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Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin

track 1. I'm A Fool To Want You:
(Wolf - Herron - Sinatra)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 2. For Heaven's Sake:
(Meyer - Bretton - Edwards)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 3. You Don't Know What Love Is:
(Raye - DePaul)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 4. I Get Along Without You Very Well:
(Carmichael)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 5. For All We Know:
(Lewis - Coots)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 6. Violets For Your Furs:
(Adair - Dennis)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 7. You've Changed:
(Caray - Fisher)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 8. It's Easy To Remember:
(Rodgers - Hart)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 9. But Beautiful:
(Burke - VanHeusen)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 10. Glad To Be Unhappy:
(Rodgers - Hart)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 11. I'll Be Around:
(Wilder)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 12. The End Of A Love Affair:
(Redding)
20 February 1958
in New York


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Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin

track 1. I'm A Fool To Want You:
(Wolf - Herron - Sinatra)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 2. For Heaven's Sake:
(Meyer - Bretton - Edwards)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 3. You Don't Know What Love Is:
(Raye - DePaul)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 4. I Get Along Without You Very Well:
(Carmichael)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 5. For All We Know:
(Lewis - Coots)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 6. Violets For Your Furs:
(Adair - Dennis)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 7. You've Changed:
(Caray - Fisher)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 8. It's Easy To Remember:
(Rodgers - Hart)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 9. But Beautiful:
(Burke - VanHeusen)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 10. Glad To Be Unhappy:
(Rodgers - Hart)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 11. I'll Be Around:
(Wilder)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 12. The End Of A Love Affair:
(Redding)
20 February 1958
in New York


Wanna Buy It? - OR - Back To Site Index

Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin

track 1. I'm A Fool To Want You:
(Wolf - Herron - Sinatra)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 2. For Heaven's Sake:
(Meyer - Bretton - Edwards)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 3. You Don't Know What Love Is:
(Raye - DePaul)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 4. I Get Along Without You Very Well:
(Carmichael)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 5. For All We Know:
(Lewis - Coots)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 6. Violets For Your Furs:
(Adair - Dennis)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 7. You've Changed:
(Caray - Fisher)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 8. It's Easy To Remember:
(Rodgers - Hart)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 9. But Beautiful:
(Burke - VanHeusen)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 10. Glad To Be Unhappy:
(Rodgers - Hart)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 11. I'll Be Around:
(Wilder)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 12. The End Of A Love Affair:
(Redding)
20 February 1958
in New York


Wanna Buy It? - OR - Back To Site Index

Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin

track 1. I'm A Fool To Want You:
(Wolf - Herron - Sinatra)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 2. For Heaven's Sake:
(Meyer - Bretton - Edwards)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 3. You Don't Know What Love Is:
(Raye - DePaul)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 4. I Get Along Without You Very Well:
(Carmichael)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 5. For All We Know:
(Lewis - Coots)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 6. Violets For Your Furs:
(Adair - Dennis)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 7. You've Changed:
(Caray - Fisher)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 8. It's Easy To Remember:
(Rodgers - Hart)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 9. But Beautiful:
(Burke - VanHeusen)
19 February 1958
in New York

track 10. Glad To Be Unhappy:
(Rodgers - Hart)
20 February 1958
in New York

track 11. I'll Be Around:
(Wilder)
18 February 1958
in New York

track 12. The End Of A Love Affair:
(Redding)
20 February 1958
in New York


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Lady In Satin
Billie Holiday

Columbia Records
[CK-40247]


trumpet - Mel Davis, Billie Butterfield, Bernie Glow
trombone - Urbie Green, Tom Mitchell, J.J.Johnson
alto saxophone - Gene Quill
piano - Hank Jones, Mal Waldron
guitar - Barry Galbraith
string bass - Milt Hinton
drum - Osie Johnson, Don Lamond
reeds - Ed Powell, Tom Pashley, Romeo Penque, Phil Bodner
xylophone - Bradley Spinney
harp - Janet Putman
vocal - Billie Holiday

CD Liner Notes:
________Arthur Koestler once wrote a book of essays entitled "The Ghost In The Machine", which was about totalitarianism among other things; and The Police, with a splendidly ironic subliminal play on words, used the title for one of their albums. And 28 years after its release Lady In Satin might be considered to be the musical equivalent of Koestler's work, for it is about pain and spectres and the slow destruction of a woman by the authorities because she didn't know her place.

_____This album is an intensely autobiographical study: the voice is an open wound, the vocal chords flayed by the acid of racism and commercial indifference and I defy anyone to sit and listen to it without the tears welling. Lady In Satin is a political statement made by one of the great artists of the 20th century and an essential album for any lover of jazz.

_____When this album was first issued I was working for a London newspaper and writing (unpaid) record reviews for a political propaganda sheet. It was the type of rag that is stuffed through mailboxes at dead of night by enthusiastic volunteers and deposited, with admirable expedience, into garbage cans by the recipients. But the editor did allow me a free platform.

