A vivid, highly evocative memoir of one of the reigning icons of folk music, highlighting the decade of the ’60s, when hits like “Both Sides Now” catapulted her to international fame.
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is the deeply personal, honest, and revealing memoir of folk legend and relentlessly creative spirit Judy Collins. In it, she talks about her alcoholism, her lasting love affair with Stephen Stills, her friendships with Joan Baez, Richard and Mimi Fariña, David Crosby, and Leonard Cohen and, above all, the music that helped define a decade and a generation’s sound track.
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes invites the reader into the parties that peppered Laurel Canyon and into the recording studio so we see how cuts evolved take after take, while it sets an array of amazing musical talent against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent decades of twentieth-century America.
Beautifully written, richly textured, and sharply insightful, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is an unforgettable chronicle of the folk renaissance in America.
Collins's improbable and utterly charming tale of assuming iconic status as a popular music star from the early 1960s' onward also proves a tremendously valuable chronicle of the early folk music scene. Collins was there, rather accidentally: she was a classical pianist who had largely grown up in Denver, Colo., to a blind, hard-drinking father who read Dylan Thomas in Braille and hosted a radio literary program; she was married and with a young child when her husband suggested that she get a job at Michael's Pub in Boulder singing the folk songs she loved. Steeped in the work of Jo Stafford and Elton Hayes, later songs by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Collins was a natural troubadour of traditional ballads like "The Gypsy Rover" and "Maid of Constant Sorrow" and gradually made a name for herself on the circuit, like the Gate of Horn in Chicago and Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village; she secured a long-running record deal with Elektra by 1961, when she was 22. Her memoir portrays the now legendary talent she rubbed shoulders with, especially songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Stephen Stills, and Leonard Cohen, and captures a time in the musical scene replete with experimental drugs and sex, while her encroaching alcoholism stalks her story darkly. By 1978, when she concludes in this forthright, radiant work, she had made scores of records and quit drinking to save her life.