To the editor:

Once upon a time, a news item that Judy Collins would be appearing locally was enough for me to break out of my study-work routine. Even more, it motivated me to scrape up enough cash, get a Friday night off, and have a special date with my girlfriend (now wife).

That was in the late 1960s, maybe ’66 or ’67 or ’68, but I could be off a year. The scheduled concert each year was Judy Collins at the Crane Estate. Ironically, each was just about this time of the year.

Collins was riding high at the time. Her “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” album, even though it only had nine songs, was terrific, with “Someday Soon,” “Bird on the Wire,” “My Father,” and the title track all being memorable.

Each year I bought tickets.

And each year, the Fabulous Judy (no insult to radio legend Eddie Andelman and his wife, the real Fabulous Judy) was a no-show. Also each year, Miriam Makeba substituted with no advance notice. Miriam was terrific. We loved the show the first year. We sat through it the second year, seething.

The third time, I threw an “I-should-have-been-arrested” nutty at the box office. Probably to avoid having more ticket-holders do the same, I got our money back.

We drove back into downtown Ipswich and caught a folk show at the King’s Rook (now a business office next to the Choate Bridge). My memory wants to tell me we saw the We Five (“You Were on My Mind”) that night, but it probably was on another occasion.

Needless to say, the news that Ms. Judy will be at the Firehouse in Newburyport with ticket prices of $140 to $160 turned out to be a personal gut punch, reminding me of a three-year stretch when, as a naïve young man, I felt wronged.

So, pay your money, enjoy the show, but don’t be surprised if the Fabulous Judy is a no-show.

Wonder who she has waiting in the wings.

(Lest anyone think this is a rant against the Firehouse, be assured it’s not. John Moynihan’s music series is a great idea. Now, if he could get Ian Tyson to appear.)

Bill Griffith


Editor’s Note: Judy Collins is scheduled to perform at the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport on June 29.

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