Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Song of the Day: 'Both Sides, Now' by Judy Collins


Damian and I took our first foray into "post"-pandemic life last night, seeing Judy Collins at City Winery, our first live show in well over a year. (Excelsior passport or current negative Covid test required, so we felt comfortable taking our masks off to drink.) Now 82 years old, the legendary folk singer enterained the crowd with the zest of a woman a fraction of her age -- only briefly forgetting lyrics to (ironically) her most popular song, her Grammy-winning cover of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides, Now." (The hit came early in the set, which led my guy to theorize she did it half on purpose to lower everyone's expectations -- which was completely unnecessary). 

Although her vocal range is still remarkably -- almost shockingly -- intact, as the night went on I couldn't help but think that what will be missed most when she is no longer with us is her rich institutional knowledge of music history. While I understand that music changes, and times change, what modern equiavlent will there ever be to listening to a woman who came of age exchanging songs and late-night phone calls with the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Peter Yarrow, who told her that if things don't work out with "Mary" that he and Pete would give her a call. (Fifty years from now am I to believe people will be regaled with stories of what Ashanti remembers about her days with Nelly and Ja Rule?) Very happy we left our comfort zone to venture out again, something I look foward to doing again soon.


As a bonus, we got to take a look at Barry Diller's Little Island, which is steps from the newly located venue, and sit with and catch up an old NYT colleague (Sue) and her brother (Rich). Unlike the Varick Street location, the tables are first-come, first-serve, which definitely has its advanatages. 


Matthew said...

That was beautifully written. Thank you.

Shawn Cullen said...

Never knew “Both Sides Now” was such a good song until I heard Neil Diamond sing it. Judy’s shrill, wailing rendition, blaring from every AM radio station, scarred my ‘70s childhood.