Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Culled from the Columbia Records reissue packages, variously released under the multivolume Quintessential Billie Holiday umbrella, this package goes straight for the love songs, the heart of Holiday. Ranging from such pla... more »
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Culled from the Columbia Records reissue packages, variously released under the multivolume Quintessential Billie Holiday umbrella, this package goes straight for the love songs, the heart of Holiday. Ranging from such playful lyrics as "Let's Do It" and "Them There Eyes" to such essential Holiday as "You Go to My Head," "The Very Thought of You," and "Easy Living," this set is guaranteed to keep the home fires burning brightly. Lay this one on your lover next Valentine's Day. As was so frequently the case with Holiday, the ensemble support is impeccable, including many of the swingers from Columbia's Greatest Hits package. The bonus here is Count Basie on piano, leading his swinging big band on "They Can't Take That Away from Me." --Willard Jenkins
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Excellent Billie Holiday primer w/best sound possible
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This compilation collects the very love songs from what is probably Billie's best records, the early Columbia (Brunswick/Vocalion) records. Those records do not equal her later records in terms of recording quality nor does it match the nuanced phrasing of her Verve records. What they have going is a young and fresh sounding Billie fronting unbeatable arrangements and performances. They also have some great upbeat material that would become increasingly absent towards the end of Billie's recording career, showing just how much she could do (as her voice faded, she became less capable of handling such material convincingly). All the Columbia material was collected on the 9 volume "Quintessential" set, but unfortunately, while half of the stuff is pure gold, there's also a lot of dreck. Furthermore, all 9 volumes have poor, compressed sound, and some great stuff comes off limp and lifeless. "Love Songs" rectifies this, and it's just amazing how much better everything is once it's been put through Sony's 20-bit fairy dust. Now if they would only go back and re-do it all in a tightly packaged 6 CD set..."
Essential songs. Essential Singer.
Campbell Roark | from under the floorboards and through the woods.. | 02/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What can one say here, that hasn't already been said of Billie Holiday... I come not to praise but simply to say, "Pick this up!" 11 bux (unless you get it used) for a fat-load, a veritable goldmine, of great tunes sung by one of the last century's most soulful and velvetine singers, each with incredibly superb backing (the players include Count Basie((!!!)), Gene Krupa, Lester Young, Al Casey and Freddie Green, among other badass greats of the time).
Each note of these songs is art. Language shudders under the weight of describing how wonderful this music is. The songs always end making you wish teh band had just played on... And the thematic unity is never cumbersome- yes they're all love songs, but what are looking for? Protest music?
Also Recommended- if you get this plus the Sony comp "Blue Billie," (I love that collection, cheap copies abound, and it's not really soooo bluesy- just more meditative and pensive songs and many of the songs have the term "blue" in the title, but most swing!). Get those two and you got 31 great tracks of swingin', depression-era Billie. Only one overlap track- "Night and Day." Both CDs are remastered lovely and nice, the sound is clear, warm, sumptuous.
Or pick up Lady in Autumn (another fave of mine), for more voluptuous recordings, later in her life.
Honestly though, you can't go wrong with Billie.
Billie Sings Like No Woman Can
Peter | East of Los Angeles | 12/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sony-Columbia once again comes up aces in their great job remastering and choosing the songs on this collection. Billie not only sounds wonderful, the sound quality itself is excellent. Majority of the hisses have been taken out. Holiday recorded these songs at a time when she was still fresh and upbeat, and this is reflected in her singing (or her drug habit hadn't fully kicked in yet). The song selection is hard to fault, most of them waxing romantic optimism. Even on the torchier numbers, the mood is still wistful as opposed to downright depressing as she would sound later in her career. One only wishes Sony had included more numbers on this set. Maybe there'll be a Love Songs Volume 2 next time?"