Mittwoch, 8. September 2021

Judy Collins - In My Life (1966)

Judy Collins' musical ambitions often seemed to be a bit broader (and her style a shade more theatrical) than most of her contemporaries on the East Coast folk scene of the early '60s, and with her sixth album, 1966's "In My Life", she made a clear break from interpreting the favorites of the singer/songwriter community into a broader and more eclectic style.

While "In My Life" includes songs by Bob Dylan, Richard Fariña, and Donovan, it also finds Collins embracing the work of Jacques Brel and Kurt Weill, as well as the Beatles and Leonard Cohen (whose "Suzanne" and "Dress Rehearsal Rag" sound more at home with the Europeans than the New Yorkers). Joshua Rifkin's arrangements abandon folky purity, not an uncommon event in the post-Highway 61 Revisited musical economy, but rather than embracing rock & roll in one of its many forms, here Rifkin's backdrops betray a significantly artier approach, with the opening Dylan cover accompanied by flutes and Fariña's "Hard Lovin' Loser" backed with a harpsichord, neither of which is especially effective. Far more successful are the European theatrical tunes, especially "Marat/Sade," in which Collins delivers a superbly controlled, but passionate, performance, and a splendidly spare rendition of "Suzanne" that ranks with the finest interpretations of that oft-covered tune. Collins also sounds splendid on Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" and even finds something special in Donovan's "Sunny Goodge Street." 

Judy Collins was already an accomplished interpretive singer before recording this album, but In My Life found her widening her horizons and revealing an even greater gift than one might have imagined; for the most part, it's a superb album and still one of her best.


1. "Tom Thumb's Blues" Bob Dylan 5:03
2. "Hard Lovin' Loser" Richard Fariña 2:37
3. "Pirate Jenny" Marc Blitzstein, Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill 4:02
4. "Suzanne" Leonard Cohen 4:21
5. "La Colombe" Jacques Brel, Alasdair Clayre 5:03
6. "Marat/Sade" Richard Peaslee 5:33
7. "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" Randy Newman 2:46
8. "Sunny Goodge Street" Donovan 2:55
9. "Liverpool Lullaby" Stan Kelly, aka Stan Kelly-Bootle 2:57
10. "Dress Rehearsal Rag" Leonard Cohen 5:19
11. "In My Life" Lennon–McCartney 2:53

(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)

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