First arriving in record stores in 1972, “Colors of the Day” features the Best of Judy Collins which include her most time-honored earliest recordings. Her rendition of Joni Mitchel’s classic song “Both Sides Now,” dominated the charts for months, propelling this collections album sales and making it her number one hit,
It is Collins' vocal range and her phrasing, along with her ability to annunciate that place her in a category by herself. Not only is her voice remarkably beautiful, Colors of the Day shows off Collin’s amazing vocal work as she magnificently delves into folk-pop, country-pop and even a hit of gospel on "Amazing Grace" that clearly show her eclecticism.
While I have personally never been a big fan of Collin’s operatic styled vocals, this collection absolutely has changed my perception. In an era where string sections were common in pop music, Collin’s renditions of a variety of well-known songs have been transformed into lush pieces that are nearly footsteps away from easy listening. However, that doesn’t mean they are bland and lack depth, rather listeners will hear wonderful dynamics and a real sense of emotion heard among the dozen tracks on this SACD.
The quad soundstage is warm and full with a real immediacy that allows the songs to breathe no matter the number of parts. Both Sides Now, the most well known song from this collection, opens with a thin merry-go-round organ arpeggio placed in the back right channel. Bass guitar and light drums are added between the front channels and back left speaker respectfully. As the song builds vocals and strings, among other instrumentation are incorporated, making this one of the most immersive and layer rich songs.
Yet even on one of the most stripped down pieces I have ever heard in quad, Farewell to Tarwathie delivers a fantastic surround experience with Collin’s a Capella voice densely reverberating across the front channels and settling in the rears. But it is the sound of the whales which are spread across the back channels which fill out the multi-channel soundscape, lending to the special character of this song.
It becomes very evident just how good the original recordings of this album were when listening to the acoustic bass on her rendition of the Beatles classic In My Life. Let’s remember this is a 4.0 disc, yet the bass is very rich and simply sounds amazing. The embellished acoustic guitar work is sweet and delicate as it accompanies several other parts which are evenly spread around the four corners of the room.
I would skip the stereo layer as it is thinner and lacks the dynamics so easily heard on the quad mix. Thus this SACD is not recommended for 2.0 listeners, and without other copies on hand I can’t say if it is the best available.
On the other hand, for quad listeners, I strongly recommend picking up a copy of this SACD – especially for collectors of quad mixes, and fans of Judy Collins. Colors of the Day is an excellent collection of her early years with very good sound quality found on the quad layer. Perfect listening for a lazy Sunday afternoon or a relaxing cool down any evening.