- Released: July 26, 2010
- Label: Collector's Choice
Description by OLDIES.com:
Having exquisitely interpreted virtually every other songwriter of note from the '60s and early '70s, on this 1973 album Judy brought her own songwriting to the fore, contributing over half of the material. In addition to five Collins originals, 'True Stories' also most notably featured the Top Forty hit 'Cook with Honey'; the Stephen Stills cover 'So Begins the Task'; and Tom Paxton's 'The Hostage', written in the wake of the 1971 Attica prison riots.
- 1.Cook With Honey
- 2.So Begins the Task
- 3.Fisherman Song
- 4.The Dealer (Down and Losin')
- 5.Secret Gardens
- 6.Holly Ann
- 7.The Hostage
- 8.Song for Martin
Personnel: Judy Collins (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano); Eric Weissberg (acoustic guitar, banjo, bass); Steve Mandell (acoustic guitar, banjo); Bucky Pizzarelli (acoustic guitar); Jerry Matthews (electric guitar); Bill Keith (pedal steel guitar); Larry Packer (fiddle); Paul Prestopino (autoharp); Don Brooks (harmonica); Lou Killen (concertina); Russell George, Don Payne, Bob Daugherty (bass); Allan Schwartzberg (drums, percussion); Ray Barretto (bongos, congas).
Recorded at the Record Plant, New York, New York.
Liner Note Author: Richie Unterberger.
Judy Collins took a little longer than her usual one year between album releases before delivering True Stories and Other Dreams while Elektra Records filled the gap with a greatest-hits LP, Colors of the Day: The Best of Judy Collins. When Collins was ready with the new disc in January 1973 (it was actually her first studio album in more than two years, although the live Living of 1971 had contained mostly newly recorded songs), it became apparent what had required the extra time: five of the nine tracks were original songs penned by Collins herself. She had placed her own songs on previous LPs dating back to 1967's Wildflowers, but never so many. Nor were these, as earlier compositions tended to be, restricted in subject matter to personal reflections. Many of them did conform to that description, with "Secret Gardens" being a reverie about family, beginning with her grandmother, and "Holly Ann" a depiction of her baby sister. But "Fishermen Song" was a catchy, folkie tune about fishermen, naturally. "Song for Martin," while personal, was an elegy to a friend who had committed suicide. And the seven-and-a-half-minute closer, "Ch?," was an ambitious recitative about the death of Ch? Guevara and the hopes for freedom in South America. Always a master of varying moods, Collins had begun the album with the lilting "Cook with Honey" from the pen of Valerie Carter, and included the lovelorn "So Begins the Task," written by ex-beau Stephen Stills. But the tone of the album turned gradually darker. "Secret Gardens" and "Holly Ann" gave way to a percussion-filled cover of Tom Paxton's "The Hostage," an account of the then-recent Attica State Prison riot as told from beyond the grave by a slain prison guard who ended up blaming Governor Nelson Rockefeller for having police storm the prison, not the prisoners who held him. With that harrowing account followed by "Song for Martin" and "Ch?," the album thus ended with three songs about violent death. That made True Stories and Other Dreams a downbeat collection, but it was in the mood of the times of the early '70s, presenting a hangover of '60s idealism that had given way to personal and political disillusionment. ~ William Ruhlmann