Artist: Stills & Collins
Artists: Stephen Stills (vocals and electric guitar) and Judy Collins (vocals and 12 string guitar)
Musicians: Russell Walden (piano, Hammond organ), Kevin McCormick (bass), Tony Beard (drums) and on Track 5 only, Marvin Etzioni (mandolin)
September 2017 8-89466-06912-3
Running Length: 40 minutes
10 Tracks (lyrics included with CD): “Handle With Care,” “So Begins The Task,” "River Of Gold,” “Judy,” “Everybody Knows,” “Houses,” "Reason To Believe,” “Girl From The North Country,” “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” and “Questions”
In July 2017, this reviewer went to the Stills & Collins concert at a college recital hall in the greater Kansas City area. See link below:
At that time, I titled the review “Time Is On Their Side,” well, it still is. When Stephen Stills can make that guitar bend notes around the stage, and Judy can reach a high A with ease and hold it on pitch, you know driving home through traffic could be a little bit easier, and tomorrow would come with a smile. So now, fans will have the duo’s latest album to listen to and think back to when you first heard them. They do have a history in the mid 1960‘s and dated for two years. Several songs included in the album are from their history, now shared with the listener. Five of the songs, which are marked with a star, are from the Tour. Stephen Stills has three songs on the CD, “So Begins The Task,” *“Judy” and “Questions.” Judy Collins has two, “River Of Gold” and *“Houses.”
Stephen Stills has worked with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash and solo performances. On the Tour, he used several different guitars, while Judy Collins prefers a 12-string guitar. The list of songs for this CD has composers from Stills and Collins to Bob Dylan to the late Leonard Cohen and Sandy Denny.
Beginning the CD, “Handle With Care” has five composers, including the late George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. When they duet, Stephen is dominant and Judy’s voice rides high on his vocals, almost like a whisper. Here is someone telling another to “handle me with care...because I've been sent up and shot down.” *“So Begins The Task,” (1972) has Stills as the main vocalist and it is a song about love gone, or “learn to live without you now.”
Judy Collins with *”River Of Gold” has touching lyrics and is really about deforestation in the northern parts of the U.S. A song of longing because if you once thought to make your home there, “always the sound of the north wind blowing through the pine trees” and now “they have done their very best to clear out the trees and Queen’s Anne Lace.” This is one of the pieces in which Judy ends on a high note, right on pitch.
“Judy” was the tape that was lost for 40 years, and after being found, was called the “Just Roll Tape.” Now, it has an official title and as sung by Stills, asks if he can walk beside her, what is she doing, and in a subtle way, does he have a chance?
The late Leonard Cohen penned “Everybody Knows” which has strong lyrics about change, good or bad, and Stephen Stills has a guitar solo in the middle of the piece that says it all. Stills and Collins duet on this piece. “Reason To Believe” is a duet about listening and trying to believe what is being said. *”Girl From The North Country” (Bob Dylan song) is about traveling and missing someone special, “Remember me to one who lives there, She once was a true love of mine.” Stephen Stills is not the articulator Judy Collins is, but he does well here with a twinge of remembrance in his voice.
Then we segue to the Judy Collins song of *“Houses” which is a study in how to sing a song. First the lyrics are important with pronunciation and, then comes the voice. This piece is all about words and the teller has to reach the audience with “you were always flying, nightingale of sorrow...Singing bird with rainbows on your wings” and end up way above middle C. *“Who Knows Where The Time Goes” is an all time favorite song from the late Sandy Denny, and as wistfully sung by Judy Collins, takes one on a leisurely trip through life, waiting for what you know is around the corner. It’s like taking a slow walk by a lake and as your eyes look up, down and all around at nature, your voice is singing, too, and it gives the word “octave” new meaning.
The final selection is “Questions” composed by Stephen Stills and concerns searching for his love, finding her, and then what "...the questions of a thousand dreams...what you do and what you see.. come on lover...talk to me.” Great guitar in the interlude
All in all, Stephen Stills and Judy Collins have gotten back together after almost 50 years and are on tour. Anyone else out there lasted this long in music and are still talking to each other, much less touring together? Not many, that’s for sure. Enjoy.
Copyright 2017 Marie Asner