Songs S

INDEX OF SONGS & LYRICS “S”
Saddest Tale (aka Big City Blues)
Say It Isn’t So 2 versions
Say It with a Kiss
Says My Heart 2 versions
Sentimental and Melancholy
Softly
Solitude 5 versions
Some of These Days
Some Other Spring 2 versions
Somebody’s on My Mind
Sometimes I’m Happy
Sophisticated Lady
Speak Low
Spreadin’ Rhythm Around
St. Louis Blues 2 versions
Stars Fell on Alabama
Stormy Blues
Stormy Weather 2 versions
Strange Fruit 6 versions
Sugar (That Sugar Baby of Mine)
Summertime
Sun Showers
Swing,  Brother,  Swing 2 versions

 

 

207. Saddest Tale (aka Big City Blues)

Duke Ellington

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1935 LR 1 Complete on Columbia v.7 15 2’28”
The saddest tale on land or sea
Was when my man walked out on me
My man has gone
I feels alone
I’ve got those lost my man blues
He didn’t treat me fair
It’s more than I can bear
I’ve got those lost my man blues
I’ve got those lost my man, can’t get him
back again blues

(lyrics gently sent by Diarmuid O’Hanlon)

Notes

This is one of the rare videos from Billie. Here she was acting in the film “Symphony in Black” shoot at Paramount Sudios in Astoria, Queens in 1935. This was her first live recording.

Youtube Logo Billie Holiday & Duke Ellington Orchestra (look at 4’40”)

 


208. Say It Isn’t So (1932)

lyrics and music Irving Berlin

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1955 MT 250 Complete on Verve v.3 12 3’01”

Say it isn’t so
Say it isn’t so
Everyone is saying you don’t love me
Say it isn’t so

Everywhere I go
Everyone I know
Whispers that you’re growing tired of me
Say it isn’t so

People say that you
Found somebody new
And it won’t be long before you leave me
Say it isn’t true

Say that everything is still okay
That’s all I want to know
And what they’re saying
Say it isn’t so

(double tempo)

Say it isn’t so
Say it isn’t so
Everyone is saying you don’t love me
Say it isn’t so

Everywhere I go
Everyone I know
Whispers that you’re growing tired of me
Say it isn’t so

People say that you
Found somebody new
And it won’t be long before you leave me
Say it isn’t true

(single tempo)

Say that everything is still okay
That’s all I want to know
And what they’re saying
Say it isn’t so

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1957 MT 300 Complete on Verve v.9 11 3’16”

Say it isn’t so
Say it isn’t so
Everyone is saying you don’t love me
Say it isn’t so

Everywhere I go
Everyone I know
Whispers that you’re growing tired of me
Say it isn’t so

People say that you
Found somebody new
And it won’t be long before you leave me
Say it isn’t true

Say that everything is still okay
That’s all I want to know
And what they’re saying
Say it isn’t so

Say it isn’t so
Say it isn’t so
Everyone is saying you don’t love me
Say it isn’t so

Everywhere I go
Everyone I know
Whispers that you’re growing tired of me
Say it isn’t so

People say that you
Found somebody new
And it won’t be long before you leave me
Say it isn’t true

Say that everything is still okay
That’s all I want to know
And what they’re saying
Please say it isn’t so

Notes

NC

 


209. Say It With A Kiss (1938)

lyrics by Johnny Mercer

music by Harry Warren

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1938 MT 98 Complete on Columbia v.5 3 2′”

Let me hear you say it
Say it with a kiss
If you mean that look I’ve seen
Say it with a kiss
There is wine and candle shine
And music in your lips
Music in the tops
Of your fingertips

Words may not convey it
Say it with a kiss
And your look might speak a book
That my eyes might miss
You don’t have to know the words
To love’s familiar tune
Say it with a kiss
And say it soon

Notes

NC

 


210. Says My Heart (1938)

lyrics by Frank Loesser

music by Burton Lane

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1938 MT 88 Complete on Columbia v.4 18 2’49”

Fall in love fall in love
Says my heart
It’s romance take a chance
Says my heart

But each time that I’m almost in your arms
This old schoolteacher brain of mine
Keeps bringing in false alarms

