Sweet, busy Judy blue eyes 

click to enlarge Going strong: Judy Collins, whose long, vibrant career began in the early 1960s, plays a two-week gig in The City. (Courtesy photo) - GOING STRONG: JUDY COLLINS, WHOSE LONG, VIBRANT CAREER BEGAN IN THE EARLY 1960S, PLAYS A TWO-WEEK GIG IN THE CITY. (COURTESY PHOTO)
  • Going strong: Judy Collins, whose long, vibrant career began in the early 1960s, plays a two-week gig in The City. (Courtesy photo)
  • Going strong: Judy Collins, whose long, vibrant career began in the early 1960s, plays a two-week gig in The City. (Courtesy photo)

Folk legend Judy Collins may be 72 — but don’t expect her to act like it.

“Because I’m not that age, really. My soul and my physique and everything else about me is about 37, and that’s the way I like it,” she says with a laugh.

Don’t chalk her girlish sassiness up to faddish diets, either, she adds. “I’m not a vegetarian — I’m a hunter-gatherer type. I run after it, bring it down and only eat what I need on a daily basis.”

On a recent phone call from Birmingham, England, where she was wrapping up a lengthy U.K. tour, she described her 10-night run beginning Tuesday at the Rrazz Room as child’s play.

Although she may have debuted in 1961 with “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” the blue-eyed chanteuse is hipper than ever now, thanks in part to Britain’s popular neo-folk movement.

“I can’t believe I just tracked down two of Judy Collins’ late-’60s records on vinyl,” the scene’s leader, Laura Marling, said recently. “I absolutely adore her.”

Collins, in turn, plans on recording a duet with Marling soon. She has also tracked a new single with English outfit Puressence; signed Aussie punk legends the Saints to her label, Wildflower; and made friends with the Fleet Foxes, who literally dropped to their knees when they first met her.

“I have a huge fan base, of all ages and many generations,” Collins says. “But most surprising are the other artists that I don’t know who know me, people who say ‘I followed everything you ever did!’ or ‘You changed my life!’ It really makes you feel as though you’ve done something that’s made an impression.”

Yet the Grammy winner isn’t resting on her “Both Sides Now”-“Send in the Clowns” laurels.

She has three new projects slated for October, including a tell-all autobiography, “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes,” her second children’s book, “Wish Upon a Star,” and the album “Bohemian,” with cameos from Ollabelle (“Morocco”) and Shawn Colvin (“Cactus Flower”), plus a tribute to her late mother, “In the Twilight.”

Additionally, Collins (who once pushed a timid young songwriter named Leonard Cohen onstage to sing for the first time) paints, pens novels and occasionally acts. She even produced an Oscar-nominated documentary on her childhood classical-piano tutor (and first female symphony conductor) Dr. Antonia Brico.

“So my life is very busy,” she says.

Her five-decade career is remarkable in itself. “So you either got it, or you ain’t,” Collins says. “This is the life that I lead, and I love it. And I’ve chosen to live it with everything that I’ve got.”

 

IF YOU GO

Judy Collins

  • Where: Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco
  • When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; closes Oct. 1
  • Tickets: $50 to $55
  • Contact: www.therrazzroom.com

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Tom Lanham

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