Billie Holiday | Lady Sings The Blues (Live @ Carnegie Hall) Verve Records 1956

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"Lady Sings the Blues" is a song written by jazz singer Billie Holiday, and jazz pianist Herbie Nichols. It is the title song to her 1956 album, released on Clef/Verve Records (MGC 721/Verve MV 2047).T he song was also chosen to be the title of the 1956 autobiography by Holiday and author William Dufty, and the 1972 movie starring Diana Ross as Holiday.

On November 10, 1956, Holiday performed two concerts before packed audiences at Carnegie Hall for the album entitled 'The Essential Billie Holiday: Carnegie Hall Concert Recorded Live'. This was a major accomplishment for any artist, especially a black artist of the segregated period of American history.

Billie's accompanied by Band under the direction of Chico Hamilton, Al Cohn (tenor sax), Buck Clayton (trumpet), Tony Scott (clarinet), Carl Drinkard (piano), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Carson Smith (bass) and Chico Hamilton (drums). Recorded live November 10, 1956, New York. (Verve Records)

The liner notes on this album were written partly by Gilbert Millstein of The New York Times, who, according to these notes, served as narrator in the Carnegie Hall concerts. Interspersed among Holiday's songs, Millstein read aloud four lengthy passages from her autobiography Lady Sings The Blues. He later wrote:

The narration began with the ironic account of her birth in Baltimore -- 'Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three' -- and ended, very nearly shyly, with her hope for love and a long life with 'my man' at her side.

Millstein continued:

It was evident, even then, that Miss Holiday was ill. I had known her casually over the years and I was shocked at her physical weakness. Her rehearsal had been desultory; her voice sounded tinny and trailed off; her body sagged tiredly. But I will not forget the metamorphosis that night. The lights went down, the musicians began to play and the narration began. Miss Holiday stepped from between the curtains, into the white spotlight awaiting her, wearing a white evening gown and white gardenias in her black hair. She was erect and beautiful; poised and smiling. And when the first section of narration was ended, she sang -- with strength undiminished -- with all of the art that was hers. I was very much moved. In the darkness, my face burned and my eyes. I recall only one thing. I smiled."

Lady sings the blues
She's got 'em bad
She feels so sad
Wants the world to know
Just what her blues is all about

Lady sings the blues
She tells her side
nothing to hide
Now the world will know
Just what her blues is all about

The blues ain't nothing but a pain in your heart
when you get a bad start
You and your man have to part
I ain't gonna just sit around and cry
And I know I won't die
Because I love him

Lady sings the blues
She's got 'em bad
She feels so sad
But now the world will know
She's never gonna sing them no more

No more

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