1948 sessions

(A) STUDIO SESSIONS

Session #59 New York 10/December/1948 Bobby Tucker and his trio (CD: Complete Decca vol.2, tk 4, 5, 6 & 8)
Bobby Tucker (p) Mundell Lowe (g) John Levy (b) Denzil Best (d) The Stardusters, a vocal group of six voices, including Johnny ‘Eager’ Parker, Billie Holiday (v)

After almost two years, Lady Day is back to a Decca recording studio. Milt Gabler is still the producer.

(MT 196) Weep No More – sincerely, the choir arrangement is a disaster!

(MT 197) Girls Were Made To Take Care Of Boys – same again!

The Stardusters’ are gone and Billie has now a classic jazz trio, that allows her two nice intimate recordings in the series.

(MT 198) I Loves You Porgy * this Gershwin’s song does not rank among my favorites, but Billie does it nicely.

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

(MT 199) My Man ** a second reading of this Lady’s classic, there will be a third later (see MT #234). She is doing fine, in the first chorus only with the piano and then even better with the rhythm section.
(MT 199a) My Man (alternate take)

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


(B) LIVE SESSIONS

48-03-27_carnegie_hall@On Saturday, March 27, 1948 Billie performed two concerts at Carnegie Hall backed by Bobby Tucker and trio. Unfortunately, sessions were not recorded and we only have some pictures. Note that in the intermission she changed the black dress by a light blue one and sang 30 numbers each presentation. Among them, classics like I Cover The Waterfront, Don’t Explain, All Of Me and Fine And Mellow.

Maybe, in the future, someone will find the lost tapes…


Live session #24 [radio broadcast] New York 7/July/1948  Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra (CD: box Perfect Complete Collection vol.2)
Ben Kynard (cl) Bobby Tucker (p) Charles Mingus (b) Earl Walker (d) Billie Holiday (v) plus full band at the end

Majestic Theater, Radio Broadcast

(LR 47) I Cover The Waterfront  *1/2

Original LP Weka JSD 12-1 Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra 1948 (Switzerland 1980). Sound not available.


Live Session #25 Babs Gonzales Party ca. 1949

There is a controversy about the two following tracks. If they were also recorded in the next session or at Babs Gonzales Party, as mentioned in the vinyl.

(LR 54) That Old Devil Called Love
(LR 55)  I’ll Be Seeing You

Original vinyl One For The Lady 7″ EP 45rpm Expubidence EXP-010 (US 1949). Click here to listen. And here.

  


Live Session #26 [radio broadcast] Shrine Auditorium Concert, Los Angeles, CA December 14th – 31st/1948, Billie Holiday Trio and Red Norvo Orchestra (CD: Banned From New York City – Live 1948-1957 vol.1)
Billie Holiday Trio: Bobby Tucker (p) John levy (b) Phil Haver (d) BH (v)
Red Norvo All Stars: Red Norvo (vb) Neal Hefty (tp) Herbie Harper (tb) Herbie Steward (ts)(cl) Jimmy Rowles (p) Iggy Shevak (b) Blinkie Garner (d) Billie Holiday (v) Gene Norman (annoucements)

Billie opens in December 14th a two-week engagement at Billy Berg’s Club in Hollywood (see note about Billy Berg at Live Session #8). This session was recorded at some points during the engagement and the tracks went on air in different dates in 1949 during Gene Norman’s Just Jazz radio show.

According to the CD booklet, sessions were held with three band compositions: Billie and her Trio, Red Norvo All Stars (seven tracks are included in the CD, but will not be presented here) and Billie with her Trio + the All Stars. The actual sequence is quite controversial, so I decided presenting the songs following the CD presentation.

Billie Holiday Trio: Bobby Tucker (p) John levy (b) Phil Haver (d) BH (v)

(LR 48) Good Morning Heartache *
(LR 49) Lover Man *
(LR 50) You’re Driving Me Crazy
(LR 51) Maybe You’ll Be There *** Billie’s voice sounds weak but pure emotion, making this track one of my favorites. Bobby Tucker does a brief intro and backs this beautiful composition by Rube Bloom & Sammy Gallop. Listen: “each time I see a crowd of people/ just like a fool I stop and stare/ it’s really not the proper thing to do/ but maybe you’ll be there”. A gem.
(LR 52) I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone ** Tucker does a short intro and follows backing Lady in this nice song with a slow tempo.
Only (p)
(LR 53)  Strange Fruit

Billie Holiday Trio plus Red Norvo All Stars (transcribing a note in the CD: “Reviews indicate that both Norvo’s Band and BH’s Trio were on stage; it is possible that Norvo’s rhythm section is heard on some of the titles”)

(LR 54) My Man *
(LR 55) Miss Brown To You *
(LR 56) Them There Eyes
(LR 57) No More
(LR 58) Billie’s Blues (I Love My Man)

Original vinyl records:

Tracks 48, 49, 50, 51, 55 & 57 = LP Swing House SWH 27 Miss Brown To You (UK, 1982). Sound not available.

