Judy Collins

Every Song Elicits the Word ‘Beautiful.’

I don’t know if I’m correct in saying Judy Collins is having something of a renaissance late in her career; but if it is it’s very welcome here at RMHQ; and as was proved on her recent live album; her stunning voice hasn’t aged a day.
While I’ve always known she was a great interpreter of other songwriter’s songs; I was surprised to find that this is her first ever album of her own songs …. fancy that?
The title track SPELLBOUND comes in at Track #1 and if this beauty doesn’t stop you in your tracks you’re listening to the wrong album. The production is crystal clear and suits Ms Collins like a velvet glove on a song that finds the singer looking back on a love story she was a part of many years ago.
As I’ve continued to play the album every track has elicited the word ‘beautiful’ …. and every song here is exactly that; as Judy more or less looks back on a life well lived.
I think it’s difficult to pigeon-hole this particular album; in some ways it’s the epitome of Americana while we certainly get an array of Folk Songs; as the winsome When I Was a Girl in Colorado and Prairie Dream probably fit under that umbrella better than most; but in 2022 would you say Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell are still thought of as Folk Singers?
Me neither.
Here, Judy’s songs Hell On Wheels, Arizona and the intensely intricate Wild With Mist all transcend such a type-casting; these and others need a whole new genre outside such a simple label.
As regular readers know RMHQ tries its best to promote new singers and bands to the populace; but for many of you out there Judy Collins will be a ‘new name’ too and; especially if you are an aspiring singer-songwriter yourself, I urge you to seek out Grand Canyon and City of Awakening to discover how to take an everyday subject and make it into something staggeringly wonderful.
Before I tell you which is my Favourite Song; I must mention that the only only ‘old song’ here is the re-recorded finale The Blizzard from her 1990 album Fires of Eden and stands shoulder to shoulder with the other dozen songs like an elder sibling, or even matriarch.
I didn’t know the story behind the Thomas Merton song; but Googled him as I played it …. and when you understand that he was a monk/author, philosopher and renowned anti-war activist in the 1950’s and 60’s; the song will take on a whole new resonance with you, as it has me …… which it ties for the accolade Favourite Song with So Alive, which couldn’t be any more different as it’s about falling in love for the first time and actually sparkles as the notes come from your stereo speakers.
I doubt I will be alone in actually ‘discovering’ Judy Collins in the twilight of her glittering career; but while I knew her from her singles in the 1970’s I’ve been lucky enough to have been ‘forced’ to listen to her last four albums for review purposes and it’s been an absolute joy from start to finish.

Released February 25th 2022

USA https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/judy-collins-spellbound-cd/

Europe https://www.juno.co.uk/products/judy-collins-spellbound/861729-01/

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