1941 sessions

(A) STUDIO SESSIONS

Session #43 New York, 21/March/1941, Eddie Heywood and his Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.6, tk.23-24; vol.7, tk.1-2 and MT147 in vol.10, tk.10 )
Shad Collins (tp) Leslie Johnakins, Eddie Barefield (as) Lester Young (ts) Eddie Heywood (p) John Collins (g) Ted Sturgis (b) Kenny Clarke (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Three members of Lester Young band take part in this Okeh session, full of wonderful classic songs.

(MT 143) Let’s Do It * a Cole Porter classic. I am a Porter’s fan, but this song does nor rank among my favorites. They could let Lester fill the bridge.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disc. Click here to listen.

(MT 144) Georgia On My Mind – another classic, this one by Hoagy Carmichael. For those of my generation, the rendering of Ray Charles, in the sixties, is unforgettable.
(MT 145) Romance In The Dark
(MT 146) All Of Me *** a song by Seymour Simons & Gerald Marks, one of those unique pearls by a composer. A wonderful song , one of Billie’s greatest recordings. Add the Lester Young’s solo, back in scene, and the three stars are more than deserved. A jazz anthem.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disc. Click here to listen.

(MT 147) All Of Me *** in the same session two more takes, generally considered as AT, were made. As a rule, they shouldn’t be included in this discography. However, take #3, the MT 147, came out with 3’48″, too long for a 78rpm disc at the time. It was issued years later in the LP Columbia C2 34849 The Lester Young Story vol5. That’s why I opened an exception to include it here. In this version, Lester plays two solos, alternating with Eddie Heywood. Delicious.

  • This song became popular in Billie’s live shows; nine other registers of this composition are known.

Session #44 New York, 09/May/1941, Eddie Heywood and his Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.7, tk.3-6)
Roy Eldridge (tp) Jimmy Powell, Lester Boone (as) Ernie Powell (ts) Eddie Heywood (p) Paul Chapman (g) Grachan Moncur (b) Herbert Cowans (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Four songs were recorded in this Okeh session in a very slow tempo.

(MT 148) I’m In A Low-Down Groove
(MT 149) God Bless The Child * this is probably the most famous composition by Billie (music by Arthur Herzog) and one of most recorded by other artists in her honor. There’s a second version recorded in 1950 (s. MT #213) for Decca, but this is a better version.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disc. Click here to listen.

(MT 150) Am I Blue? * nice song by Harry Akst & Grant Clarke; notice the three reeds in the bridge in a nice performance reading the song; this track would be issued later under the Columbia label.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disc. Click here to listen.

(MT 151) Solitude – a recording in a funereal tempo. There’s a second recording, with no better results, in 1952 (MT #226)

The image below is from the original 78rpm disc. Click here to listen.

 


Session #45 New York, 07/August/1941, Teddy Wilson and his Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.7, tk.7-10)
Emmett Berry (tp) Jimmy Hamilton (cl) (ts) Hymie Schertzer (as) Babe Russin (ts) Teddy Wilson (p) Al Casey (g) John Williams (b) JC Heard (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Teddy Wilson is back to the piano in this Okeh session.

(MT 152) Jim
(MT 153) I Cover The Waterfront * issued under the Columbia label, this standard by John Green & Edward Heyman is beautiful, in spite of being in a boring slow tempo. There’s also a second recording for Commodore in 1944 (s.MT #164), but inferior to this one.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disc. Click here to listen.

  • From 1944 on, this song would be frequently played in her show scores. Eight live registers are known.
(MT 154) Love Me Or Leave Me *** an standard by Walter Donaldson, lyrics by Gus Kahn in a delicious tempo. Babe Russin shines in the bridge. Billie sings “this suspense is killin’ me…”, while the original lyrics says “this affair is killin’ me…” Billie will record it again in 1954 (MT #243) and then her voice could be compared to this one.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disc. Click here to listen.

(MT 155) Gloomy Sunday – the funereal tempo prevents me to like this song.

(B) LIVE SESSIONS

Live Session #7 [live recording] New York, 19/June/1941, Floyd ‘Horsecollar’ Williams & Band (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.1)
Floyd Horsecollar Williams (as), unknown (p, b, d), Billie Holiday (voc)

An old music spot, Clark Monroe’s Uptown House got this name in 1936, located at 134th Street and 7th Ave. By that time, Billie was close to Jimmy Monroe, Clark’s brother, and spent some weeks in the house. There, Jerry Newman recorded these songs on an unknown date.

(LR 9) I Cried For You
(LR 10) Fine And Mellow

Original LP Xanadu 112 Harlem Odyssey (US, 1976). No sound available.

© www.billieholidaysongs.com February 2017

5 thoughts on “1941 sessions

  1. Am I Blue is under-rated. Definitely in my Top 10. Listen to how she phrases “Oh he’s gone, he left me” and “lordy”. The weakness in the arrangement is the middle eight, which just drags.

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