Judith Marjorie “Judy” Collins (born May 1, 1939) is an American singer and songwriter known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records (which has included folk, show tunes, pop, rock and rolland standards) and for her social activism.
I just came back from seeing Judy Collins in concert and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Englewood, N.J. This is the seventh time I’ve seen her in the past 20 years and Saturday night her voice was the most crisp, clear and sharp as I’ve ever heard her. At 75 years old she sounds exactly like she did when she was young in the 1960’s. However her choice of songs was a little different than usual. Ranging from low keyed to melodic and obscure.
Dressed in a bright blue long flowing dress and her thick, flowing, fluffy white hair which she kept flickering with her hand Judy started out with her hit song “Chelsea Morning” and the John Denver song “Take Me home Country Roads.” She played acoustic guitar and was accompanied by her longtime pianist. From there she went into stories about listening to her father as a young girl interview singers on his radio show and performing songs. Her father was blind. She went into a song about being “her father’s daughter” and then several Irish ballads including Barbara Allen and “The Gypsy Rover”. Following those songs she went into lesser known songs by Tom Waits and Jackson Brown. Each song received only warm applause from the audience. About half way through the concert she did a few Stephen Sondheim tunes including “Send in the Clowns” which received a loud applause and a song she made into a hit.
After the Sondheim set she switched places with her pianist and accompanied herself on the piano and performed a song about being caught in a storm in Colorado.
For an encore she did her famous trademark song I always love hearing “Both Sides Now” beautifully and flawlessly and “In My Life” by the Beatles. The entire concert was short only an hour and fifteen minutes. So I had mixed reactions to this concert. Judy’s voice was the best I’ve ever heard her even when she did some acappella songs, so crisp and clear, but her choice of songs were unknown to me. Judging by the subject matter of them it seemed she was being reflective on her life. Perhaps rightly so at her age and all she’s been through in her life.