Lady Day: The Master Takes and Singles

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
This four-disc retrospective of Billie Holiday's work for the various labels under the ARC umbrella (Columbia, Brunswick, Vocalion, OKeh) between 1935 and 1942 is a truncated edition of the magnificent 230-track, 10-CD Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933-1944), released in 2001. It retains both a fair sampling of the earlier box's great music -- 80 tunes -- and essential features such as Gary Giddins's 4,000-word essay and a revised version of producer Michael Brooks's track-by-track annotation, both of which serve to place Holiday's art in its proper historical context and to illuminate the aesthetic nuances of the performances. As Giddins observes, ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
This four-disc retrospective of Billie Holiday's work for the various labels under the ARC umbrella (Columbia, Brunswick, Vocalion, OKeh) between 1935 and 1942 is a truncated edition of the magnificent 230-track, 10-CD Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933-1944), released in 2001. It retains both a fair sampling of the earlier box's great music -- 80 tunes -- and essential features such as Gary Giddins's 4,000-word essay and a revised version of producer Michael Brooks's track-by-track annotation, both of which serve to place Holiday's art in its proper historical context and to illuminate the aesthetic nuances of the performances. As Giddins observes, there were many Billie Holidays, depending on a listener's mood, when the recordings were made, who was backing the vocalist, and so forth, and they're all here. The songs are in chronological sequence, beginning with a wistful mid-tempo ballad, "I Wished On the Moon," from a July 1935 session with Holiday as a featured vocalist in a band led by Teddy Wilson and including among its members Benny Goodman, Ben Webster, and Cozy Cole. By October of that year, she was giving a supremely confident -- and coy -- reading of an early Johnny Mercer billet doux, "If You Were Mine." A year later, again fronting a Teddy Wilson-led aggregate (featuring Jonah Jones on trumpet and Johnny Hodges on alto sax), she's delivering some swaggering attitude in an engaging take on "These Foolish Things." A smoky version of the Gershwins' "Summertime"; her self-penned, gently swinging "Billie's Blues" (in which she references Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Matchbox Blues," which had been recorded only nine years earlier); a saucy, delightful treatment of an early Dorothy Fields-Jerome Kern gem that became a standard, "A Fine Romance"; and a languid, swaying version of "Pennies from Heaven" -- by the time the first disc ends, Holiday is in full bloom as an artist, bringing deep emotional commitment to her performances and a keen sense of drama and nuance. For most of Discs 2, 3, and 4, she's fronting her own orchestra, which she populated with giants on the order of Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Freddie Green, James Sherman, Jo Jones, Harry Edison, Walter Page, et al., and rarely makes a misstep. She digs deep into what has become the Great American Songbook, assaying material by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh, Irving Berlin, Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and even puts her mark on W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" and "Loveless Love" (both featured on Disc 4). Of course, there are Holiday monuments aplenty, such as "Night and Day," "You Go to My Head," "He's Funny That Way," "God Bless the Child," "I Cover the Waterfront," and the earthiest, most definitive rendition of "All of Me," recorded in 1941 with Lester Young and still unsurpassed among many exemplary recordings of this evergreen. Holiday was still making great music through the '40s, so this set serves as a clear, gripping snapshot of an artist coming of age rather than a definitive overview. In the end, though, it's simply extraordinary music, by Lady Day and all her estimable musician friends, still relevant to the human condition, still beckoning to anyone who is moved by the sound of a very human heart fully and unabashedly exposed.
