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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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BILLIE HOLIDAY

I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Le Chant du Monde 574 2277.81

 

 

CD1

1. Your Mother's Son-In-Law

2. What a Little Moonlight Can Do

3. What a Night, What a Moon, What a Girl

4. I'm Painting the Town Red

5. It's Too Hot for Words

6. Twenty-Four Hours a Day

7. Yankee Doodle Never Went to Town

8. Eeny Meeny Miney Mo

9. If You Were Mine

10. You Let Me Down

11. Life Begins When You're in Love

12. These Foolish Things

13. I Cried for You

14. Guess Who

15. Did I Remember?

16. No Regrets

17. Summertime

18. Billie's Blues (I Love My Man)

19. A Fine Romance

20. I Can't Pretend

21. Easy to Love

22. The Way You Look Tonight

23. Who Loves You?

24. Pennies from Heaven

25. I Can't Give You Anything but Love

CD2

1. If My Heart Could Only Talk

2. Please Keep Me in Your Dreams

3. This Year's Kisses

4. The Mood That I'm In

5. Moanin’ Low

6. Mean to Me

7. I'll Never Be the Same

8. Me, Myself and I

9. Getting Some Fun Out of Life

10. Trav'lin 'All Alone

11. He's Funny That Way

12. Nice Work If You Can Get It

13. Can't Help Loving Dat Man

14. When You're Smiling

15. When a Woman Loves a Man

16. You Go to My Head

17. If I Were You

18. Havin’ Myself a Time

19. I Wish I Had You

20. I'm Gonna Lock My Heart

21. Any Old Time

22. I Can't Get Started

23. You Can't Be Mine

24. Everybody's Laughing

25. Here It Is Tomorrow Again

26. I'll Never Fail You

27. They Say

CD3

1. More Than You Know

2. Long Gone Blues

3. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues

4. Swing, Brother, Swing

5. Night and Day

6. The Man I Love

7. Ghost of Yesterday

8. Body and Soul

9. Time on My Hands

10. I Hear Music

11. The Same Old Story

12. St. Louis Blues

13. Georgia on My Mind

14. Romance in the Dark

15. All of Me

16. God Bless the Child

17. Am I Blue?

18. I Cover the Waterfront

19. Love Me or Leave Me

20. Gloomy Sunday

21. It's a Sin to Tell a Lie

22. Until the Real Thing Comes Along

23. My Old Flame

24. Lover Man

25. No More

26. That Old Devil Called Love

CD4

1. Don't Explain

2. You Better Go Now

3. Good Morning Heartache

4. Big Stuff

5. Baby, I Don't Cry Over You

6. I'll Look Around

7. The Blues Are Brewin '

8. Guilty

9. Easy Living

10. Solitude

11. I Loves You Porgy

12. Them There Eyes

13. My Sweet Hunk o’ Trash

14. Somebody’s on my Mind

15. This is Heaven to Me

16. Rocky Mountain Blues

17. Blue Moon

18. You Go to my Head

19. Love for Sale

20. Tenderly

21. My Man

22.Yesterdays

23. I Can’t Face the Music

24. Willow Weep for Me

25. Gone with the Wind

CD5

1. Lady Sings the Blues

2. Trav’lin’ Light

3. I Must Have That Man

4. Strange Fruit

5. No Good Man

6. Cheek to Cheek

7. All or Nothing at All

8. Sophisticated Lady

9. April in Paris

10. I Wished on the Moon

11. A Foggy Day

12. But Not For Me

13. Stars Fell on Alabama

14. Say It Isn’t So

15. Our Love is here to Stay

16. You Don’t Know What Love Is.

17. For Heaven’s Sake

18. For All We Know

19. I’m a Fool to Want You

20. You’ve changed

21. Violets for Your Furs

 

About ten years ago, a record company issued a set of ten CDs containing a wealth of Billie Holiday recordings. This new compilation consists of five CDs, so I guess we are getting about half the number on the previous release, although this should be sufficient for all but the keenest Billie Holiday completest. At least this collection includes all of Billie’s recordings which I would regard as essential.

The great thing about Holiday’s recordings – especially those from the 1930s – is that she was so often accompanied by all-star groups of musicians. Teddy Wilson in particular asssembled backing bands which included such great names as Jack Teagarden, Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges and Roy Eldridge. The result was that you could hear short but memorable solos from some of the best jazzmen available – and there was the added pleasure of recognizing a familiar sound. Was that really Benny Goodman on the opening track? It certainly was. And of course there was Billie’s perfect accompanist, tenorist Lester Young, who can be heard getting a larger and larger slice of the solo space. Note how, on This Year’s Kisses, Lester supplies exactly the right introduction for Holiday’s evocative voice.

Teddy Wilson’s piano is masterly on such tracks as What A Night, What A Moon, What A Girl and throughout his sessions he is a dependably inventive resource which holds the groups together. The collection takes us from 1933 to 1958 – altgough the later tracks are represented less generously than the early ones. Right from the second track, you can hear Billie relaxing into her charactistic approach, holding back or venturing forward on the beat, accentuating the swing seemingly effortlessly, while her cohorts supply the perfect accompaniment. Songs like Night and Day and All Of Me show how Billie often diverged wildly from a melody although it seldom seemed to matter.

When we come to Strange Fruit, it appears as if Billie’s career had been leading up to this moment, as the purveyor of torch songs switched unexpectedly to a song about her brethren being torched. Unfortunately this version of Strange Fruit is marred by an over-melodramatic trumpet.

For anybody who hasn’t got a fair amount of Billie Holiday in their record collection, this album fits the bill nicely.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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