_____I remember sinking my milk teeth into Lady In Satin with all the fervor of a Hollywood poolside anarchist. At that time the movie "The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness" was going the rounds and I compared Billie Holiday's (bio) performance to that of Robert Donat, dying of asthma, who croaked and rattled his way through his last role so that he could leave some money to his teenage children. Both the film and Lady In Satin appalled me, and I ended my review by calling it the worst record she had ever made.

_____Now I shudder at my callowness for, although my opinion is basically unchanged from a technical viewpoint you cannot judge such a work by technical standards alone any more than you should ridicule the elderly Duse for playing Juliet or condemn a Renoir painted when the artist's hands were crippled by arthritis.

_____When Billie recorded Lady In Satin she was dying woman, and her spirit had already been murdered by the law. It was easier to garner headlines by hounding a black entertainer drug addict than to embarrass the politicians and power brokers by striking at the root causes of her addiction and the sources of her supply. It was ever thus and nothing has changed except the cast of characters and the drug of choice.

_____It would take a book to document the reason for the decline of Billie Holiday from the vibrant young girl on her first Brunswick sessions (1935) to the paranoid, health-wrecked person she had become by the late 1950s. Suffice is to say that by the mid-1940s Billie was a hard-line drug user. In 1947 she was arrested for violations of the narcotics law and sentenced to a year and a day in the Federal Reformatory in West Virginia, and for the rest of her life she was forbidden by the New York Police Department to sing in any New York nightclub. For some reason known only to the local authorities she did perform regularly in Manhattan's Club Ivory (later Birdland) owned by her then-lover John Levy, although she was still constantly harassed by the local precinct. She was once heard to exclaim bitterly: "...I've been invited to sing in some of th best places in the world, yet I can't get heard in the crummiest ginmill in New York..."

_____In 1952 she signed a recording contract with Norman Grantz and commenced a series of magnificent LPs. By then her voice had diminished, getting throatier and narrower in its range, but these technical shortcomings were more than compensated by the emotion and sheer artistry she displayed. Despite the cabaret ban she appeared on network television, at Carnegie Hall, and other prestigious theatres; and in 1954 she made a successful tour of Western Europe. In 1956 she was again arrested in Philadelphia on a narcotics charge, but was allowed to leave the city. Back in New York she immediately checked into a drug rehabilitation clinic. The treatment was successful, but a side effect was the increase in her liquor consumption to at least two bottles of gin or vodka a day.

_____When Billie recorded Lady In Satin in 1958 it was with the proviso that Ray Ellis write the arrangements. She had heard his first LP "Ellis In Wonderland" and had fallen in love with his ideas. Columbia Records had a provision in her contract that made her attorney, Earle Zaidkins, personally responsible for her prompt appearance at the recording studios. Earle Zaidkins, who seems to have represented her with the utmost integrity, felt she functioned better at night, so all the sessions started at 10 pm, and there was always a bottle of gin handy to ease the fits of nerves that attacked her with increasing frequency.

_____Listening to the instrumental tracks on the work tapes one can only say that Ellis's writing is superb, yet I still feel that strings did not bring out the best in Billie, despite her obvious love for them, which seemed to date from the Toots Camarata sessions for Decca in the mid-1940s. Like so many jazz artists she tried to divorce herself from her roots and broaden her appeal as a popular singer. Her philosophy may have been sound, but the practicality of it made about as much sense as Jean Rhys writing comedy sketches for Joan Rivers.

_____In the last year of her life Billie returned to Europe, and those who saw her perform were in no doubt that she was seriously ill. The death of her close friend, Lester Young, in March 1959 hastened her decline. On 31st May she collapsed in her apartment and was taken to the Metropolitan Hospital in Harlem where she was diagnosed as having a liver complaint complicated by cardiac failure. Amazingly she rallied, but on 12th June another blow knifed through her heart. Police raided her hospital room and found a small tinfoil envelope containing heroin. Later, hospital staff said that Billie, pinned down by the respiratory equipment needed to keep her alive, would not have been able to reach the envelope and, besides, they would have noticed it. Whatever the true facts, a round-theclock police guard was stationed outside her room, and although this order was later overturned by her lawyer, it came too late to stop the authorities from removing her flowers, record player and radio.

_____Again she rallied and even took part in bedside meetings regarding the filming of her life story. But the recovery was illusory, and early on the morning of 17th July 1959 she died, age 44

_____When her body was examined they found $750 taped to her leg - an advance for a series of autobiographical articles. Her bank account registered a further 70 cents. By the end of the year more than $100,000 was added to the total as a result of increased record sales. The people who ignored and reviled her in life now flocked around her metaphorical corpse the way ghouls do after a road accident. Billie Holiday had no further use for such blood money.

