Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 1 May '39, Denver CO) Folksinger. Encouraged to study piano by her blind father, she switched to guitar with the lure of folk music. She signed to Elektra and her debut LP A Maid Of Constant Sorrow relied on traditional material; she appeared on Chicago TV folk showcase Continental Cafe; by the time of Judy Collins 3 '64 she drew on contemporary songs of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. In My Life '66 was orchestrated by Joshua Rifkin, marking another milestone in the '60s progress of the genre; her affair with Stephen Stills (who wrote 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' for her) and LP Who Knows Where The Time Goes '68 saw her embraced by the hip Laurel Canyon superstar fraternity. With prescience (or just good taste) she was one of the first to cover songs by Joni Mitchell: her cover of 'Both Sides Now' was a big hit UK and USA '70. Her album Whales And Nightingales included the traditional Scottish ballad 'Farewell To Tarwathie', backing vocal by humpbacked whales; also a version of traditional 'Amazing Grace' (attributed th Rev. John Newton, 1779), making it a standard: a hit single in the UK and USA '70, re-entering the UK chart seven times '71-2. She acted in a production of Peer Gynt '69; directed a documentary about her former music teacher Antonia: A Woman '74, nominated for an Oscar. Judith '75 included a hit version of Stephen Sondheim's 'Send In The Clowns'. Still rapturously received in concert, Home Again '84 saw her covering Vince Clark's 'Only You', Elton John's 'Sweetheart On Parade'. Apart from her beautiful voice, she was influential in recognizing singer/songwriters such as Mitchell, Ian Tyson, Leonard Cohen, Donovan etc. Many LPs on Elektra, including Concert '64, In My Life '67, Wildflowers '68 (with 'Both Sides Now', no. 5 USA LP chart; True Stories And Other Dreams '73, Running For My Life '80, Times Of Our Lives '82, Hard Times For Lovers '83; compilations included Colours Of The Day '72. Further albums have been Innervoices '89 on RCA with Richard Stolzman, Fires Of Eden '90 on Columbia, Judy Sings Dylan: Just Like a Woman '93 on Geffen, Shameless '95 on Mesa. Portrait of an American Girl 2005 on Wildflower was her first new album in a decade.