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on 24 October 2001
As its title suggests, "Strange Fruit" is the history of a song, but not only that. Songs do not stand alone, they are written and rewritten by performances. This particular song was inextricably linked to Billie Holiday's life and career and, as Margolick writes, the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement (16 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus).
Margolick writes with respect and inquisitiveness about this song and its complicated history. Included in this compelling, thoughtful, and smooth read are stories from audience members, musicians, and many more people who have been touched by this song.
For those curious about the musical relation to the beginning of America's Civil Rights movement, this is a must read.
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on 19 September 2002
... this short, but marvellously detailed account of one of the greatest songs of the last century is outstanding. Reminisces from people who heard Lady sing in clubs, or heard the song for the first time on record. The shock and despair it inspired in many people was quite profound. From Eartha Kitt to Cassandra Wilson, and many others who covered the song, it is obvious that this lyric still has much to say to a new generation who may have never heard it before. As a footnote, I've never really like Bob Hope, but there is an anecdote where he was in a club listening to Lady Day sing and this guy was heckling her to the point that she was going to walk off stage (many Southerners didn't appreciate the song), but Bob Hope started to heckle the guy and embarrassed him enough to leave the club and let Billie continue singing. My view of the man has changed!
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on 14 July 2014
Quite a harrowing, but very interesting and well written book. GOOD value too.
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on 13 April 2011
i bought this as gift for a friend who asked for it specifically, hard to purchase in shop, i scanned it and consider the pictures are legitimate and historical, whilst the text gives a thoughtful account of a significant time in southern american black history
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