...CD re-issue liner notes from Michael Brooks

PRODUCER'S NOTE:
_____Lady In Satin was originally simultaneously released in mono and stereo versions, although the stereo LP was missing the final cut, "The End Of A Love Affair". When we transferred the original tapes to CD, the reason became obvious: there was no stereo version ever made. Billie did not know the song and had great trouble interpreting it. Finally, a music track was laid down, mixed to mono, and Billie sang over it. Happily, we found an unmixed music track and a vocal tape with Billie and a rhythm section. Engineer Larry Keyes married them and copied them onto a digital cassette. Unfortunately, the original tapemachine used to record Billie was running a fraction faster than the music track, so by the time Billie came to her second chorus she and the rhythm section were noticeably ahead of the rest. Larry Keyes did a fantastic job of hair-trigger editing to get both tracks in sync, and the finished result is the first genuine stereo version of "The End Of A Love Affair", created 28 years after the original session.

...added to the CD re-issue liner notes from Michael Brooks

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Billie Holiday: a bio
____________Billie Holiday was the daughter of Clarence Holiday. Her early life is obscure, as the account given in her autobiography, "Lady Sings the Blues", is self-serving and inaccurate. Her father abandoned the family early and refused to acknowledge his daughter until after her first success. At some point in her childhood, her mother moved to New York, leaving her in the care of her relatives who, according to Billie Holiday, mistreated her. She did menial work, had little schooling, and in 1928 went to New York to join her mother. According to her own story, she was recruited for a brothel and was eventually jailed briefly for prostitution.

_____At some point after 1930, she began singing at a small club in Brooklyn, and in a year or so moved to Pods' and Jerry's, a Harlem club well known to jazz enthusiasts. In 1933, she was working in another Harlem club, Monette's, where she was discovered by the producer and talent scout John Hammond. He immediately arranged three recording sessions for her with Benny Goodman and found engagements for her in New York clubs. In 1935, he began recording her regularly, usually under the direction of Teddy Wilson, with studio bands that included many of the finest jazz musicians of the day. These recordings, made between 1935 and 1942, constitute a major body of jazz music; many include work by Lester Young, with whom Billie Holiday had particular empathy. Though aimed mainly at the black jukebox audience, the recordings caught the attention of musicians throughout America and soon other singers were working in Billie Holiday's light, rhythmic manner. Popularity with a wider audience came more slowly. Billie Holiday joined Count Basie in 1937 and Artie Shaw in 1938, becoming one of the first black singers to be featured with a white orchestra. Then, in 1939, she began an engagement at Cafe Society (Downtown), an interracial nightclub in Greenwich Village, which quickly became fashionable with intellectuals and the haut monde, especially those on the political left.

_____At about the same time, she recorded for Commodore Records a song about the lynching of blacks called "Strange Fruit"; it was admired by intellectuals, and very quickly Billie Holiday began to acquire a popular following. She started to have success with slow, melancholy songs of unrequited love, particularly "Gloomy Sunday" (1941), a suicide song, and "Lover Man" (1944). By the end of the 1940s, she was a popular star, and in 1946 took part in the film "New Orleans" with Louis Armstrong and Kid. At the same time her career was taking off, Billie Holiday's private life was deteriorating. She started using hard drugs in the early 1940s and was jailed on drug charges in 1947 after a highly publicized trial. She compulsively attached herself to men who mistreated her, and she began drinking heavily. Her health suffered; she lost most of her by then substantial earnings, and her voice coarsened through age and mistreatment.

_____Although she continued to sing and record, and to tour frequently until the mid-1950s, it was no longer with her former spirit and skill. Billie Holiday is often considered the foremost female singer in jazz history, a view substantiated by her influence on later singers. Her important work is found in the group recordings made mostly for John Hammond between 1936 and 1944. Her vehicles were mainly popular love songs, some of them long forgotten, others among the best of the time. Her voice was light and untrained, but she had a fine natural ear to compensate for her lack of musical education. She always acknowledged her debt to Louis Armstrong for her singing style, and it is certainly in emulation of him that she detached her melody line from the ground beat, stretching or condensing the figures of the melody, as on the opening of "Did I Remember?" (1936).

_____More than nearly any other singer, Billie Holiday phrased her performances in the manner of a jazz instrumental soloist, and accordingly she has to be seen as a complete jazz musician and not merely a singer. Nevertheless, her voice, even in the light and lively numbers she often sang during her early period, carried a wounded poignancy that was part of her attraction for general audiences. Although Billie Holiday claimed also to have taken Bessie Smith as her model, she sang few blues, and none in the powerful, weighted manner of Bessie Smith. She was, however, a master of blues singing, as for example on "Fine and Mellow" (1939), which she built around blue thirds descending to seconds to create an endless tension perfectly suited to the forlorn text.

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