All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Billie Holiday's story is so huge, her artistry so vast, and her impact so incalculable, that even attempting to corral a representative sampling of it within a single collection of recordings is an overwhelming, perhaps foolhardy task. Many have tried, of course, and literally hundreds of options of varying quality and legitimacy, scattered across dozens of labels, are available to the consumer. Neophytes, or those not willing to commit to a gargantuan listening session, can settle for any number of single- or double-CD best-ofs that adequately present Holiday's most important, better-known music. Columbia/Legacy's single-disc God Bless the Child: The Very Best of Billie Holiday and the same label's two-disc 2001 Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday are ideal for that purpose, the crème de la Billie, devoid of anything not directly tied to her legend. Meanwhile, the devotee, the collector, and the completist can take ownership of massive pieces of the catalog in box sets that might be lavish and smartly curated or shoddy and unworthy. Among the more essential boxed collections of an American artist's work is Legacy's 2001 ten-CD Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933-1944, whose title speaks for itself: everything the singer recorded for the label during those formative years -- her greatest -- is offered in one place, with no value judgment being made as to what's worthy of inclusion and what isn't. Lady Day: The Master Takes and Singles pares that same body of material down to four CDs that go beyond the two-disc set yet don't attempt to make a definitive statement. That earlier mega-box was broken down into six discs of master takes and four of alternate takes and other ephemera. Here the masters are again whittled down, to a total of 80, making for a more manageable and, honestly, more listenable set. These are the songs that made Billie Holiday Billie Holiday, arranged chronologically and sensibly, with an eye not toward the scholar but toward the fan. Like the larger box, one can follow the trajectory of Holiday's ascent here, but it's not as easy to get lost or even bored. Needless to say, the Columbia/Legacy sets only cover Holiday's output for that label and its subsidiaries, and those in pursuit of the larger picture will have to locate the later recordings she made for Commodore, Decca, and Verve elsewhere, although that should not be difficult.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/25/2007
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 886971095524
  • Catalog Number: 710955
  • Sales rank: 117,746

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 I Wished on the Moon (3:04)
  2. 2 What a Little Moonlight Can Do (2:58)
  3. 3 Miss Brown to You (3:01)
  4. 4 If You Were Mine (3:12)
  5. 5 These 'N' That 'N' Those (3:14)
  6. 6 You Let Me Down (2:55)
  7. 7 Spreadin' Rhythm Around (2:56)
  8. 8 Life Begins When You're in Love (3:05)
  9. 9 It's Like Reaching for the Moon (3:23)
  10. 10 These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) (3:20)
  11. 11 I Cried for You (3:13)
  12. 12 Did I Remember? (2:52)
  13. 13 No Regrets (2:38)
  14. 14 Summertime (2:56)
  15. 15 Billie's Blues (2:40)
  16. 16 A Fine Romance (2:54)
  17. 17 One, Two, Button Your Shoe (2:51)
  18. 18 Easy to Love (3:13)
  19. 19 The Way You Look Tonight (3:02)
  20. 20 Pennies from Heaven (3:15)
Disc 2
  1. 1 That's Life I Guess (3:11)
  2. 2 I Can't Give You Anything But Love (3:29)
  3. 3 I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (2:58)
  4. 4 He Ain't Got Rhythm (2:52)
  5. 5 This Year's Kisses (3:10)
  6. 6 Why Was I Born? (2:52)
  7. 7 I Must Have That Man (2:57)
  8. 8 The Mood That I'm In (3:02)
  9. 9 You Showed Me the Way (3:00)
  10. 10 My Last Affair (3:10)
  11. 11 Moanin' Low (3:05)
  12. 12 Where Is the Sun? (2:48)
  13. 13 Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (2:39)
  14. 14 They Can't Take That Away from Me (3:04)
  15. 15 Don't Know If I'm Comin' or Goin' (2:48)
  16. 16 I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You) (3:10)
  17. 17 Mean to Me (3:08)
