Category Archives: Judy Collins

Covering Bobby Z

Musing about the May birthdays of musicians, particularly musicians whose work I own, I noticed that any number of them covered Bob Dylan songs. Not a surprise there; Dylan’s put out over 40 albums.

What WAS a little surprising was that I couldn’t find the May birthday songs I own on YouTube; I’ve just started to expect it.

I first looked for the pair of songs from Pete Seeger’s We Shall Overcome album, a live 1963 recording. Pete did A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall and Who Killed Davey Moore; nope. Instead, here’s Paths of Victory

Happy birthday, Bob.

old testament music

Once upon a time, probably in the early 1990s, I made a mixed tape of songs that were rooted in the Bible. These were some of them, mostly from the Old Testament. I used Byrds rather than Collins and Collins rather than Cohen, but the rest were the same. Yes, the McFerrin video is weird; just listen to the music.

Our Prayer – SMiLE by Mok

Rock Steady by Sting

Desmond Dekker – The Israelites

Leonard Cohen – Story of Isaac

The Hooters – All You Zombies

Turn, Turn, Turn -Judy Collins with Pete Seeger



Delta Rhythm Boys – Dry Bones


Underplayed Vinyl: Judy Collins

For my 16th birthday in March 1969, I received the album Who Knows Where the Time Goes from my friend Lois, who I had known since kindergarten. Even as she was giving the LP, she gave me this whopping caveat said, “I hope you like it. It’s kinda country.” Well, some of it was for certain, but it was far more eclectic than I was led to expect.
Hello Hooray – Starts off mysteriously softly, almost inaudibly, before breaking into a stirring rock tune, featuring Steve Stills on the guitar. Yes, this is the same song that Alice Cooper later covered.
Story of Isaac – A Leonard Cohen tune featuring only harpsichord and organ about the Biblical character who was to be sacrificed to God by his father Abraham. I found this song particularly moving and put it on a mixed CD at some point.
My Father – A rare composition by Judy; interesting how she placed the two songs about fathers and their children together. This is a lovely biographical song in waltz time.

Someday Soon – One of those “country” songs with the pedal steel guitar that has become a Collins trademark, written by Ian Tyson.

The title tune – Written by Sandy Denny, it is an equisite mournful anthem where the piano, guitar and bass set off Judy’s voice marvelously.

Poor Immigrant- A Bob Dylan tune, also with pedal steel and Dobro.
First Boy I Loved – A much-covered Robin Williamson song about the title character growing to “a grown-up male stranger.” Having loved and lost since then, it is far more powerful to me now. There was a version of this song (First Girl I Loved) done by Jackson Browne for a tribute to Elektra Records called Rubaiyat.
Bird on the Wire – Another “country” tune, another Leonard Cohen tune, probably my favorite of the “country” tunes, because guitarist James Burton sounded as though he were having so much fun.

Pretty Polly – A murder ballad that starts softly, builds to the death – “He stabbed her through the heart, and her heart blood did flow,” pulls back musically for the burial, then rocks out to the end with Burton and Stills sharing guitar licks. This song was shocking to me at the time and still affecting today.

This album has been on and off my desert albums list for decades.

July Collins, born May 1, 1939, turns 69 today. I saw her perform live but once, in the early 1980s, in Glens Falls, NY after winning tickets on a radio contest the very day of the concert.

Oh, what the heck: Since You Asked from Wildflowers:

And this more elementary song: