Judy Collins, Live At NPR

I know, I know. This blog is about politics, and campaigns, and elections. Not music. If you want music reviews, there are other places to go, such as the blog of Rolling Stone, or Pitchfork. I could make an excuse by saying that anyone who sings "Send In the Clowns" must know something about politics, but that's too easy.

The point is this: Judy Collins just spent 50 minutes — 32 minutes on the air on Talk of the Nation — mesmerizing us in NPR's Studio 4A here in Washington with her music, her stories, and her voice.

She is 70 years old now — 70! — impossible to believe. (Yikes, what does that make us?) She was lovely and funny, and her voice never wavered. Her exhuberance was evident throughout. The first song she sang was "Mountain Girl," a somewhat autobiographical piece about growing up in Colorado. She moved to New York City in 1963 and has lived there ever since, but, as she said, you can never truly leave the mountains.

She talked about the fact that she was at Woodstock — but not invited to participate! She said that promoter Bill Graham didn't feel she fit. Sheesh. She also gave us some personal details about her life, including the fact she did acid twice.

A lot of the oldtimers in the studio audience nodded. I nodded too, as I sort of related to her experiences. In a way. In my somewhat advanced age, I've been doing a lot of antacid.

She sang the first song she ever wrote: "Since You Asked." And, in response to a listener request, she sang "Bread and Roses." She closed out the program by singing "Born to the Breed."

She is, by the way, appearing at the Rams Head tonight in Annapolis.

The 45 or so of us who squeezed into Studio 4A left knowing that we had just experienced something special. It was up close and personal, and it was real.

And, if you missed the second hour of Talk of the Nation today, or want to hear it again, all you have to do is click here.

Let the record show that the Political Junkie segment led the first hour of TOTN. Just think: Ken Rudin was the opening act for Judy Collins.



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