Stephen Stills and Judy Collins: Everybody Knows
They don’t even bother with their first names on the CD cover. Judging from the title, they figure that you either already know who they are or you probably don’t care. Just for the record though, “they” would be Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, and these two have some history. A long, long time ago, they were lovers. He wrote a song about her called “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” that he played many times with a band he’s no longer involved with. The now exes decided—he at 72, she at 78—that it was time they made a record together. So here it is, and it’s a real treat. Against all expectations, they open it singing in sweet harmony and trading off leads on “Handle With Care,” the Traveling Wilburys tune, before settling in to more comfy territory. Among the originals, there’s “Judy,” written by Stills in 1968 at a Collins recording session, lost for decades, discovered and released as a demo a decade ago and now given a proper treatment. “Houses” is another remake, from Collins’ 1975 Judith, a stately ballad that shows off her somehow undiminished vocal chops to an enchanting effect. The Leonard Cohen-penned title track, Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” and Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country” find the unlikely sweet spot where these oil-and-water voices cleave. The finale is another familiar one. “Questions,” first recorded by Stills with Buffalo Springfield, then repurposed for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, yields nothing new here, other than the fact that Stills must really like this song.