Billie Holiday

Jazz After Dark: Great Songs, Vol. 2

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Including such Holiday classics as "He's Funny That Way," "Fine And Mellow" and "Willow Weep For Me," this compilation of live and studio tracks merits an attentive listen. Like Volume One of this series, there are favorites from the Holiday songbook as well as gems which may not be as well known--tunes like "Getting Some Fun Out Of Life" and "Please Keep Me In Your Arms." Many of these recordings sound like they were culled from late in Lady Day's career, her voice made deeper and darker by the well-publicized difficulties of her life, though there are earlier sides provided for contrast.

The less-than-pristine sound quality and the lack of discographical information and personnel listing may frustrate some. Nevertheless, Holiday's silky, soul-stirring delivery on "I'll Get By" and "Travelin' All Alone," just to name a couple, is enough to compensate for the shortcomings of GREAT SONGS VOL. 2, making it a fine collection of wonderful tunes and performances.

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