Friday, 13 January 2012

Spriggsblog Goes To The Book Shop

Quotation of the day: Judy Collins -- My father always promised us / that we would live in France / and we'd go boating on the Seine / and i would learn to dance

I have just finished reading Judy Collins' memoirs, "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life In Music."

Now, i'm well aware that i'm a dinosaur when it comes to music; my regular reader may not know who Judy Collins is.

She was a folk singer whose heyday was in the sixties and she made what i think are three of the greatest American folk music albums of all time: "Judy Collins 5th Album," "In My Life," and "Wildflowers."

She was also very beautiful: those amazing amethyst eyes.  Stephen Stills wrote "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" (recorded by Crosby, Stills & Nash) about her.

Her memoirs are interesting enough.  It was an enjoyable read, but strangely unsatisfying.

 For one thing, although she's a good writer, there's no magic to her prose.  It's easy to read but not compelling (if, in fact, she actually wrote it herself).  And it's full of factual errors:  Jacques Brel was not French (he was Belgian), The Byrds first hit single was not "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (it was "Mr Tambourine Man').

She's very forthright about her alcoholism and all of her lovers (male and female; she preferred men).  But the book virtually ends in the early 80's, which is when she ultimately kicked the booze and which is also when her music became terribly schmaltzy (co-inky-dink?) and i really rather lost interest in her work.  The years since then are skipped through in about twenty pages.  I would have been interested.

She performed here in Stratford last year.  I didn't go, i found out about the concert too late, which is a shame, i would have loved to have seen her, just for the sake of the music she once excelled at -- and she is an icon, after all!  I checked her website ( and no repeat Stratford performances are scheduled.  Well, she's seventy years old now, i suppose i can allow her a less grueling tour schedule.

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