Entry count: 5198
Judy Collins' Fifth Album reviewed

Judy Collins

Fifth Album

Released: November 23rd, 1965

9.0
Album Review Judy Collins

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1970.

Support Gaslight Records

At the time this album was released, it was easily the best album Judy Collins had delivered. It followed the format (and maybe formula) of her two previous albums, where she had started to focus more on the newer songwriters and less on traditional folksongs. This album includes almost entirely contemporary songwriters, with two exceptions: “So Early In The Spring” and “Lord Gregory”. Looking back at the album now, it’s almost a mirror of what was going on in the New York City folk scene in the first half of 1965.

It’s almost a mirror of what was going on in the New York City folk scene.

The comparison with Joan Baez’s sixth album, Farewell Angelina – released roughly at the same time – is inevitable. Both cover Dylan’s “Daddy You Been On My Mind” and both include traditional ballads. While Baez’s album includes subtle electric guitar, Collins typically recorded with additional – though not electric – musicians. Collins has three Dylan songs on this album, none of which are political, but she includes several songs from or about the civil rights movement. She also includes several newer songwriters whose names are now familiar: Phil Ochs, Eric Andersen, Richard Fariña, Gordon Lightfoot and Billy Ed Wheeler, whose “Coming of the Roads” is perhaps the most beautiful song on the album.

Judy Collins' Fifth Album reviewed

The album kicks off with an upbeat version of “Pack Up Your Sorrows” written by Richard Fariña and his sister-in-law, Pauline Marden, with Fariña on dulcimer. Fariña also plays dulcimer on Gil Turner’s “Carry It On”, a version that continues to hold up musically 50 years later.

Collins always had excellent musicians working with her and this album is no exception; multi-instrumentalist Eric Weissberg handles most of the second guitar work, providing counterpoint and keeping things tasty without ever getting in Collins’ way. John Sebastian’s harp on Eric Andersen’s “Thirsty Boots” is exceptional. However, the standout performance on the album is Danny Kalb’s guitar on “Daddy You Been On My Mind”.

Looking at the album now one realizes that, with a slight rearrangement of the track listing, Collins could have ended the album with a fairly strong statement on the civil rights movement; with Ochs’ “In the Heat of the Summer” about the 1964 Harlem riots, Gil Turner’s “Carry It On”, and the Malvina Reynolds/Barbara Dane collaboration “It Isn’t Nice” that closes the album with a version recorded live in concert. Yet, although the song was cool at the time, it’s the one song that hasn’t stood the test of time.

This would end up being Collins’ last folk album. Her next album would be dramatically different in musical backing, though her interest in contemporary songwriters would remain. Either way, Fifth Album was a strong effort then and remains so today.

More recent news

Watch The Jackson 5 perform single from their debut album on Ed Sullivan

News

December 23rd, 1969: Watch The Jackson 5 perform single from their debut album on Ed Sullivan

Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 is the latest release from Motown

 
The Clancy Brothers have released a new album of Christmas songs: Listen

News

December 20th, 1969: The Clancy Brothers have released a new album of Christmas songs: Listen

Irish folk group, The Clancy Brothers have recorded 11 songs to bring a little joy to your Christmas

 
See photos from The Doors album cover shoot in Los Angeles today

News

December 18th, 1969: See photos from The Doors album cover shoot in Los Angeles today

The new Doors album is due for release early next year.

 
Four people died over the weekend at The Altamont Speedway Free Festival

Article

December 10th, 1969: Four people died over the weekend at The Altamont Speedway Free Festival

Here's the story of Altamont in quotes from many of the people involved.

 
The Rolling Stones have released a new studio album ahead of their free concert tomorrow at Altamont

News

December 5th, 1969: The Rolling Stones have released a new studio album ahead of their free concert tomorrow at Altamont

As The Stones finish their run of U.S. concert dates they have released their eighth album, Let It Bleed.

 
This summer Bob Dylan sat down for an interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine

Interviews

December 4th, 1969: This summer Bob Dylan sat down for an interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine

Read the transcript below of Dylan and Wenner's interview from June this year

 
Emmylou Harris covers Bob Dylan on debut album

News

December 3rd, 1969: Emmylou Harris covers Bob Dylan on debut album

Listen to Harris's cover of Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" from her album Gliding Bird

 
Peter Stone Brown covers Bob Dylan's 'She Belongs To Me'

Live At The Gaslight

Peter Stone Brown covers Bob Dylan's "She Belongs To Me"

Recorded in Atlantic City at Dylan Fest in 2015

 
Watch Roy Orbison perform 'Oh, Pretty Woman' with Johnny Cash last week

News

October 4th, 1969: Watch Roy Orbison perform "Oh, Pretty Woman" with Johnny Cash last week

Orbison appeared on The Johnny Cash Show in Nashville

 
Mixtape October 1969

Mixtapes

October 1st, 1969: Mixtape October 1969

It's the end of Summer 1969, here's what I'm listening to.

 
Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single 'Pewter Suitor' this week - Listen

News

October 1st, 1969: Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single "Pewter Suitor" this week - Listen

The new single was left off the band's album Unicorn, from earlier this year.

 
'I was just about all through as a man' Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Interviews

October 1st, 1969: "I was just about all through as a man" Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Cash gave a brief interview recently while visiting London

 
Loading more