A few months ago, classic rock fans were shocked to find that Stephen Stills and Judy Collins had just released an album they recorded together entitled Stills & Collins. I was very curious when I had first seen this CD in a used record store recently. The Stills & Collins logo on the cover did not feature the legendary artist’s first names. It took a few minutes to figure it out. When classic rock fans first hear the last name Collins they tend to think of the legendary blues guitarist Albert Collins or Alan Collins who was one of the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then it hit me that Stephen Stills had once wrote the song “Suite Judy Blue Eyes,” about Judy Collins. There was a story published many years ago over how Stephen Stills had written the song as an attempt to get back together with Judy Collins after the two had just ended very short-lived romance. So, it became apparent that the Stills Collins CD was indeed a collaboration between the two legendary artists.
The Stills & Collins album is a mixture of covers and some new material. While Stephen Stills may sound horse on many of the songs, his guitar playing still sounds like vintage Crosby Stills and Nash. Stephen Still’s riffs throughout the CD are worth the price of the album alone. Nonetheless, Judy Collins still sounds like she did in the 1960’s. Judy Collins hit all the high notes effortlessly while still maintaining that angelic folk voice that sold millions of records in the 1960’s and 70’s.
The Stills & Collins album opens with a remake of the Traveling Wilburys’ tune “Handle With Care.” It’s an interesting choice when you think about it. The Travelling Wilburys themselves were a band that had featured a mixture of aging and semi aging rock and roll legends with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.
The albums next track is a remake of the legendary Stephen Stills song “So Begin’s the Task.” The song is one of the most beautiful songs Stephen Sill had ever written. It was originally released n the Manassas album in 1970. The Stills & Collins version is performed at around the same tempo as the original. The new version is sung in harmony by Stills and Collins as a duet. The harmony works beautifully. It’s peaceful and memorable and serves as a true reminder of the brilliance of the artist Stephen Stills.
The third song n the album is new composition written by Judy Collins. The song features a beautiful piano introduction wrapped in a tender organ line. Judy Collins vocals are simply mesmerizing. Anyone with a heart will feel touched by the songs sentiment. It’s a beautiful melody song by a magical voice. Its brilliant, and it would be a huge hit if it were 1975 all over again when radio played great music.
The rest of the album contains a mixture of original Stephen Stills and Judy Collins original songs, a Bob Dylan cover, a Tim Hardin cover and even a Leonard Cohen cover. However its in the material that both Stills and Collins have written themselves in which the album shines.
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