This compilation features selections from 9 albums originally released on Elektra between 1964 and 1975.
Personnel includes: Judy Collins (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, electric piano); Joshua Rifkin, Jonathan Tunick (arranger); Stephen Stills (acoustic & electric guitars, bass); Eric Weissberg (acoustic guitar, acoustic bass); Steve Mandell, Bucky Pizzarelli (acoustic guitar); James Burton, Ry Cooder (electric guitar); Buddy Emmons (pedal steel guitar); Van Dyke Parks, Michael Sahl (piano); Bill Takas, Bob Daugherty (acoustic bass); Chris Ethridge, Gene Taylor, Russell George, Don Payne (bass); Jim Gordon (drums, percussion); Susan Evans (drums); Ray Baretto (conga, bongos); Allan Schwartzberg (percussion).
Producers: Marc Abramson, Jac Holzman, David Anderle, Judy Collins, Arif Mardin.
Compilation producers: Judy Collins, Patrick Milligan.
Includes liner notes by Judy Collins and Gillian Gaar.
Digitally remastered by Alan Silverman (Arf! Digital, New York, New York).
Adapter: Judy Collins.
Personnel: Judy Collins (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, electric piano); Cliff Morris (guitar); Eric Weissberg (acoustic guitar, upright bass); Steve Mandell (acoustic guitar); Stephen Stills (electric guitar, electric bass); James Burton, Ry Cooder (electric guitar); Abe Rosen (harp); Dan Reed, Marilyn Wright, Norman Carr, Ann Barak, Mathilde Pincus, Guy Lumia, Alvin Rogers , Julie Held, Al Miller , Harry Cykman (violin); Julien Barber, George Brown (viola); Charles McCracken , Kermit Moore (cello); Ray Barretto (recorder, congas, bongos); Jerry Lee Smith, Sidney Weinberg, Bob Steen, Les Scott, Joel Kaye (woodwinds); Larry Wechsler, Albert Richmond (French horn); Garnett Brown, Wayne Andre (trombone); Thomas Pearson (piano, celesta); Michael Melvoin, Van Dyke Parks (piano); Bob Daugherty, Bill Takas (upright bass); Russell George, Gene Taylor , Don Payne (electric bass); Sue Evans (drums, percussion); Hank Jaramillo, Allan Schwartzberg (percussion).
Audio Remasterer: Alan Silverman.
Liner Note Authors: Gillian Gaar; Judy Collins.
Photographer: Guy Webster.
Arrangers: Judy Collins; Richard Bell; Joshua Rifkin; Jonathan Tunick.
Performers are known because of different qualities, like the ability to craft songs or sing with emotion. With folksingers like Judy Collins, there was never any question. In the '60s, her voice could always be counted on to amaze and astonish listeners. Collins also had the good taste to choose good songs by great writers like Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell. The only weak spot in this otherwise rosy scenario centered on occasional lapses in judgment when it came to arrangements. Early material like "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and "Suzanne" features little more than guitar and bass backup. These cuts still sound honest and fresh. Because Collins' vocals were so commanding, though, it was also easy to add busier arrangements to good effect. One of the best cuts on this album is Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon," featuring Buddy Emmons on pedal steel and James Burton on guitar. The band lays down a perfect country & western cushion for her emotive vocal and the results sound as lovely today as they did 30 years ago. For every song that she nails perfectly, however, there is another one that goes just as badly astray. The sluggish "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," complete with flute, sounds like a bizarre companion piece to "Suzanne." The harpsichord, rock drums, and orchestra of "Both Sides Now" seems a bit overblown -- though it certainly made a big splash on the radio at the time. Many of these songs misfire due to the odd mixtures of styles, attempting to marry folk and country to pop, and add out-of-place instruments. Oddly, the pop arrangement of "Send in the Clowns" works surprisingly well because it doesn't try to mix styles. The Very Best of Judy Collins is a good overview of Collins' journey from folksinger to singer/songwriter to pop diva. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
Q (11/01, p.136) - 4 out of 5 stars - "...This has something for everyone..."