Judy Collins

Both Sides Now [Intersound]

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There are many reasons why veteran artists are tempted to re-record their best-known songs. Often, they no longer record for the labels that issued the original versions; after years of performing those songs in concert, they usually feel they can improve on their early renditions; and, of course, when they sign to new record labels, the new companies always ask them to re-record their old songs. (Then those labels turn around and license the re-recordings all over creation, and we record reviewers are kept busy telling our readers that the resulting cheap albums do not contain the original recordings.) Judy Collins, who at 59 can be assumed to be in the twilight of her recording career, continued to record after leaving her long-term relationship with Elektra Records in the late 1980s, forming brief associations with now-defunct Gold Castle and Columbia as a front-line artist, but also recording children's albums, seasonal albums, and the like. In that sense, an album of re-recordings is another logical step, and at least she has produced this one herself. Only her two biggest hits, the title song and "Amazing Grace," are included among her chart singles, and the album is largely given over to her renditions of '60s and early-'70s standards like "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Morning Has Broken," "The Cat's in the Cradle," "Leavin' on a Jet Plane," and "Let It Be." In a way, then, it's a lot like the albums she used to make in that era, and since her voice remains as lovely as ever, it can be just as enjoyable.

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