.....At first, she sang traditional folk songs, or songs written by others, in particular the social poets of the
time, such as Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, and Bob Dylan. She recorded her own versions of seminal songs of the period, such as
Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and Pete Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn". Collins was also instrumental in
bringing little known musicians to a wider public (in much the same way Joan Baez brought Bob Dylan into the public eye). For
example, Collins recorded songs by Canadian poet Leonard Cohen, who became a close friend over the years. She also recorded songs
by singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman and Richard Farina long before they gained national acclaim.
While Collins' first few albums comprised straightforward guitar-based folk songs, with 1966's In My Life, she began
branching out and including work from such diverse sources as The Beatles, Cohen, Jacques Brel and Kurt Weill. Mark Abramson
produced and Joshua Rifkin arranged the album, adding lush orchestration to many of the numbers. The album was regarded as a major
departure for a folk artist, and set the course for Collins' subsequent work over the next decade.
With her 1967
album Wildflowers, also produced by Mark Abramson and arranged by Rifkin, Collins began to record her own compositions, the first
of which was entitled "Since You've Asked". The album also provided Collins with a major hit, and a Grammy award, in
Mitchell's "Both Sides Now", which reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Collins' 1968 album, Who
Knows Where the Time Goes, was produced by David Anderle and featured back-up guitar by Stephen Stills (of Crosby, Stills &
Nash), with whom she was romantically involved at the time. (She was the inspiration for Stills' CSN classic, "Suite: Judy
Blue Eyes"). Time Goes had a mellow country sound, and included Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon" and the title track,
a Sandy Denny song which has since been covered by several other artists. The album also featured Collins' composition,
"My Father," and one of the first covers of Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire."