I was overjoyed to see this on Amazon. I first got the album on vinyl back around 1981. It was a Japanese import on so-called virgin vinyl, the best of the lot back then. Then I waited and waited and waited for it to come out on CD. I had almost thought I was waiting in vain. My mother gave me a CD called Lady Sings The Blues back in the 90s, which had the same cover, but turned out to be vol. 4 in the Billie Holiday Story. A major disappointment, since the original album is so wonderful.
Thank you to whoever finally got smart and released the original, with no stupid addons. This does not need bonus tracks, indeed they would seriously detract from it.
This album is from 1956, three years before Miss Holiday died at the age of 44, a sad and criminal loss to the world. Her voice is definitely the worse for wear here, but the passion and sheer artistry shine forth in spite of vocal limitations. Every song is a winner, and the order is important to the whole listening experience, which is why I was so upset at the other release, which had some of these songs, but not all. It is a concept album ahead of its time.
Lady in Satin, the next one, is prime, but this one, imho, is better, because Holiday's backing is by jazz musicians and not an orchestra, and seems more realistic to me. I don't have her Last Recordings yet, so can't comment on them. But if you want one Billie Holiday recording in your collection, this should be it. If you want more, get this, and then get some of her earlier stuff, when her voice was strong and before drugs and alcohol took their toll on her.
This version is definitely a desert island disc, assuming a desert island would have electricity. Make no mistake, get this one and not the one that looks just like it. You won't be sorry.