LIVE: Judy Collins / Jimmy Webb @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 12/6/12

December 10th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
Judy Collins @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 12/6/12 (photo by Richard A. Siciliano)

Judy Collins

Review by Don Wilcock
Photographs by Richard A. Siciliano

Who owns a song?

Songs are like hats or suits. They can become costumes to singers that define their image to their public and the public’s acceptance of their talent in a way that has little bearing on how talented they are otherwise. Bob Dylan has a terrible voice by most standards, but his songs defined a generation and the complex references to literary touchstones and history – often rewritten – still have his fans studying him like a messiah half a century into his career. Tony Bennett once told me the secret to his long career and renewed acceptance by younger generations was a good song. To each, their songs are as important as Garth Brook’s black hat, Dr. John’s cap, Jimi Hendrix’s military gingerbread or Keith Richards’ studied hobo decadence.

Both Jimmy Webb and Judy Collins wore black spangles at this performance and both sang great songs. The difference between them is the question of who owns their songs. Jimmy Webb has written hundreds of great songs like “Wichita Lineman,” “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Up, Up and Away,” dozens of them in the collective consciousness of the general public. But all of them were made hits by other artists, in this case Glen Campbell and the Fifth Dimension. Judy Collins, on the other hand, has built a career of interpreting other artists’ songs to the point of having her versions transcend the originals.

When we hear Jimmy Webb sing “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman” alone on a Steinway grand piano, it’s a different experience than the Glen Campbell version that’s been programmed into our brains for 45 years. The words are the same, but the emotions they elicit are not as strong because in our mind we know its Glen Campbell agonizing over the distance between him and his lady, not this guy Webb.

When we hear Judy Collins sing Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust,” it’s easier for us to suspend our disbelief and fantasize that she’s recalling the romance of her own relationship with another musical icon – Stephen Stills, perhaps – rather than interpreting a song written by Joan Baez about her affair with Bob Dylan. Judy makes us believe her own folk Madonna mantel and forget Joan Baez’s version.

Read the rest of this entry »


LIVE: Judy Collins @ The Egg, 12/9/11

December 12th, 2011, 1:00 pm by Greg

The return of a singer or band that has played in the area quite often can lead to a yawn and the absence of buzz. If it’s Judy Collins, this would be a mistake.

It’s been 50 years since she performed a show in Manhattan with Elektra Records honcho Jac Holzman in attendence, resulting in her signing a record contract at the age of 22. That was the beginning of a 35-year artistic marriage that gave birth to 19 albums showcasing the songs of writers before they were household names – Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman and more. In 1963 she released an album that contained “Turn, Turn, Turn” and Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” both with guitar and arrangements by Roger McGuinn, and, of course, two years later they were No. 1 hits for the Byrds.

All these years later, she still sounds fantastic.

Read the rest of this entry »

Live: Judy Collins @ the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 12/21/10

December 22nd, 2010, 4:30 pm by Greg

Judy Collins at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

“I can see that there is a return to folk music because there’s a picture of Joan Baez on the cover of tonight’s program,” chided Judy Collins with a tongue-in-cheek smile from the stage. No problem. Judy and Joan are old friends and even sing a duet number on Collins’ latest album, “Paradise.”

Collins and her friend Baez (who performed at the Music Hall earlier this season) are both folk royalty, no matter how you look at it. They were both in the thick of social-political activities back in the turbulent ’60s. And, of course, Collins is still an activist today for the causes that matter and doesn’t have any reservations in telling you about them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Win FREE TIX to Judy Collins at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Tuesday

December 16th, 2010, 10:05 am by Greg

Judy CollinsJudy Collins started out her career as a folksinger, but over the years, she’s become so much more than that.

She is a consummate interpreter of songs. Her renditions of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” the Beatles’ “In My Life,” the traditional “Amazing Grace” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” are certainly among the most definitive versions ever recorded.

Although she hasn’t made a stop in Troy for a couple of years now, her annual holiday tour concerts at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall became something of a tradition over the course of nearly a decade.

On Tuesday evening, Collins finally makes her overdue return to the Troy Music Hall, and she’s got a new album to draw from, as well. “Paradise” proves that Collins hasn’t lost her magic musical touch, as she weaves her gold ‘n’ silver voice around a batch of marvelous tunes from such songmasters as Jimmy Webb, Tom Paxton and Tim Buckley.

Judy Collins steps into the spotlight at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy at 8pm on Tuesday. Tix are $29, $34, $41 and $46.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE… It’s the season of giving, so is giving away a pair of FREE TICKETS to see Judy Collins in concert on Tuesday evening. To enter the contest, just post a comment below. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The winners will be selected at random and notified on Tuesday morning. Happy holidays and good luck! Congratutulations, David!

Jim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCartoonist John CaldwellThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantCaffe LenaHolly & EvanAdvertise on Nippertown!Albany PoetsLeave Regular Radio BehindHudson SoundsRamblin Jug Stompers