Billie Holiday

Now Or Never

This 1950 reunion of Lady with Count Basie is a great piece, showing off the iconoclasm of both artists. They’d done a lot of road work together over a decade earlier in 1937 with Billie fronting the band, to great acclaim. But sadly, almost no recordings exist from that era.

This live version of “Now Or Never”, filmed in Hollywood August 19, 1950 is an excerpt from a 15 minute Universal Roadshow short film that also includes Billie Holiday with Count Basie Sextet performing “God Bless the Child” (not shown). The film was directed by Will Cowan and produced and released by Universal-International Pictures. Clark Terry (trumpet) Buddy DeFranco (clarinet) Wardell Gray (tenor sax) Count Basie (piano) Freddie Green (guitar) Jimmy Lewis (bass) Gus Johnson (drums) and Billie Holiday (vocal).

Written by singer Billie Holiday, and composer Curtis Reginald Lewis. The original Decca Studio Session (#63, New York, September 30, 1949), features Sy Oliver and His Orchestra, with Bernie Privin (trumpet), Sid Cooper, Johnny Mince (alto saxophone), Artie Drellinger, Pat Nizza (tenor saxophone), Billy Kyle (piano), Everett Barksdale (guitar), Joe Benjamin (bass), Jimmy Crawford (drums), and Billie Holiday (vocal).

– Wikipedia
Poster & photo courtesy of Separate Cinema Archive®

Billie_Holiday_Triple_1951

Billie_Holiday_Basie_810_1951

Billie Holiday, Now Or Never, Sy Oliver, Curtis Lewis, Decca 24947

Spotify_IconListen to Now Baby Or Never on Spotify

Lyrics:

Hey fat daddy make up your mind
‘Cause I’ve been waiting such a long, long time
Now baby or never ’cause I been so good to you
Now baby or never ’cause I’ve been so lonesome, too
Now baby or never if I mean anything to you
Now baby or never ’cause you wasted so much time
Now baby or never ’cause you can’t make up your mind
Now baby or never and it ain’t no fault of mine
It’s got to be yes or no
It’s either you stay or go
You can’t leave me on the shelf
You gotta commit yourself
It’s either you will baby or won’t fall
In love with me

Gonna call you once more on the telephone
I’ll give you till twelve then I’ll be gone

I waited last night for you to call
You give me no consideration at all
It’s now baby or never ’cause you wasted so much time
Now baby or never and you must make up your mind
Now baby or never and it ain’t no fault of mine
It’s got to be yes or no
It’s either you stay or go
You can’t leave me on the shelf
You gotta commit yourself
It’s either you will baby or won’t
You do baby or don’t
Either you will baby or won’t fall in love with me