Judy Collins - lead vocals, acoustic guitar, piano; Richard Bell - piano; Marc Horowitz - banjo, pedal steel guitar, lead guitars; Gene Taylor - bass; Donnie Brooks - harmonica; Bo Siegel - drums; Steve Mandell - rhythm guitar
Judy Collins was among the pioneers of the folk movement that launched Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton and Joni Mitchell in Greenwich Village during the early 1960s. By the time this concert was recorded by Bill Graham in 1973, Collins had attained her greatest commercial success with the Mitchell-penned "Both Sides Now." On this tour she was promoting her True Stories and Other Dreams album, which became another commercial success for the soft-spoken Northeasterner.
Collins never had the cutting edge political bent of many of her contemporaries, which is probably one reason she has been able to transition recently towards more Broadway-driven, Pops-style collaborative acts. Still, there is no denying her gorgeous and utterly smooth singing voice. This show features an exceptional band that included studio session players Richard Bell on keyboards and Donnie Brooks on harmonica. Banjo player Steve Mandell had a Top 40 hit the prior year with Eric Weisberg on "Dueling Banjos" from the film Deliverance.
There are several originals here, but Collins seems to be at her best as an interpreter of other songwriters' material. Steven Stills, a former lover of Collins who wrote "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" for her, contributes "So Begins The Task" to the program. Folk icon Tom Paxton wrote "The Hostage," which retells the poignant story of the Attica prison uprising. Joni Mitchell, with whom Collins has always shared a friendly rivalry, penned "Clouds" and "Chelsea Morning," both of which appear in this set. Among other highlights are the opening track "Suzanne," written by poet/musician Leonard Cohen, and her own love letter to the Bay Area, "Weaver Song (Holly Ann)."
Note must also be made of the audio quality of this recording, which is nothing short of exceptional. For fans of Collins or of folk in general, certainly not to be missed.