"For great melodies, look more to Joni's first 5 or 6 albums than the later stuff, I think.
I'd heartily agree with that. One of my still played favorites is her very first. Entire albums loose their musical sparkle afte her double-albumn "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter". Unfortunately the reckless 80's caught Joni off-guard and she floundered trying to find a voice ( "Dog eat Dog" album ) while Rickee Lee Jones kind of overshadowed Joni as she found her niche.
Anyway, melody-wise Joni's early custom tunings and choice of progressions were , truth be told , far more artistically accomplished , sophisitcated even, than *anything* Bob Dylan has *ever* produced. This is musically speaking you understand. Dylan's true strength was always in his writing and Ia case can be made for the performances of his writing.
My ear will still take to the Byrds version of "Mr. Tamborine Man" as readily as it was more taken by Crosby,Stills, Nash & Young's version of Joni's "Woodstock"..... that is *until* I saw her latest performance of "Woodstock" live; just her and a gentley flanged electric guitar. She now sings it with the aura of a sage of the ages and that voice in decline give her song the genuine gravitas
it lacked when first penned in innocence.