Then my head rules instead and I’m wise
To the scheme of that gleam in your eyes
So I kiss and run
But the moment we’re apart
Oh! you fool that was love
Says my heart

(bridge)

Then my head rules instead and I’m wise
To the scheme of that gleam in your eyes
So I kiss and run
But the moment we’re apart
Oh! you fool that was love
Says my heart

It wasn’t the moon it wasn’t the stars
That was love!
Says my heart

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1938 AT 88a Complete on Columbia v.8 18 2’44”

Fall in love fall in love
Says my heart
It’s romance take a chance
Says my heart

But each time that I’m almost in your arms
This old schoolteacher brain of mine
Keeps bringing in false alarms

Then my head rules instead and I’m wise
To the scheme of that gleam in your eyes
So I kiss and run
But the moment we’re apart
Oh! you fool that was love
Says my heart

(bridge)

Then my head rules instead and I’m wise
To the scheme of that gleam in your eyes
So I kiss and run
But the moment we’re apart
Oh! you fool that was love
Says my heart

It wasn’t the moon it wasn’t the stars
That was love!
Says my heart

Notes

NC


211. Sentimental And Melancholy

Music by Richard Whiting

Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1937 MT 47 Complete on Columbia v.2 22 2’37”

Sentimental and melancholy
Whenever I think about you
It’s only a mood
A brief interlude
That’s better described as just feeling blue

I suppose that it’s just my folly
To keep it alive as I do
But it’s a kind of sugar coated misery
And foolish as it seems
I thought I’d like to be

Sentimental and melancholy
Whenever I think about you

Notes

NC

 


212. Softly

Beal & Greene

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1954 MT 246 Complete on Verve v.3 8 2’55”

Softly, baby
Softly, baby
Take me in your arms
Oh, easy, baby
Easy, baby
As I sample your charms
Your lips little daddy
Are the doors to ecstasy
Let’s not get excited
Love spark has ignited

Softly, Baby
Softly, baby
Whisper from you heart
Oh, love me baby
Love me baby
Make me yours from the start
Now I know myself
I’m willing to throw myself
On passion’s path on the fly
Take it easy, baby
Softly, baby
I’ll be yours by and by
Softly, baby

Notes

Many thanks to Jerry Meyer from NY for his very accurate revision in the transcription.


213. (In My) Solitude (1934)

lyrics by Eddie DeLange & Irving Mills

music by Duke Ellington

follows 4 versions of this song

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1941 MT 151 Complete in Columbia v.7 6 3’12”

In my solitude you’ll haunt me
With reveries of days gone by
In my solitude you’ll taunt me
With memories that never die

I sit in my chair
Filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude I’m praying
Dear Lord above
Send back my love

(bridge)

I sit in my chair
Filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude I’m praying
Dear Lord above
Send me back my love

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1941 LR 12 Private Recording 1’55”

Introducing Billie as “our Trouville Star”
(poor sound quality)

In my solitude you haunt me
With reveries of days gone by
In my solitude you taunt me
With memories that never die

I sit in my chair
I’m filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m praying

(recording is cut)

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1947 MT 195 Complete in Decca v.2 3 3’12”

In my solitude you haunt me
With reveries of days gone by
In my solitude you taunt me
With memories that never die

I sit in my chair
I’m filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m praying
Dear Lord above
Send back my love

(Very small bridge)

I sit in my chair
Filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m praying
Dear Lord above
Send me back my love

 

3rd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1947 AT 195a Complete in Decca v.2 2 3’08”

In my solitude you haunt me
With reveries of days gone by
In my solitude you taunt me
With memories that never die

I sit in my chair
I’m filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m praying
Dear Lord above
Send back my love

(Very small bridge)

I sit in my chair
Filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m praying
Dear Lord above
Send me back my love

 

4th version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1952 MT 226 Complete in Verve v.1 25 3’29”

In my solitude you haunt me
With reveries of days gone by
In my solitude you taunt me
With memories that never die

I sit in my chair
Filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m praying
Dear Lord above
Send back my love

I sit in my chair
Filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m praying
Dear Lord above
Send me back my love

 

Notes

NC

 


214. Some Of These Days (1910)

Lyrics and music by Shelton Brooks

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1956 REH Complete on Verve v.6 20

[rehearsal fragment]

Some of these days
You’ll miss me honey
Some of these days
You’ll feel so lonely
You’ll miss my hugging
You’ll miss my kissing
You’ll miss me honey
(…)

Notes

NC


215. Some Other Spring

Irene Kitchings & Arthur Herzog Jr.

