Hey, Who’s That Guy with Judy Collins?

Yes, that’s me, as close to heaven as I’m likely to get here on Earth. I’ve been a Judy Collins fan for many years, but this last year she’s put me over the top with her new work with the songs of Stephen Sondheim. My sister hates Judy’s haircut, but, well, Judy Blue Eyes has entertained so many for so long that she should be able to wear her hair any way she damn well pleases. And, for the record, I like her hair, and Judy generally, just as she is. Let’s face it, I’m smitten.

Besides her voice, her best attribute may be her lifelong capacity to discover the wonderful work of others, and to make “Judy Collins songs” from the best of them. She has a sixth sense of what will work and hasn’t been afraid to go to hymnals or people as unlikely as Frank Sinatra to find material. To my mind, she’s reached a new apex with Sondheim.

Before I heard her new CD, “Send in the Clowns,” which is on the CD and also the DVD (see below), was my favorite. Her recording of that song, which can bring me to tears, was famously Sondheim’s only popular hit. But several of those songs on the new CD now vie to be my favorite: “No One Is Alone,” “Not While I’m Around,” “Finishing the Hat,” “Move On,” “Anyone Can Whistle,” and “Take Me to The World.”

Anyone who enjoys the CD might also enjoy the DVD of her performance filmed in May 2016 at The Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver that, besides her own songs and Sondheim’s, includes several other songwriters, including, for the Colorado audience, a medley of John Denver tunes. The DVD’s interviews with Judy and out-takes may not be of general interest, but I loved them. Both the all-Sondheim CD and the DVD of her Denver performance are called A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim and are widely available. The DVD can be streamed on Amazon Prime.