Back when Judy Collins was in her prime—on albums like Who Knows Where the Time Goes—it seemed difficult to imagine her voice ever fostering criticism. For whatever reason, though Collins’s vocals have become a central problem, not only on the new Running for My Life but in at least one recent television appearance and on several previous records. And the difficulty isn’t merely her frequent lack of involvement with her material; often these days, she sounds downright amateurish, not to mention off-key. To make matters worse, this album’s occasional gems (several of which garner atypically good readings) share the grooves with some simplistically arranged, absolutely awful originals and covers.
Collins fans should save their money for something from her large, impressive catalog—or for what may result if her considerable talents re-emerge.