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1939 MT 121 Complete in Columbia v.6 1 3’00”

Some other spring
I’ll try to love
Now I still cling
To faded blossoms
Fresh when worn
Left crushed and torn
Like the love affair I mourn

Some other spring
When twilight falls
Will the nights bring
Another to me?

Not your kind
But let me find
It’s not true that love is blind
Sunshine’s around me
But deep in my heart it’s cold as ice
Love once you’ve found me
But can that story unfold twice?

Some other spring
Will my heart awake?
Stirring to sing
Love’s magic music
Then forget the old duet
Can love in some other spring?

(bridge)

Sunshine’s around me
But deep in my heart it’s cold as ice
Love once you’ve found me
But can that story be told twice?

Some other spring
Will my heart awake?
Stirring to sing
Love’s magic music
Then forget the old duet

Can love in some other spring?

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1956 MT 275 Complete on Verve v.7 3 3’36”

Some other spring
I’ll try to love
Now I still cling
To faded blossoms
Fresh when worn
Left crushed and torn
Like the love affair I mourn

Some other spring
When twilight falls
Will the nights bring
Another to me

Not your kind
But let me find
It’s not true
That love is blind

Sunshine’s around me
But deep in my heart it’s cold as ice
Love once you’ve found me
But can that story unfold twice

Some other spring
Will my heart wake
Stirring to sing
Love’s magic music
Then forget the old duet
And love in some other spring

Sunshine’s around me
But deep in my heart it’s cold as ice
Love once you’ve found me
But can that story unfold twice

Some other spring
Will my heart wake
Stirring to sing
Love’s magic music
Then forget the old duet

And love in some other
Spring

 

 

Notes

NC

 


216. Somebody’s On My Mind

Billie Holiday & Arthur Herzog Jr.

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1949 MT 212 Complete on Decca v.2 22 2’55”

Somebody’s on my mind
Like an old sweet song
“The Lasting Time”
Somebody’s on my mind
So I’m walking on clouds
On a silver line

To dream my dream
Could be my mistake
But I’d rather be wrong
And sleep right along
Than wake
Love may be blind
I’ll take my chances
That it cares this affairs
My real romance
That’s why you’ll find
Somebody’s on my mind

(bridge)

To dream my dream
Could be my mistake
But I’d rather be wrong
And sleep right along
Than wake
Love may be blind
I’ll take my chances
That it cares this affairs
My real romance
That’s why you’ll find
Somebody’s on my mind

Notes

NC

 


217. Sometimes I’m Happy (1925)

lyrics by Irving Caesar

music by Vincent Youmans

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1959 MT 325 Complete on Verve v.10 20 2’46”

Sometimes I’m happy
Sometimes I’m blue
My disposition
Depends on you

I never mind
The rain from the skies
If I can find
The sun in your eyes

Sometimes I love you
Sometimes I hate you
But when I hate you
It’s ’cause I love you

That’s how I am
So what can I do
I’m happy when I’m with you

Sometimes I’m happy
Sometimes I’m blue
My disposition
Depends on you

I never mind
The rain from the skies
If I can find
The sun in your eyes

Sometimes I love you
Sometimes I hate you
But when I hate you
It’s ’cause I love you

That’s how I am
So what can I do
I’m happy when I’m with you
I’m happy when I’m with
I’m happy when I’m with
So happy when I’m with
I’m happy when I’m with you
(fade out)

Notes

Some sources mention also Clifford Grey as composer.

