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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Underplayed Vinyl: Judy Collins

For my 16th birthday in March 1969, I received the album Who Knows Where the Time Goes from my friend Lois, who I had known since kindergarten. Even as she was giving the LP, she gave me this whopping caveat said, "I hope you like it. It's kinda country." Well, some of it was for certain, but it was far more eclectic than I was led to expect.
Hello Hooray - Starts off mysteriously softly, almost inaudibly, before breaking into a stirring rock tune, featuring Steve Stills on the guitar. Yes, this is the same song that Alice Cooper later covered.
Story of Isaac - A Leonard Cohen tune featuring only harpsichord and organ about the Biblical character who was to be sacrificed to God by his father Abraham. I found this song particularly moving and put it on a mixed CD at some point.
My Father - A rare composition by Judy; interesting how she placed the two songs about fathers and their children together. This is a lovely biographical song in waltz time.

Someday Soon - One of those "country" songs with the pedal steel guitar that has become a Collins trademark, written by Ian Tyson.

The title tune - Written by Sandy Denny, it is an equisite mournful anthem where the piano, guitar and bass set off Judy's voice marvelously.

Poor Immigrant- A Bob Dylan tune, also with pedal steel and Dobro.
First Boy I Loved - A much-covered Robin Williamson song about the title character growing to "a grown-up male stranger." Having loved and lost since then, it is far more powerful to me now. There was a version of this song (First Girl I Loved) done by Jackson Browne for a tribute to Elektra Records called Rubaiyat.
Bird on the Wire - Another "country" tune, another Leonard Cohen tune, probably my favorite of the "country" tunes, because guitarist James Burton sounded as though he were having so much fun.

Pretty Polly - A murder ballad that starts softly, builds to the death - "He stabbed her through the heart, and her heart blood did flow," pulls back musically for the burial, then rocks out to the end with Burton and Stills sharing guitar licks. This song was shocking to me at the time and still affecting today.

This album has been on and off my desert albums list for decades.

July Collins, born May 1, 1939, turns 69 today. I saw her perform live but once, in the early 1980s, in Glens Falls, NY after winning tickets on a radio contest the very day of the concert.

Oh, what the heck: Since You Asked from Wildflowers:

And this more elementary song:


1 comment:

GayProf said...

When everybody on Sesame Street was able to see snufalufagus, the show jumped the shark.