Tracks 52, 56 & 58 = LP Giants of Jazz GOJ 1001A I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone (US, 1975). Sound not available.

 

Track 54 = LP ESP-3002 A The Lady Lives (US, 1972). Sound not available.

 

 

 

 

 


A second opinion: my reader Mr. Lowery sent his opinion about this session, that I transcribe below:

I know you’ve found info about the Gene Norman broadcasts, but what you have here is incorrect. There IS an order to the songs, they ARE available and have been for decades, and they were not recorded on the same date as some have suggested nor all broadcast in June of 1949. I know this for a fact because I have one of the full sets with Gene’s intro and extro, as well as having interviewed Gene myself years ago. He said that those were special sets that Lady did for the broadcasts, and that he did so every Wednesday. He also said that while he MAY have reused them later in 1949, he would never have held them back because the broadcasts of these portions were always live.

These sets were all released on V-Discs, all of which I have on digital from a collector friend who has what appear to be the original transcription records – they are all handwritten. Three of them appeared on a Giants of Jazz LP, “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone) in 1975. It is this LP that made the claim of the set being broadcast in June of 1949.

Based on Gene’s info, this is the closest I have ever gotten to an exact list:

Disc One (December 29, 1948):
Announcement from Gene
I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone
Them There Eyes
Announcement from Gene, followed by a commercial
Billie’s Blues
Announcement from Gene

Disc Two (Not dated but presumed to be from January 12, 1949):
My Man
Miss Brown to You
No More

Disc Three (Not dated but presumed to be from January 19, 1949):
That Old Devil Called Love *
I’ll Be Seeing You *
Strange Fruit (I don’t have this song because side two of the disc is/was badly damaged)
* = (same take as the one people claim is from a Babs Gonzalez party)

Disc Four (January 26, 1949):
Good Morning Heartache
You’re Driving Me Crazy
Maybe You’ll Be There
Lover Man

With a good ear, one can easily discern the timber of Lady’s voice, and the sound of applause. It changed from evening to evening. One can also listen to the piano playing and know it is Bobby Tucker on each of those sides.”


Gene Norman owned and operated the legendary Hollywood jazz club known as the Crescendo during the 1940’s. As a rising DJ on radio KFWB during that same period, he was considered the most popular and knowledge radio man of the time and regularly associated with the biggest names in the history of jazz. He was also the founder of GNP Crescendo recording label.


 


© 2013-2017 www.billieholidaysongs.com  – February 2018

7 thoughts on “1948 sessions

  1. It’s a huge shame that “Weep No More” has an unlistenable arrangement because I think Billie might have done something interesting with the song, and it is much more defiant than masochistic stuff like Don’t Explain and My Man. On the other hand, Girls Were Made To Take Care Of Boys must be the worst composition or recording in her canon and I’d like to think that in happier times she’d have refused to record it.

  2. I know you’ve found info about the Gene Norman broadcasts, but what you have here is incorrect. There IS an order to the songs, they ARE available and have been for decades, and they were not recorded on the same date as some have suggested nor all broadcast in June of 1949. I know this for a fact because I have one of the full sets with Gene’s intro and extro, as well as having interviewed Gene myself years ago. He said that those were special sets that Lady did for the broadcasts, and that he did so every Wednesday. He also said that while he MAY have reused them later in 1949, he would never have held them back because the broadcasts of these portions were always live.

    These sets were all released on V-Discs, all of which I have on digital from a collector friend who has what appear to be the original transcription records – they are all handwritten. Three of them appeared on a Giants of Jazz LP, “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone) in 1975. It is this LP that made the claim of the set being broadcast in June of 1949.

    Based on Gene’s info, this is the closest I have ever gotten to an exact list:

    Disc One (December 29, 1948):
    Announcement from Gene
    I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone
    Them There Eyes
    Announcement from Gene, followed by a commercial
    Billie’s Blues
    Announcement from Gene

    Disc Two (Not dated but presumed to be from January 12, 1949):
    My Man
    Miss Brown to You
    No More

    Disc Three (Not dated but presumed to be from January 19, 1949):
    That Old Devil Called Love *
    I’ll Be Seeing You *
    Strange Fruit (I don’t have this song because side two of the disc is/was badly damaged)
    * = (same take as the one people claim is from a Babs Gonzalez party)

    Disc Four (January 26, 1949):
    Good Morning Heartache
    You’re Driving Me Crazy
    Maybe You’ll Be There
    Lover Man

    With a good ear, one can easily discern the timber of Lady’s voice, and the sound of applause. It changed from evening to evening. One can also listen to the piano playing and know it is Bobby Tucker on each of those sides.

    • Tom, I decided to follow your suggestion. I have already made the changes in the site. The only doubt that I really have are related to the two Babs Gonzales tracks, that sound completely different from the rest.

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