 


218. Sophisticated Lady (1933)

Lyrics by Mitchell Parish & Irving Mills
Music by Duke Ellington

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1956 MT 287 Complete on Verve v.7 15 4’49”

They say
Into your early life romance came
And in this heart of yours burned a flame
A flame that flickered one day
And died
Away

Then,
With disillusion deep in your eyes
You learned that fools in love soon grow wise
The years have changed you somehow
I see you now

Smoking, drinking
Never thinking of tomorrow
Nonchalant
Diamonds shining
Dancing, dining
With some man in a restaurant
Is that all you really want?

No,
Sophisticated lady I know
You miss the love you lost long ago
And when nobody is nigh
You cry

(bridge)

Smoking, drinking
Never thinking of tomorrow
Nonchalant
Diamonds shining
Dancing, dining
With some man in a restaurant
Is that all you really want?

No,
Sophisticated lady I know
You miss the love you lost long ago
And when nobody is nigh
You cry
Sophisticated lady
You cry

Notes

One of my favourites songs by BH. Her rendering in this sole recording is superb.

 


219. Speak Low (1943)

Lyrics by Ogden Nash
Music by Kurt Weill

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1956 MT Complete on Verve v.7 12 4’25”

Speak low
When you speak love
Our summer day
Withers away
Too soon, too soon

Speak low
When you speak love
Our moment is swift
Like ships adrift
We’re swept apart
Too soon

Speak low
Darling speak low
Love is a spark
Lost in the dark
Too soon, too soon

I feel
Wherever I go
That tomorrow is near
Tomorrow is here
Always too soon

(rhythm change)

Time is so old
And love so brief
Love is pure gold
And time a thief

(original rhythm)

We’re late
Darling, we’re late
The curtain descends
Everything ends
Too soon, too soon

I wait
Darling, I wait
Will you speak low to me
Speak love to me and soon

(bridge, rhythm change)

Time is so old
And love so brief
Love is pure gold
And time a thief

(original rhythm)

We’re late
Darling, we’re late
The curtain descends
Everything ends
Too soon, too soon

I wait
Darling, I wait
Will you speak low to me
Speak love to me and soon
Speak low

Notes

One Touch of Venus It was introduced by Mary Martin and Kenny Baker in the Broadway musical One Touch of Venus (1943). Weill had been in America for ten years by the time he wrote this musical, and his music, though retaining his early haunting power, had evolved into a very different Broadway style. The 1944 hit single was by Guy Lombardo and his orchestra, with vocal by Billy Leach. The tune is a jazz standard that has been widely recorded, both by vocal artists from Billie Holiday to The Miracles to Dee Dee Bridgewater.

 Youtube Logo Listen to Speak Low (Mary Martin & Kenny Baker)

 


220. Spreadin’ Rhythm Around (1935)

lyrics by Teddy Koehler

music by Jimmy McHugh

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1935 MT 16 Complete on Columbia v.1 16 2’54”
Music everywhere feet are pattin’
Putting tempo in old Manhattan
Everybody is out high hattin’
Spreadin’ rhythm around
Everywhere you go trumpets are blarin’
Drums and saxophones rip and tearin’ Everybody you meet is rarin’
Spreadin’ rhythm around
Up in Harlem in every flat
They give it that zing
Which according to one and all
Is what they call swing
Those who can’t afford silk and satin
Dance with gigolos who are
Latin Come from Yonkers the Bronx and Staten Spreadin’ rhythm around
Notes

NC

 


221. St. Louis Blues (1914)

lyrics and music by W.C. Handy

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1940 MT 141 Complete in Columbia v.6 21 2’51”

I hate to see that evening sun go down
I hate to see that evening sun go down
‘Cause my baby, he’s done, left this town
Feeling tomorrow like I feel today
If I’m feeling tomorrow like I feel today
I’ll pack my trunk make my getaway

St. Louis woman with her diamond rings
Pulls that man around by her apron strings
If it wasn’t for powder and her store-bought hair
That man I love wouldn’t have gone nowhere, nowhere

I got the St. Louis Blues
Blue as I can be
That man’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea
Or else he wouldn’t have gone so far from me

(bridge)

I love my man like a schoolboy loves his pie
Like a Kentucky colonel loves his mint and rye
I’ll love my baby till the day I die

