Friday, 23 December 2011

Judy Collins - Bohemian


This is a gorgeous album of mainly covers and a few new songs from one of the great folk chanteuses of all time. Judy Collins at 72 sings with crispness and occasionally an operatic tone that cuts these songs into a Christmas ice sculpture of musical clarity. There is a lovely cover of Joni Mitchell's Cactus Song, and Judy is accompanied on this version by Shawn Colvin.

There is a fair degree of sentimentality in the selection, but I'm not going to question this from someone who has seen and experienced so much of life. Veteran's Song is a lament for fallen soldiers and largely free of treading the mire of inappropriate patriotism in this context, though the song is spoilt for me be the vocal of Kenny White. Two others, Wings of Angels and In The Twilight, attain their genuine gravitas from the respective realities of Judy writing about her son Clark's suicide and her mother's death from Alzheimer's disease. That artists turn such darkness to something meaningful in the act of creativity and performance is a transformation one perhaps appreciates more through experiencing and sharing similar over time.

All The Pretty Horses is as lush as a lullaby should be - and the celebration of so much prettiness with, as I've said, some sentimentality on this album is given a witty overarching reflection in the lyrics of a new song provided by the great Jimmy Webb, Campo de Encino.

That aural duet of listening and hearing is controlled by mood and the emotions this will desire and/or tolerate. The other night it was Metallica very loud; this afternoon, with the rain dampening in its December misery, I found Bohemian just enough of a rhapsodic interlude to wile away the time before the next demand for noise.

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