Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music by Judy Collins

My interest in Judy Collins’ autobiography Sweet Judy Blue Eyes came more from wanting to hear her stories of crossing paths with various folk and rock musicians during the sixties than an interest in her own life. (I don’t have anything against Judy Collins. I’m just not very familiar with her music.) The book is certainly full of Collins’ recollections about musicians ranging from immortals such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin to lesser known artists such as Phil Ochs and Dave Van Ronk. Collins even toured with bassist Bill Lee, Spike Lee’s father, for a time. She has great anecdotes about all of these people.

I ended up finding Collins’ own story quite engaging as well. She suffered from alcoholism for over two decades and also had problems with developing long term relationships. Ironically, she went to a therapy group, the Sullivanians, who believed alcohol was good for relieving stress and monogamy was unhealthy. I guess that sums up the sixties. Collins eventually realizes many years later from a different therapist that she is an alcoholic and that it runs in her family. Her father drank for years and Collins’ son Clark struggled with and never fully overcame his substance abuse problems.

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is a consistently interesting memoir that will entertain both her fans and those not as familiar with her career.


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