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on 5 January 2012
If you're still one of the (hopefully very) few to ignore about Lady Day or you've never considered buying any of her full-length albums but would like to have a taste of them, this is a pretty good way to enter the world of such a great singer. Sony have assembled a stunning three-disc set featuring a nice amount of Holiday's recordings on the Columbia jazz label and at a stunningly low price, too! 77 musical gems spanning three decades, starting from 1933 through 1951, with the bonus addition of rare tracks and alternate takes. The missing tracks are available on most of her lps released on different labels, so if you would love to get more from Miss Holiday, just add the remastered editions of "Lady In Satin"(Columbia) and "Body and soul" (Verve) and you'll have a good picture of her enduring music legacy and allure. Also recommended in this "The Real..." series: Miles Davis, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
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on 11 January 2012
I'd already had a quick listen to some of these tracks on Spotify but was pleasantly surprised to find so many good quality tracks that i didn't have anywhere else in my fairly large Billie Holiday collection. Many thanks.
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Billie Holiday would now be 98 - had she lived that long, which was always unlikely. Born illegitimate in Pennsylvania to a housemaid and a waiter in 1915, and raised in Baltimore, she had one of the most influential, not to mention unforgettable, singing voices of the twentieth century, inspiring as many fellow singers as did Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles or anyone you care to mention. You can readily hear her soulful-swingin` jazz-blues tones in voices as disparate as those of, say, Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. But Billie was unique, a lady - as well as a Lady! - who sounded mature and girlish, old and young, ancient and modern all at once.
She sang a standard as if it were second nature, turning it into a timeless bluesy lament, or a once-in-a-lifetime moment of improvisatory jazz-inflected drama. She sang songs like she was born singing. And yet, she could wring your heart with a lyric, as though only she knew the true depths of the heartbreak she mercilessly displayed to the hapless listener.
I can`t for the life of me imagine anyone not appreciating Billie Holiday, though I expect there must be a few, somewhere.
These Sony reissue `Real...` sets are nicely packaged, well-filled, low-priced, but under-documented, compilations which give generally excellent introductions to some key singers and musicians of the modern era. I would have liked to know a little more about these tracks, with a brief note about Billie, but really the lady speaks eloquently for herself, and besides, if you have this then you may well want to get other collections with fuller listings and a Billie biog included. As an enticing introduction to the irreplaceable Billie Holiday, this will do the trick.
I didn`t have many of these tracks, and it`s wonderful at last to have her suitably forlorn recording of the notorious Gloomy Sunday, which I`d despaired of finding on a compilation. I`ll leave the interested to read up on this particular song for themselves - it has its own mythology.
A few of her classics are here, in early versions, such as God Bless the Child, Easy Living (a great song), Summertime, You Go To My Head, All of Me, and others.
But most of these songs are lesser known Billie tracks, which is refreshing, since you don`t get the usual fare you can easily find elsewhere. For example, try CD2 track 18: I`ve Got a Date With a Dream - marvellous!
These are songs she recorded for Columbia in the late thirties and early forties. The sound is fairly `hissy` on many tracks, but - unless you are ultra-finicky when it comes to sonic clarity - this only adds to the overall atmosphere. (These precious recordings are over 70 years old...)
You can play Billie anywhere at any time, and she always `fits in`. I listened to CD1 last night while I lay on my bed, hot, tired and sun-baked (I`m typing this during a rare July heatwave) and it was balm to the ears, mind and senses.
Nearly four hours of Billie Holiday at a bargain price. It`s what I believe is these days called a no-brainer.
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on 19 April 2017
Billie Holiday has got so much class and elegance about her as an individual and charismatic singer. This is a fantastic listen for a couple of hours or so. The American people had a lot of time for her she is up there with the best of musical brilliance.
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on 16 March 2015
What can I say about the magnificence of Lady day that hasn't been said before? You get many of her Columbia sides on these three discs.. just great.. check out her duet with Johnny Mercer on "Jeepers Creepers" BUT, unless you are familiar with JM's voice, if Billie didn't call him out by name you wouldn't know who the male vocalist was because there is no information what so ever as to who is playing on the sessions. On the same song Mercer calls to "Dr Leo Watson" so we know who the black scat singer is on this live track. Yes, "live".. but where and when? Was Watson also playing "bone" on this date? This is left for us to guess or research but it is usually the kind of thing I'd like to see as I am listening to the song and taking an interest. I don't feel like Googling. My whole point here is, as wonderful as the music is, there is really sod all information available in this release. Still 5 stars though.. I couldn't give Lady Day anything less... and the price is low. If we want booklets full of info and pix we have to buy the box sets at three times the price. I'm playing it as I write and... God, this is GOOD.
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on 8 March 2013
what a lady, what a voice, packed full of emotion and pain, as if she had lived every word, a must buy collection
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on 11 January 2012
I have no option but to give Billie Holiday 5 stars for any song she recorded but the actual reason i bought this very album was because i was watching that Mel Gibson film Forever Young and the track she sings was used in the film. I do already have a number of Albums by Billie Holiday but for some reason this track was missing from my collection. I think everybody should have an album of her songs and this collection is quite a bargain at this price for three CD's..
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on 16 February 2014
Fantastic collection, great selection of tracks. Drawn to this cd after hearing her music featured on a film, not dissapointed!
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on 26 February 2013
Absolutely first class , music at its best.
I ill be looking for more music fro this era either by this artist or others.
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on 19 November 2014
All her biggest hits together. always makes me smile to listen to it.
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