Saturday, 19 September 2015

Judy Collins - Strangers Again, album review

Upping the Ante Generically Speaking

This is surely one of the better duets albums, Judy Collins in sublime voice throughout, and the guest list as impressive as one would expect with such a longstanding artist, even if many will find it predictable: for example, Michael McDonald, Marc Cohn, Willie Nelson [who must be the doyen of duets], Jeff Bridges [interesting surprise], Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Don McLean and Glen Hansard on the 'main' album.

All the songs in which these are involved are excellent, Jeff Bridges' Let Our Garden Grow perhaps the least successful being rather theatrical rather than the Country lilt one could have reasonably expected - Jimmy Buffett getting that privilege on Someday Soon which ironically is not a favourite. I particularly like the new song Strangers Again written by and duetted with Ari Hirst, the cover of James Taylor's Belfast to Boston with Marc Cohn, singing with Malcolm McDonald whose melodramatic vocal I always like, Jackson Browne's harmonising, and Send in the Clowns - theatrical again, and too quick on the quick - with Don McLean.

But the stand-outs are, I think, two of the three that are 'bonus' tracks on the Deluxe Edition, and this seems a strange separateness. The first is the duet with Stephen Stills on Last Thing On My Mind, and this folk classic by Tom Paxton seems the exact song that should be performed by Judy and another and it is beautifully done; the second is the Baez song Diamonds and Rust, such a great song, duetted with Joan and, as they say, you couldn't place a fag paper between the exquisite quality of these two supremely pretty vocals.

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