1001 Other Albums – 11 – Billie Holiday – Lady Sings The Blues

Here we are with an album I actually own, although my copy is a nice re-issue, with a different cover, that I bought in Portugal while I was on holiday a few years ago. By the time of this release in 1956 Holiday’s voice had noticeably deteriorated from her earlier recordings but it didn’t really matter, the imperfections are quite appropriate for the mood of the songs. Holiday’s autobiography was released the same year, with the same title, and the album is a companion for the book, possibly purposfully, possibly not.

Holiday and the song ‘Strange Fruit’ will be eternally linked and in her autobiography she suggested that she, together with her musical collaborators, set the poem to music. The writers David Margolick and Hilton Als dismissed that claim in their work ‘Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song’, writing that hers was “an account that may set a record for most misinformation per column inch”. When challenged, Holiday—whose autobiography had been ghostwritten by William Dufty—claimed, “I ain’t never read that book.”

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What I Did On My Holidays

Whenever I travel somewhere I will look to see if there are any record shops nearby. This trip took me to Portugal, about 15 minutes by car from Albufera in a rather remote but very nice coastal area. There were no record shops. There was a mall of sorts that was a 14 minute taxi ride away and we went there, to look for women’s clothes mostly (not for me) and there was a store there called FNAC, I have no idea what it stands for but it had PS4 games and laptops and suchlike so I wandered in and near the back of the store I found a music section, which included records, not that many, about 100 or so, but I left the store with a couple of them, which was an unexpected surprise for me and a break from having to give my expert advice on skirts and blouses.

Both albums were Billy Holiday re-issues and were reasonably priced at 14.99 Euros (I don’t know where the Euro symbol is on my keyboard) each.

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They are both wonderful albums of course, she was a rare talent.