to navigate the subtle peaks and valleys of her early material.
Standout tracks include a surprisingly (considering how many times she must have had to sing it, even in 1974) heartfelt and sensitive version of "Both Sides Now" and a very sweetly sung "Blue." Although by no means essential compared to her other work, the performances on Miles of Aisles do have a certain offhandedness that may be of interest to those who think Mitchell often takes herself too seriously.