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1940 AT 141a Complete in Columbia v.10 1 2’48”

I hate to see that evening sun go down
I hate to see that evening sun go down
‘Cause my baby, he’s done, left this town
Feeling tomorrow like I feel today
If I’m feeling tomorrow like I feel today
I’ll pack my trunk make my getaway

St. Louis woman with her diamond rings
Pulls that man around by her apron strings
If it wasn’t for powder and her store-bought hair
That man I love wouldn’t have gone nowhere, nowhere

I got the St. Louis Blues
Blue as I can be
That man’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea
Or else he wouldn’t have gone so far from me

(bridge)

I love my man like a schoolboy loves his pie
Like a Kentucky colonel loves his mint and rye
I’ll love my baby till the day I die

 

Notes

Handy said he had been inspired by a chance meeting with a woman on the streets of St. Louis distraught over her husband’s absence, who lamented, “Ma man’s got a heart like a rock cast in de sea”, a key line of the song. (Wikipedia)

 


222. Stars Fell On Alabama (1934)

Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Music by Frank S. Perkins

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1957 MT 299 Complete on Verve v.9 9 4’29”

We lived our little drama
We kissed in a field of white
And stars fell on Alabama
Last night

I can’t forget the glamour
Your eyes held a tender light
And stars fell on Alabama
Last night

I never planned in my imagination
A situation so heavenly
A fairy land where no one else could enter
And in the center
Just you and me, dear

My heart beat like a hammer
My arms wound around you tight
And stars fell on Alabama
Last night

(bridge)

We lived our little drama
We kissed in a field of white
And stars fell on Alabama
Last night

I can’t forget the glamour
Your eyes held a tender light
And stars fell on Alabama
Last night

I never planned in my imagination
A situation so heavenly
A fairy land where no one else could enter
And in the center
Just you and me, dear

My heart beat like a hammer
My arms wound around you tight
And stars fell on Alabama
Last night

Notes

The title appears to have been borrowed from the title of the 1934 book of the same name by Carl Carmer. It refers to a spectacular occurrence of the Leonid meteor shower that had been observed in Alabama in November of 1833, “the night the stars fell”. As reported by the Florence Gazette: “[There were] thousands of luminous bodies shooting across the firmament in every direction. There was little wind and not a trace of clouds, and the meteors succeeded each other in quick succession.”

The Marching Southerners of Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, perform an arrangement of the tune by previous band director John T. Finley at every home football game and exhibition. The song has become the unofficial anthem of both the Southerners and Jacksonville State University. (Wikipedia)

The first time I heard it, I was quite amazed with the song and Billie’s rendering. One of my favourites. I had never listened it before and I searched for other recordings. Among them I also like Anita O’Day and Ella Fitzgerald versions (N/A).

Youtube Logo Linsten to Lady Day…

 


223.Stormy Blues

Billie Holiday

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1954 MT 249 Complete on Verve v.3 11 3’26”

I’ve been down so long
That down don’t worry me
I’ve been down so long
Down don’t worry me
I just sit and wonder
Where can my good man be

When it rains in here
It’s storming on the sea
When it rains in here
It’s storming on the sea
Every time I come here
Everything happens to me

I lose my man
I lose my head
I lose my money
Feel like I’m almost dead
I need you honey
Need you bad as can be
I’ve been down so long
That down don’t worry me

Notes

NC

 


224. Stormy Weather (1933)

Lyrics by Ted Koehler
Music by Harold Arlen

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1952 MT 236 Complete on Verve v.2 11 3’41”

Don’t know why
There’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time

Life is bare
Gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather
Just can’t get my poor self together
I’m weary all the time,
The time
So weary all the time

When he went away
The blues walked in and met me
If he stays away
Old rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray
The Lord above will let me
Walk in the sun once more

Can’t go on
Everything I had is gone
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time
Keeps raining all the time

When he went away
The blues walked in and met me
If he stays away
Old rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray
The Lord above will let me
Walk in the sun once more

Can’t go on
Everything I had is gone
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time
Keeps raining all the time

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1955 LR 144 Perfect Complete Collection v.7 26 3’39”

