Elektra Albums:.. -Ltd-
Limited eight CD box set. This collection gathers together the eight albums Judy Collins recorded during the sixties. They were all made for Jac Holzman's farsighted Elektra Records, a label she helped to shape in her first decade as a recording artist through her adventurous spirit. Her forte was imaginatively interpreting songs by her peers and, later with her own songwriting which first graced her seventh album Wildflowers in 1967. That album also gave her a first major hit single in 'Both Sides Now', reaching #8 in the Billboard charts, which helped launch the career of Joni Mitchell, who had no contract at the time. Judy had by then established herself as an impeccable interpreter of the outstanding new songs by a welter of songwriters springing up in the early sixties, covering songs by Phil Ochs, Eric Anderson, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Paxton, Randy Newman, Jacques Brel, Donovan, Sandy Denny and Bob Dylan. Most significantly among the artists whose careers she helped develop, her 1966 album In My Life is now celebrated as the first record to feature songs by Leonard Cohen. The artwork has been put together by acknowledged Elektra collector Phil Smee. The albums are in CD-sized facsimiles of the original sleeves, along with a booklet that compiles the credits and liner notes from those sleeves plus a note by Mick Houghton, author of "Becoming Elektra: The True Story of Jac Holzman's Visionary Record Label".
1968 brought the fully orchestrated "Wildflowers" which included three Cohen gems, "Sisters of Mercy", "Priests" and
"Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye". Joni Mitchell makes her first appearance on a Collins album, with "Michael From Mountains" and what was to become one of Judy's signature songs "Both Sides Now". Collins herself contributed her first songs to this excellent recording, "Since You Asked", "Sky Fell", and the lovely evocative "Albatross". Also included are the two enchanting songs "A Ballata of Francesco Landini Lasso Di Donna" and "La Chanson Des Vieux Amants (The Song of Old Lovers).
Rounding out the eight albums comprising this set is the beguiling "Who Knows Where The Time Goes", which features the Sandy Denny title song, two songs by Cohen ("The Story of Isaac", "Bird on A Wire"), Ian and Sylvia's "Someday Soon", and one of Judy's own classics "My Father". Stephen Stills notably contributed guitar work.
From the beginning of her career up to the present, (her forthcoming studio album is purportedly called "Resist") Collins chooses material that reveals a strong social conscience, including "Tim Evans" from "Maid of Constant Sorrow", which tells the story of an innocent man falsely accused and executed, to Dylan's "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" off the Judy Collins Concert, which tells the true story of a murdered African American maid and the ridiculously short prison sentence handed down to the white perpetrator. Anti-war sentiment finds expression too, in "Crow on the Cradle" and "Shule Aroon" from the "Golden Apples of the Sun" disc. "it Isn't Nice" from the Fifth Album once again addresses the racial divide in this country, and the inner city riots and the roots of that violence are tackled in Collins' brilliant rendition of Phil Ochs' "In The Heat of the Summer", also from the Fifth Album. Collins, at age 80, is still singing songs of quiet protest with her latest single "Dreamers" tackling the plight of immigrants who were brought to this country as young children and are threatened by deportation.
I must confess I already owned all the albums in this set as I own everything Collins has recorded. But it is worth it owning this set which crystallizes what a special and remarkable performer Judy Collins has been for the last 58 years since "Maid" was first released in 1961. Long may Judy run!
These albums have been released in at least
half a dozen different configuration. There is NOT ONE UNRELEASED TRACK INCLUDED. The price is marked much higher than other similar album collections.
Iconic material but we fans have all bought enough versions of this music already, especially considering the ridiculous price. Yes it's got an amazing cover photo but
there are hundreds of stellar vintage JC live tracks that could have been issued instead.