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Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music Paperback – October 2, 2012
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“Collin’s improbable and utterly charming tale of assuming iconic status as a popular music star from the early 1960’s onward also proves a tremendously valuable chronicle of the early folk music scene…[A] forthright, radiant work.” –Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Judy is honest and forthcoming about herself and her encounters. She describes a meeting with Janis Joplin and how she was as close to the edge as Janis was. She regresses to 1954 to tell us of her upbringing, her family and her blind father, who fought his own demons of alcohol addiction - how the sounds of `The Gypsy Rover' changed her life. She is brutally honest; in the account of her life, relating her migraines and depressions, her suicide attempt when she was very young, her relationship with her father and mother, her loves, her problems with alcohol and the suicide of her son. What is confirmed is how music changes lives, hers and ours, despite troubles and sorrows, joys and loves. The story ends with the gift of her final love, Louis Nelson.
What comes through is the story of a much adored survivor and the music of her life and all of us who had a love affair with those sounds. This is a book for lovers of folk, of music, of honest biographies, but most of all Judy Collins herself.
What is so refreshing about this book is that Ms. Collins, even when she is being so brutally honest about her own shortcomings, is always gentle with most of the many people she has known in her long career spanning over fifty years. On Joan Baez, that other great female folk singer and her contemporary: "I never felt that competitiveness was helpful or warranted. . . But if she was Ceres. . . I was Diana. . . And the forest is a big, thriving place, chock-full of gods and goddesses." While she does not understand what happened to her friendship with Joni Mitchell, who of course wrote "Both Sides Now," one of Ms. Collins' biggest hits, she nevertheless, "can say thank you. She [Mitchell] gave me a beautiful song, and sometimes that is all one can expect--or, should I say, more than anyone has any right to expect." Bob Dylan, after his early success, "Sometimes. . .Read more ›
About halfway into Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, I was somewhat bored and annoyed, feeling it was largely a retread of ground well-covered in the first two books, but somehow had lost their heart in an over-abundance of detail. I could not hear her voice. But by book's end I'd become more appreciative of the detail, because as they say, that's where the devil resides. It is by the piling up of these details that the darkness and weight of Collins' demons are truly felt. And with that, the consistent clarity, light, and transcendent quality of "a Judy Collins song" becomes all the more remarkable.
If anything, the book well illustrates the contradictions and complexities residing in us all, the angels and demons, darkness and light. Most people would probably prefer to not expose their darker side to public scrutiny, but maybe that willingness is one of the qualities that distinguishes a true artist.
"When we sing, our hearts can lift and fly, over the troubled waters and over the years."
"After all these years, I still believe that music can change the world, and as long as there's music, the dreams will never die."
These two quotes-one from the books beginning, and the other from the very end-neatly sum up Judy Collins' life, both in and out of music. The feelings and beliefs she writes about in these two sentences run all through her memoir. This book is no academic look at Collins' life and music. It's Collins explaining her life as she sees it, so it's not objective. It's Collins' thoughts and impressions, mixed with fact. If you approach the book knowing that, you won't be disappointed.
This memoir of Collins' life and music is a fairly revealing look at both Collins and the many people and events from the times she describes as both "thrilling and terrifying". It's about the folk movement and the many performers who crossed her path. It's about an era that began to focus and define itself through music. Throughout the book Collins explores in some detail many areas of her life, and the rumors that have surrounded her for years.
After an opening chapter about her meeting Stephen Stills and falling in love with him, and talking about the songs Stills wrote for/about her, the book begins in the 1950's, where Collins love of music began.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Listening to Judy Collins reading her autobiography felt as if I'd been given a gift. She wrote clearly, and far more openly than I would have imagined. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Stephanie Newman
This was a very honest and straightforward story about the life of a talented and beautiful lady. A great insight into the world of folk music.Published 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
Candid autobiography of Judy Collins, a singer songwriter whose music and concerts I have enjoyed from my college days in the 60s up through the 21st century.Published 1 month ago by Bradley Mohr
Interesting and informative about the life and times. Sometimes glosses over things. It's not a "literary" book and more of a typical commercial memoir.Published 2 months ago by Karen Herceg
Being familiar with the people in Judy's memoirs, I find this book extremely interesting and fascinating.Published 3 months ago by Cathi Rhodes
Truly enjoyed this story. It was perhaps too loaded with alcohol and drugs and the inability to find one man to live with and love. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Karen Hehn