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4.5 out of 5 stars30
4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 23 August 2001
Lady Day sings from the soul on this album, I have many Billie Holiday albums, but this is simply exceptional, with full orchestral support Miss Holiday pours out her soul through her voice on this album, you can feel the emotion and sadness in her voice, along with some "outtake" bonus tracks in which you can get a real feel for her mood, it makes this an album not to have missing from your Billie Holiday it now !!
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on 16 August 2003
AS nearly everybody sees fit to note Billie Holiday's voice on this her favourite recording was not 'what it used to be'... However personally, this is exactly what makes this my favourite of all her albums.
There are those who want us to believe that they 'know' beauty... that it lies in some kind of technical proficiency, in hitting all the right notes or or in some kind of vocal dexterity (although one would have presumed that Ms Carey and Ms Dion had proven this to be false beyond all scientific reason?!)... they maintain that lists can be made that objectively rank the beauty of this or that song or artwork, and that on some objective level this Billie Holiday album can be dismissed as one of those unfortunate anticlimaxes to a legendary career.
If however you believe that beauty is ultimately in the ear of the listener and not purely in the inanimate object... if you believe it is the unclassifiable product of the rapport and intimacy that builds up between the mood of the listener and the mood and tone of the artist... if you believe the beauty of a song to be dependant on an unlimited number of variables such as: mood, location, memory etc... then you may find as many others have that 'Lady in Satin' provides a fitting finale to one of the most intriguing figures in 20th century music.
If you want vocal dexterity above all else then maybe you should go for one of Billie Holiday's earlier collections.. if however you think you may want to hear Lady Day wistfully croak twelve wonderful melodies (yes croak - after all Louis Armstrong croaked some of the most beautiful sounds every known!!), then purchase this album, go straight to song three (my personal fav) and sit back and get to know a whole new Billie and a whole new world...
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It isn't just the haunting quality of Billie Holiday's voice that captivates the listener, but the unique way she manoeuvred it between and around the written notes in a way that gave an added dimension to everything she sang, whilst respecting the songwriter's intentions. So it is here, in these late recordings, made less than eighteen months before her untimely death. It's short measure, but 45 minutes was fairly standard for an LP when these tracks were recorded, and what could you add that would not detract from what is here? Of course the voice is not the glorious instrument it once was, but to criticise these recordings for that decline is to miss the point. Here was a supreme artist, singing with a degree of poignancy it would be hard to surpass. It's part of her canon, and deserves its place in any collection worthy of the name.
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on 15 May 2007
Her finest hour ? No I don`t think so but a great great album . It makes me cry but I may be crying for me , she does that to you . The greatest female artist of any genre ever .
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Miss Holiday crawled through some bad times, sometimes of her choosing, mostly not. Always she sang like no other jazz singer, and never more so than on this recording. She is not just singing lyrics and trying to be what we expect from a jazz singer. This is real time. Forever time. The Lady sings the Blues and we will never hear someone like this again. Ever. Over 30 years span her recording career, until this. Her finest hour. The Lady sings as only she knows how...the rest is history.
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on 15 June 2003
Billie Holiday led four lives in one. And that is saying something considering she never made her 45th birthday! She was raped at an early age, spent time involved in prostitution,and was a drug addict. She probably had just about every vice that anyone could have.
Yet she was a beautiful lady, although she had a reputation for being very difficult, and had one of the most distinctive voices of the twentieth century. Yes, by the time she recorded her last album just over a year before her death, her voice was no way near what it was in her prime. But to leave it like that is missing the point.
In her later years Billie Holiday's voice contained all the experiences of life and it was enriched for this. It had a certain timbre and you immidiately sympathise. The songs that she sung reflected this and the quality of the arrangements and the musicians around her are first rate and seem to put a comforting arm around her.
Listening to some songs on this recording reduce me to tears. Tears more for her than anything else. As I said, the songs are so well selected that they seem autobiographical. This album was her favourite and it's one that should be in everyones collection.
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on 30 December 2009
I bought this CD after hearing I am a fool.. on a TV advert. I have Billie Holiday CDs already and do enjoy her voice.

This CD while having a selection of songs on it that I have not heard before that are great, also include a track that allows to hear the making of a couple of her songs. Her singing on it, making mistakes, the orchestra on their own. It is interestering for the first couple of times, but if you are going to use the CD for a quiet back music for dinner and drinkie poos, I would suggest that you programme your player not to include those tracks.

Overall, I like it and if you like Billie Holiday then buy it.
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on 30 June 2013
Recorded less than 2 years before her untimely death, "Lady in Satin" is a document of a singer who had lost it all.

Years of hard living was beginning to catch up with Holiday by this point and gone was the fabulous voice that graced so many classic tracks (in particular those recorded during her tenure at columbia). Instead you get a voice ravaged by excess or (as others have mentioned) a "croak".

That said, it is appears to be a very personal album and Holiday is obviously giving it her all with these performances.

So what you are left with is an album where Holiday sings her heart out arranger and Ray Evans vainly attempts to cover up that scarred voice with a seriously lush arrangement of strings.

Its easy to write this album off as unlistenable and at times it is unpleasant to listen to. There are some great songs on it though (in particular "You've Changed", "The End of A Love Affair" and "I'm A Fool To Want You").

I would suggest this album is not the best place to start your Billie Holiday collection; however I find the contrast between the vocal performance and backing track combined with the personal nature of the performance make this a compelling listen.

Anyone with a serious interest in Billie Holidays music should own a copy of this album at some point but I would suggest those new to her music to start with one of the many compilations or (if you want to dig a bit deeper) the "Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday On Columbia" box set which at the time of writing this review is retailing for not much more than a full price CD.
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on 16 February 2009
Although I wasn't familiar with all the songs on this CD at first it just gets better every time I listen to it. What a unique voice she just sounds like she's living every minute of the song.
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on 16 December 2009
This has to be my favourite Billie Holiday album, so much passion so much pain.
Hard to put into words the brilliance on offer here.
Good hearing Chanel using her exceptional voice on their recent christmas ads, hopefully this will propel her back into the spotlight and above the mire of todays 'music stars'
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