Billie Holiday

Lady Sings the Blues

This was Holiday’s last album released on Clef Records, for the following year, it would be absorbed into Verve Records. Lady Sings the Blues was taken from sessions taped during 1954 and 1956. It was also released in conjunction with her ghostwritten autobiography of the same name.

Billie Holiday is in top form and backed by the sympathetic likes of tenor saxophonists Budd Johnson and Paul Quinichette, trumpeter Charlie Shavers, pianist Wynton Kelly, and guitarist Billy Bauer. And while these autumnal sides bear some of the frayed vocal moments often heard on Holiday’s ’50s Verve sides, the majority here still ranks with her best material. This is especially true of the cuts from a June 1956 date, which produced unparalleled versions of “No Good Man,” “Some Other Spring,” and “Lady Sings the Blues.” In a 1956 review, Down Beat praised the album giving it 5 out of 5 stars, and also mentions the autobiography saying:

“Lady Sings The Blues is Billie Holiday’s autobiography. And she tries to get the reader on her side of the mirror so don’t expect a three-dimensional view of the subject. The book was written with William Dufty, assistant to the editor of the New York Post… Seldom in the book does she talk about her singing…”

–AllMusic