The Very Best of Judy Collins
While a strong argument can be made that distilling Judy Collins’ career down to 16 songs is a bit limiting, considering the wide breadth of her career and catalog, this Very Best collection features great material from beginning to end. Her version of “Turn, Turn, Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)” is from her earliest folk days, before there was even folk-rock. Her impeccable ear for emerging songwriters is made plain by the inclusion of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” Ian Tyson’s “Someday Soon” and Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning” and “Both Sides Now.” The productions became more elaborate as the era progressed. Her massive hit, Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns,” rests next to the spiritual “Amazing Grace.” Even her gentle rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” works in its own peculiar way, as Collins’ beautifully controlled vocals meet Dylan’s surrealistic word puzzle. Her own composition, “My Father,” is the cherry on top, a piece of personal revelation among so many deeply convincing interpretations.