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A terrific Collection Of The Very Best Of Judy Collins!
on August 20, 2000
This compilation of Judy's best numbers from a dozen or more albums over twenty years is a fantastic showcase of her unbelievable vocal magic. I remember seeing Judy in concert in the quite informal setting of Avaloch, a wonderful sylvan natural amphitheater that all the folk stars from Collins to Joan Baez to Kris Kristoferson to Tom Rush to James Taylor performed at in Lenox Massachusetts in the summers of 1970. Sadly, it is now the site of a ritzy set of summer condominiums for the New York summertime Berkshires crowd. Yet I can still recall hearing Judy with that magical soaring voice of hers warming up on stage with "Amazing Grace" (which is included here) as we filed onto the grass, and the song so echoed and reverberated over the warm humid airwaves that he older folks at Tanglewood, some six or seven miles way, complained about the noisome interruption. It became an inside joke that Collins, Baez and others would playfully aggravate when performing for the very mellow crowd of counterculture fans.
Of course, it probably goes without saying that I love most of the songs on this album, from the opening smash hit of "Someday Soon" to the thoughtful and memorable "who Knows Where The Time Goes?" to a wonderful cover of Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning" and another unforgettable cover of Leonard Cohen's masterful "Suzanne", which Judy made famous (along with a very shy and reticent Cohen, who she literally had to coax onto the stage several times to get him started). Many of my all-time Judy Collins favorites are here, from "My Father", "In My Life", "Both Sides Now", and a terrific "First Boy I Loved" to "Albatross", "Turn, Turn, Turn", and "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue". Of course, not all of her hits are here, and that is one of the reasons I am a great believer in sampling all of an artist's original albums to get all of his or her work in context. Luckily, most of Judy's work is still available. The one song I regret not being included is Jacques Brel's classic song of love, "Marieke", which I used to name my daughter. Still, this is a superb collection of an incredible artist, a glossy Technicolor snapshot of a one of the titans of modern American folk music, taken at the peak of her awesome vocal and collaborative talents. It is one sure to please the most discriminating of well-trained folk ears, and one I am sure you will come to treasure as much as I do. Enjoy.