Billie’s Blues

I’ve had Nina’s Blues lodged in my head for a week. Today at a used bookstore we found a Billie Holiday CD, and it had this song I’ve never heard before…Billie’s Blues. It’s such a raw mixture of defiance and insecurity (and ultimately strength, I think) that I found it incredibly touching.

8 thoughts on “Billie’s Blues

  1. I didn’t know that, Goneforeign. I heard about 5 extremely different versions of it on youTube tonight. Even the lyrics are different. This is the closes to the one we have, but it’s not exactly like it. They don’t all have that line about her mother giving her something that gets her through her life, which was one that really struck me as powerful.

  2. There’s another great blues flavored tune by Billie, it’s one of my favorites, it’s Fine and Mellow with the Mal Waldron All Stars: Roy Eldridge, Doc Cheatham (tp); Vic Dickinson (tb); Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Lester Young (ts); Gerry Mulligan (bs); Mal Waldron (p); Milt Hinton (b); Osie Johnson (d)
    It’s from “The Sound of Jazz”, a 1957 CBS television series and was one of the first major programmes featuring jazz to air on American network television.
    The one-hour program aired on Sunday, December 8, 1957.

    It’s here:

  3. Very strange coincidence indeed, because the album we got has new-to-me versions of Fine and Mellow and Strange Fruit. Lord that song is powerful. It’s almost unlistenably so. Thanks for the link to the NPR story, Ejay.

  4. Ah, a DsD favourite song for a quarter of a century now!

    But not Billie’s version, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. My fave is much more robust and defiant electric blues song. Remind me on Saturday eve, steen, and I’ll ‘Box it.

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