  18. 18 Foolin' Myself (3:02)
  19. 19 Easy Living (3:05)
  20. 20 I'll Never Be the Same (3:01)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Me, Myself and I (2:38)
  2. 2 A Sailboat in the Moonlight (2:51)
  3. 3 Without Your Love (2:53)
  4. 4 Trav'lin' All Alone (2:15)
  5. 5 He's Funny That Way (2:41)
  6. 6 Nice Work If You Can Get It (3:10)
  7. 7 Things Are Looking Up (3:22)
  8. 8 My Man (3:03)
  9. 9 Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (3:17)
  10. 10 When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You) (2:52)
  11. 11 On the Sentimental Side (3:05)
  12. 12 When a Woman Loves a Man (2:26)
  13. 13 You Go to My Head (2:55)
  14. 14 I'm Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away the Key) (2:08)
  15. 15 The Very Thought of You (2:47)
  16. 16 I Can't Get Started (2:49)
  17. 17 More Than You Knoe (3:08)
  18. 18 Sugar (2:47)
  19. 19 Long Gone Blues (3:07)
  20. 20 Some Other Spring (3:00)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Them There Eyes (2:51)
  2. 2 Swing! Brother, Swing! (2:57)
  3. 3 Night and Day (3:00)
  4. 4 The Man I Love (3:07)
  5. 5 Body and Soul (2:59)
  6. 6 Falling in Love Again (2:52)
  7. 7 Laughing at Life (2:57)
  8. 8 Time on My Hands (You in My Arms) (3:07)
  9. 9 St. Louis Blues - Benny Carter & His All Star Orchestra (2:55)
  10. 10 Loveless Love - Benny Carter & His All Star Orchestra (3:17)
  11. 11 Let's Do It - Eddie Heywood & His All Star Orchestra (2:57)
  12. 12 Georgia on My Mind - Eddie Heywood & His All Star Orchestra (3:20)
  13. 13 All of Me - Eddie Heywood & His All Star Orchestra (3:04)
  14. 14 God Bless the Child (2:57)
  15. 15 Am I Blue? (2:53)
  16. 16 I Cover the Waterfront (2:58)
  17. 17 Love Me or Leave Me (3:22)
  18. 18 Gloomy Sunday (3:13)
  19. 19 It's a Sin to Tell a Lie (3:04)
  20. 20 Until the Real Thing Comes Along (3:08)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Billie Holiday Primary Artist
Henry "Red" Allen Trumpet
Buster Bailey Clarinet
Bunny Berigan Trumpet
Chu Berry Tenor Saxophone
Buck Clayton Trumpet
Harry "Sweets" Edison Trumpet
Roy Eldridge Trumpet
Benny Goodman Clarinet
Freddie Green Guitar
Johnny Hodges Alto Saxophone
Jo Jones Drums
Jonah Jones Trumpet
John Kirby Bass
Gene Krupa Drums
Artie Shaw Clarinet
Tab Smith Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Claude Thornhill Piano
Ben Webster Tenor Saxophone
Charlie Shavers Trumpet
Lester Young Tenor Saxophone
Dave Barbour Guitar
Eddie Barefield Alto Saxophone
Joe Bushkin Piano
Cozy Cole Drums, Spoken Word
Irving Fazola Clarinet
Babe Russin Tenor Saxophone
Edgar Sampson Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Grachan Moncur III Bass
Ken Kersey Piano
Walter Page Bass
Bernard Addison Guitar
Artie Bernstein Bass
Emmett Berry Trumpet
Bill Bowen Alto Saxophone
Harry Carney Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone
Kenny Clarke Drums
Shad Collins Trumpet
Eddie Dougherty Drums
Gene Fields Guitar
Carl Frye Alto Saxophone
Gordon Griffin Trumpet
Jimmy Hamilton Clarinet
Clyde Hart Piano
J.C. Heard Drums
Milt Hinton Bass
Billy Kyle Piano
Ulysses Livingston Guitar
Lawrence Lucie Guitar
Tom Mace Clarinet
Carmen Mastren Guitar
Teddy McRae Tenor Saxophone
Wilson Myers Bass
Hot Lips Page Trumpet
Yank Porter Drums
Rudy Powell Clarinet
Irving "Mouse" Randolph Trumpet
Allan Reuss Guitar
Hymie Schertzer Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Cecil Scott Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Kermit Scott Tenor Saxophone
Alphonse Steele Drums
Ted Sturgis Bass
Eddie Tompkins Trumpet
John Trueheart Guitar
Jack Washington Alto Saxophone
Sonny White Piano
John Williams [double bass] Bass
Dick McDonough Guitar
Richard Clarke Trumpet
Leslie Johnakins Alto Saxophone
Jimmy McLin Guitar
Stanley Payne Tenor Saxophone
Hal West Drums
Jack Sullivan Alto Saxophone
Benny Morton's All Stars Trombone
John Collins Guitar
Chief Justice Earl Warren Alto Saxophone
James Sherman Piano
Margaret Johnson Piano
Technical Credits
W.C. Handy Composer
Steven Berkowitz Executive Producer
Gary Giddins Liner Notes
Michael Brooks Liner Notes, Reissue Producer
A. Sherman Composer
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