Judy Collins' quicksilver autobiography: everything you might expect from ""the maid of constant sorrow,"" who has shed her black chrysalis and spread new wings. Collins has strengths of expression not usually found in celebrity bios. Born in Seattle in 1939, she was the daughter of a blind radio singer who refused to use a cane and barged his way through daily life with a sixth sense of where things were. Few readers will forget little Judy helping Daddy pick up his burst glass eyeballs from the bathroom floor. Judy was well on her way to becoming a classical pianist when she slipped sideways into folk singing and fell captive to the adrenaline-lift given her by Colorado coffeehouse audiences. However, her classical training remained and eventually her repertoire grew to take in Brecht-Weill, musical theater, ""art songs,"" Bob Dylan, and the Beatles. Work took Collins away from her first husband and son and she lost both. Her contract with Elektra Records, lasting 24 years, produced 21 records, including six gold ones, but came to end when Elektra could no longer successfully promote her. (She's now on her own and is her own manager.) Her work branched out to include singing with symphony orchestras, acting, directing a documentary about her music teacher, and television appearances. After many years she reunited with her son, but not before several illnesses had taken a toll on her, including polio, tuberculosis, hemangioma of the vocal cord, and alcoholism. Survival has become a way of life with Collins, and her present long-term common-law marriage with an industrial designer seems rock solid. Among other things, the story of bringing real feelings--about sex, death, family, spirituality, race, and war--to pop music, written with blue-eyed clarity.