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Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music (Unabridged)

by Judy Collins

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A vivid, highly evocative memoir of one of the reigning icons of folk music, highlighting the decade of the ’60s, when hits like “Both Sides Now” catapulted her to international fame. Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is the deeply personal, honest, and revealing memoir of folk legend and relentlessly creative spirit Judy Collins. In it, she talks about her alcoholism, her lasting love affair with Stephen Stills, her friendships with Joan Baez, Richard and Mimi Fariña, David Crosby, and Leonard Cohen and, above all, the music that helped define a decade and a generation’s sound track. Sweet Judy Blue Eyes invites the reader into the parties that peppered Laurel Canyon and into the recording studio so we see how cuts evolved take after take, while it sets an array of amazing musical talent against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent decades of twentieth-century America. Beautifully written, richly textured, and sharply insightful, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is an unforgettable chronicle of the folk renaissance in America.

Customer Reviews

Behind blue eyes

Judy Collins has written several memoirs previously, each focusing on different aspects or periods of her life. This one delves deeply into the nitty gritty of her recording career, primarily during the 1960s, and her long descent into the blurry depths of alcoholism and then recovery. To call this book "self-absorbed," as the lone previous reviewer called it, is absurd. A memoir by definition is an immersion into the author's life. True, memoirs, can be self-indulgent and narcissistic -- but "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes" is neither because in this book Collins turns her beautiful blue eyes on herself and takes a good hard, honest look. And much of what she reports is not pretty or flattering. She offers a candid portrait of her weaknesses -- her addictions, her inability to form lasting intimacies with her lovers, her shortcomings as a mother -- as well as the hidden strengths that made her survival (once gravely in doubt) ultimately possible.

This is a book for the hardcore Judy Collins fan. The amount of detail about her personal history with various folk luminaries as well as her album-by-album chronicle of her recording career would probably not appeal to the casual fan of either Collins or the folk scene of the '60s and early '70s. But for those of us with a deep love of Judy's music and an eagerness to know all about her and her fascinating history, this book is a treasure.

The pleasure of the book is many times multiplied by Judy's reading the book herself. Not only does her reading give the book a greater intimacy, it's simply a joy to hear her speak -- and occasionally sing -- with that beautiful voice she possesses. There is a nice bonus at the end of the audiobook as Collins offers gorgeous versions of five of her own compositions. The first four were originally released in 1995 as part of the "Voices" album, on which she accompanies herself on piano: Born to the Breed, Albatross, My Father, and Open the Door (Song for Judith). The fifth song is Twilight, a 2011 composition written after the recent death of her mother; it's also included on her excellent 2011 album "Bohemian."

Saving Money?

For the reviewer, who lists this as “self absorbed” and “absolutely boring,” I only have one response. Give an example to offer some sort of logical explanation for that kind of judgmental reaction.

For anyone having lived during that era, you recognize that the times—the 60’s era— were times given to self-indulgence. It was about self-discovery, about disillusionment. It was a time of coping with tragedy of war and with the tragedy of assassinations.

How can a person really understand that turbulent age without hearing it first hand from someone standing in the “eye of the storm?”

The work is an amazingly well-written account, and what I loved even more was having Judy’s voice read the words.

I gladly spent the cash to purchase this. If you are a fan, or if you want to understand the 60’s, this is the best way to learn about it—absorbing it first-hand from a folk icon from that era. I am a fan, and I lived during that time.

I love this product.

save your money

self absorbed and absolutely boring

Judy Collins, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music (Unabridged)
View in iTunes $23.95
  • Narrator: Judy Collins
  • Published: 2011

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