"I too am amazed by some of the negative reviews - this album is a gem...from someone who has known Dylan her entire adult life. The liner notes recount her first meeting with Bob Dylan when she was 19 years old (and he was even younger) while both were singing in a Colorado skiing resort - before each had migrated to New York City to make their careers. She was visiting Dylan when he wrote "Mister Tambourine Man" - and was the first person to hear him sing it! She was at the Newport Folk Festival when he debuted his "electric" band (and was roundly booed by the "folk purists"). I think she has a unique vantage point from which to render interpretations of his songs - and she does an inspired job on this recording, offering Dylan's incomparable lyrics with an ability to convey his melodies with a beautiful voice. I recommend this album wholeheartedly."
Just like a masterpiece...
cary o'dell | Gaithersburg, Maryland United States | 10/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am of like minds with one previous reviewer who said that the true beauty and power of Dylan's brilliant lyrics and melodies aren't always best experienced when Dylan performs them himself. Never the best with diction and even on good days sounding a bit like a power drill when he sings, his music, for me, only comes alive when others take it on. And in that regard, surely neither Dylan or anyone else could ever ask for a better, more respectful, enthused or talented interpreter than Judy Collins.
While I'll admit that I have yet to cotton to "You've Gotta Serve Somebody" with its rather heavy-handed attempt to be a rollicking religious revival, much of this album is wonderful with "I Believe in You" being a particular highlight.
But the album's raise d'art arrives in the its penultimate track, Collins' stunningly powerful a cappella rendition of Dylan's thought-provoking, anti-war song "With God On Our Side."
In the current musical scene where so many wildly successful artists are hopeless without in-studio sweetening, techno tricks and vocal over dubs (yeah, I'm talking to you Lopez), Collin's brave and flawless accompaniment-free performance of this song reminds us of what singing is suppose to be. But her choice to go accompaniment-free isn't about showboating; it's symbolic. Stripping the song to its barest bones serves to drive home the message of it, which, in turn, transforms it into a stunning, unforgettably powerful aural experience.
And if that's not worth the $7.98 that Amazon is currently charging for this CD, I don't know what is.
Beautiful ... And True
Jon Strand | USA | 07/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I expected -given Judy Collins' voice- that this CD would be beautiful, but what kept me sitting in the parked car, still listening, when I got home was her interpretations: so knowing. The arrangements are excellent (they don't overwhelm her voice at all, despite what an earlier reviewer wrote). Her "Like A Rolling Stone" doesn't match Dylan's original but it grows on me (the quiet beginning has a sadness that I've never before associated with this song ... the harmonica here refers, of course, back to Dylan's original, but here it evokes a wistfulness). Collins doesn't just sing songs like "Dark Eyes" and "Simple Twist Of Fate," she inhabits them. Her spoken/sung delivery of "Sweetheart Like You" is enjoyably surprising ... it's like nothing else I've heard by Judy Collins. It appears that this CD is going out of print. Who knows why. I'm very glad I finally got a copy of it. Maybe it only rates 4 1/2 stars but I won't quibble:-) Btw, the liner notes/letter to Dylan by Judy Collins I didn't at all find to be written by "a self-indulgent overly-romantic middle aged woman" (an earlier reviewer). Judy Collin's only child had just died tragically and I doubt she was feeling "self-indulgent" at all. her "letter" to Dylan is poetic, nostalgic, honest and has some brief passages written so opaquely that Dylan is probably the only one who knows to what she refers."
Just Like A Winner/Woman
Marley | Long Island, NY | 03/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What's your favorite Dylan cover? Well Joe Cocker & The Grease Band do an outstanding job on "Dear Landlord"...The Byrds of course own "Mr Tambourine Man...The Band's "I Shall Be Released" still sends chills...I flat out love Jimi Hendrix's "All Along The Watch Tower". Richie Heavens is so soulful on "Just Like A Woman". Wait!...How about the beautiful George Harrison take on "If Not For You"...Wow!!! With all these and many more great Dylan covers one might think that the best low-hanging fruit had already been picked.
Thankfully Judy has gathered some of that material along with a few of Bob's great but lesser known compositions. How about "Simple Twist of Fate"? Yes! I know Joan Baez has done it and done it well. But I think Judy positively nails it. And the same goes for "Love Minus Zero/No Limit", "Gotta Serve Somebody" and "It's All Over Now Baby Blue". Yes, I would have loved the inclusion of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" from Judys fantastic In My Life album. And I sure wouldn't have a problem with her take on "I Pity The Poor Immigrant". Nonetheless I can't keep this collection off my playlist. As always Sweet Judy Blue Eyes does it "Just Like A Winner/Woman"."