The sea was full of sheep | Joni Mitchell, Matala, Crete, 1970

The sea was full of sheep | Joni Mitchell, Matala, Crete, 1970
Joni Mitchell

The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn’t sleep
Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here, Carey
But it’s really not my home

Come on down to the Mermaid Café
And I will buy you a bottle of wine
And we’ll laugh and toast to nothing
And smash our empty glasses down

But let’s not talk about fare-thee-wells now
The night is a starry dome
And they’re playin’ that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matala Moon

The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn’t sleep
The sea was full of sheep

Joni Mitchell, Carey, 1970

Joni Mitchell playing the dulcimer, October 9, 1970
Joni Mitchell, Carey, Live At The Carnegie Hall, 1972 & Narration


When Joni Mitchell met Cary Raditz in early 1970, he was living in a cave in Matala, Crete.
When did you first hear ”Carey” ?
On April 19, 1970 – my 24th birthday – in my cave. Joni played it for me as a present. She also
gave me 10 Mickey Mouse chocolate bars. They came with these Disney character cards that
the cave people traded. When she sang the song, I was surprised by it, since I’m the subject.
But I wasn’t blown away. It sounded like a ditty, something she had tossed off. I believe the
song went on longer than the final version on “Blue.” I think she changed some of the
lines, too. As I recall, she sang something like, “Last night I couldn’t sleep, the sea was
full of sheep.” One of the local expressions was that when the sea was choppy, the
whitecaps looked like sheep.
Cary Raditz interview on Marc Myers
Joni Mitchell playing the dulcimer October 9, 1970

1 thought on “The sea was full of sheep | Joni Mitchell, Matala, Crete, 1970

  1. Swiftly walk o'er the western wave,
    Spirit of Night!
    Out of the misty eastern cave,
    Where, all the long and lone daylight,
    Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
    Which make thee terrible and dear,—
    Swift be thy flight!

    Wrap thy form in a mantle gray,
    Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day;
    Kiss her until she be wearied out,
    Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land,
    Touching all with thine opiate wand—
    Come, long-sought!

    When I arose and saw the dawn,
    I sighed for thee;
    When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
    And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
    And the weary Day turned to his rest,
    Lingering like an unloved guest.
    I sighed for thee.

    Thy brother Death came, and cried,
    Wouldst thou me?
    Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
    Murmured like a noontide bee,
    Shall I nestle near thy side?
    Wouldst thou me?—And I replied,
    No, not thee!

    Death will come when thou art dead,
    Soon, too soon—
    Sleep will come when thou art fled;
    Of neither would I ask the boon
    I ask of thee, belovèd Night—
    Swift be thine approaching flight,
    Come soon, soon!

    To Night / Percy Bysshe Shelley / 1821


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