It is a pleasure to listen to this album once again and to realize that Judy Collins' musical success has been based all along on her solid musical roots and training.
The songs on this CD, which remasters and transfers her first two albums (with a short bonus song, recorded later), are, with one or two exceptions, traditional folk material, sung in a strong, occasionally chesty alto voice that might surprise listeners used to the higher, lighter soprano heard on her later, folk-rock and pop albums. From the beginning, though, Collins had an ear for quality material--these folk songs hold up well after four decades, and at least one of the composed numbers, Ewan McColl's bitter anti-death penalty ballad "Tim Evans," has lost none of its bite or relevance, especially here in Texas.
Other highlights for me include rousing versions of venerable tunes such as "Fannerio" and the gospel-tinged "Twelve Gates to the City." The guitar playing throughout is superb, both from Collins herself and her collaborating musicians. As the notes to the album itself concede, the remastering of the analog original reveals some deficiencies in the original recording--also, the increased clarity exposes some sloppy tuning that was not so apparent on LP. Still, this is a CD that will provide much pleasure to those who remember Judy Collins' beginnings with fondness.