Billie Holiday

The Essential Billie Holiday [Metro]

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Metro's 2003 compilation The Essential Billie Holiday does not sample from every era or label in Lady Day's career. There is nothing from her '30s work for Columbia, or her '50s comeback for the label, Lady in Satin. Instead, this is a good sampler of her recordings in the '40s, beginning with "Lover Man" and "Billie's Blues" and ending with "Strange Fruit." Other compilations offer greater in-depth looks at the labels featured here, while there are other sets that take the whole of her career into consideration, but as a budget-priced portrait of her '40s sides, this can't be beat.

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