My Date with Judy Blue Eyes

Judy Collins 2023

Professor Joe Goldblatt

From the moment she stretched out her arms and while singing a cappella asked the audience “Where have all the flowers gone?” she had all of us in both palms of her warm hands. It has been five long years since I last saw Judy Collins perform at Edinburgh’s intimate Queens Hall and her recent appearance made me feel more hopeful about the future because of how she and we survived our past.

I confess that as I age nostalgia creeps closer and closer into the center of my psyche every day. Perhaps this is because the days before me are much longer than the days ahead and therefore I have much more material (happy memories) to draw from. However, thanks to Judy Collins recent concert I now have one more glorious event to cherish.

Throughout her two hour set she regaled the audience of “vintage” seniors with stories of her friendships with folk singers Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and rockers Mick Jagger and Stephen Stills. She also told us about her love affairs and then with a wink dropped her voice and said “I had nothing to do with Donald Trump!”

She stated that she and “Joanie” Baez were drinking buddies and that she had a one year love affair with Stephen Stills as they performed together all over the world. Stills once told her in later life that she should have received royalties from his song “Judy Blue Eyes” which he wrote about her during their tour. She smiled at us and in a cold voice firmly stated “I told him to send me some money as you continue to receive all the royalties.”

Fiercely independent and courageous at 84 to still travel the world with her guitar serenading us, I immediately admired her generosity in continuing to develop her artistry one song at a time. She concluded her performance with two of her most popular tunes, “Send in the Clowns” and “Both Sides Now” and as the audience stretched forward to receive every golden note you could even hear a tear drop. It was as though all of us were thinking, we may not pass this way again so appreciate every breath, every pause, and remember this moment always of our date with Judy Blue Eyes.

Judy’s new album is entitled Spellbound. It includes the type of songs that those of us in this uncertain world need to hear as it reminds us that our lives are full of hope and fear. Judy seamlessly helps us navigate the tightrope between these two emotions with both confidence and grace.

Professor Joe Goldblatt is Emeritus Professor of Planned Events at Queen Margaret University and his opinions are his own. Here is a link to the title track from Spellbound,vid:JnTh7TkFK1U,st:0

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