In My Life
Judy Collins' sixth album completes her transformation from traditional folksinger to master interpreter of any genre she pleases. Her choices define the term eclectic. An abstract Bob Dylan song such as "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," Lennon and McCartney's timeless title track, Leonard Cohen's majestic "Suzanne" and his deeply nuanced and dramatic "Dress Rehearsal Rag" and European theatre pieces like Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill ("Pirate Jenny") and Jacques Brel ("La Colombe") rest comfortably alongside one another, tied together by arranger Joshua Rifkin's tasteful, artsy arrangements and Collins' unforced yet virtuoso vocal performances. Her voice is a clear marvel and she manages to convey grace, elegance, and emotionalism with perfect balance. Her rendition of Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" is first-rate and definitive, while Donovan's "Sunny Goodge Street" is given a sweet read and Richard Farina's "Hard Lovin' Loser" is delivered with unexpected toughness. With In My Life, Collins had hit her stride without giving into the lite-FM tendencies of her later work.