Billie Holiday

Broadcast Performances, Vol. 1

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The recordings found here are all from 1949-1952. They represent six different broadcasts: one each from the Eddie Condon Show, the Art Ford Show, Storyville, and Armed Forces radio (is that irony or what?), and two from concerts in '51 and '52 from the Apollo Theater. There are 12 tracks of varying sound and performance quality, with no other performance credits. The bottom line is, these were not Billie Holiday's greatest years, but they were far from her worst. And they somehow, given that she was performing on the radio in front of an audience that was considerably larger than any she had encountered from a stage, brought out the best in her. The performances here of "I Cover The Waterfront," "My Man," "Billie's Blues," "You're My Thrill," and "All of Me" are, despite their mechanical flaws, moving and inspiring. The take of "Tenderly," which closes the disc, is among her greatest performance of the tune, and the interrupted takes (there are two) of "My Man," might have been -- if it were not cut off in the middle -- her finest. This is for Holiday fanatics only because of its dodgy construction job, but the music here has plenty of merit regardless.

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