18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A couple of jewels among the dross - especially "I love you Porgy",
This review is from: The Very Best of Billie Holiday (Audio CD)
These were recordings made for Decca in the 1940s. Sound quality is perfect, her voice immaculate, what could be wrong? Sadly, the arrangements were radio friendly commercial productions - fake sounding big band, horrid sugary strings, and worst of all a hideous backing choir like you might hear on a wartime Ovaltine advert - listen to the massacre of "God bless the child" and weep. So why 4 stars? Well, there are a couple of real jewels - "That ole devil called love" is a genuinely great pop production as is "Good Morning heartache". But I would recommend anyone buys this for "I love you Porgy" recorded at the same session as the aforementioned "God save the child" after the backing singers had gone. Billie, accompanied sensitively by her working trio with Bobby Tucker on piano, produces one of her greatest performances - understated and incredibly moving. This is one of the greatest vocal performances by anyone ever. Listen to this unadorned piece of true art and you'll understand why I mourn the overdramatic fake slush of the other accompaniments. In fact, this is a 5 star track. Miles Davis singled it out for praise and said he always got Billie to sing it whenever he saw her. "My man" gets similar trio treatment and both stand out a mile in this collection. Buy it and download the four or five great tracks onto your MP3 player and discard the rest.
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Initial post: 30 Aug 2009 10:20:10 BDT
I agree about I love you Porgy - can vividly remember the moment when I heard that track (in the bath, courtesy of a radio programme compiled by Dilly Barlow), and also recall playing a clip of it to a class by way of an illustration of something or other and feeling the temperature in the room drop after only a few seconds: too important, and too perfect, to be used in that context.
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