Don’t know why
There’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time

Life is bare
Gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather
Just can’t get my poor self together
I’m weary all the time ,

When he went away
The blues walked in and met me
If he stays away
Old rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray
The Lord will let me
Walk in the sun once more

Can’t go on
Everything I had is gone
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time,

When he went away
The blues walked in and met me
If he stays away
Old rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray
The Lord above will let me
Walk in the sun once more

Can’t go on
Everything I had is gone
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time,
Keeps raining all the time

(applauses)

Notes

 Ethel Waters first sang it at The Cotton Club night club in Harlem in 1933 and recorded it that year (…) The song tells of disappointment, as the lyrics, “Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky”, show someone pining for her man to return. The weather is a metaphor for the feelings of the singer: “stormy weather since my man and I ain’t together, keeps raining all the time.”

Ethel_Waters_-_1943 Ethel Waters Youtube Logo Listen Miss Waters

 


225. Strange Fruit (1939)

Lewis Allan (Abel Meeropol)

follows 6 versions of this song

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1939 MT 117 Complete Commodore v.1 1 3’10”

 Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1939 AT 117a Complete Commodore v.1 2 3’18”

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

 

3rd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1945 LR 24 Complete on Verve v.1 2 2’56”

(Billie Holiday intro)

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

 

4th version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1945 LR 88 Perfect Complete Collection v.4 20 3’20”

(Billie introduces the song:
“By request, it was written specially for me, it’s title is Strange Fruit)

 

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

(applauses)

 

5th version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1945 MT 277 Complete on Verve vol.7 5 3’01”

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

 

6th version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1959 LR 223 Perfect Complete Collection v.12 14 2’45”

(Billie introduces next song: “and now a little tune written specially for me: Strange Fruit”)

 

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

(applauses)

Notes

Strange Fruit” is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. Written by the teacher Abel Meeropol as a poem, it exposed American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. Such lynchings had occurred chiefly in the South but also in other regions of the United States. Meeropol set it to music and with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York venues, including Madison Square Garden. (wikipedia)

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226. Sugar (That sugar baby o’mine) 1944

lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell & Edna Alexander

music by Maceo Pinkard

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1939 MT 111 Complete on Columbia v.5 16 2’45”

Sugar
I call my baby my sugar
I never maybe my sugar
That sugar baby of mine
He’s special ration
Funny he never asks for my money
All I give him is honey
And that he can spend anytime

I’d make a million trips to his lips
If I were a bee
Because he’s sweeter than chocolate candy to me
He’s confectionary

Sugar I never cheat on my Sugar
‘Cause I’m too sweet on my Sugar
That sugar baby of mine

Notes

NC


227. Summertime (1935)

lyrics by DuBose Heyward

music by George Gerhwin

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1936 MT 24 Complete on Columbia v.1 24 2’53”

Summertime

And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’

And the cotton is high
Oh your daddy’s rich

And your ma is good lookin’
So hush little baby

Don’t you cry

One of these mornings
You’re goin’ to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take the sky
But till that morning
There’s a-nothin’ can harm you
With Daddy and Mammy

Standin’ by

(bridge)

One of these mornings
You’re goin’ to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take the sky
But till that morning
There’s a nothin’ can harm you
With daddy and mammy

Standin’ by

Notes

The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as “without doubt… one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote….Gershwin’s highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of negroes in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century (Wikipedia)

A comment from my reader Derrick: “Historic note, Billie’s version of “Summertime ” from 1936 was the first version ever to be released, it’s estimated that is has been recorded some 33,000 times since“.


228. Sun Showers

Lyrics by Arthur Freed

Music by Nacio Herb Brown

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1937 MT 56 Complete on Columbia v.3 8 3’05”

Sun showers
Never mind the rain
The sun will shine again
Through sun showers

In a little while
They sky above will smile
Like luster that follows your tears

Dark clouds of sorrow
Will soon be a sunny tomorrow

While sun flowers
Raise their happy eyes
Up to the flaming skies
Then sun showers
Leave us as they follow
Rainbows in our hearts
The gray skies soon will be clear
My dear
While sun showers are here

Notes

NC

 


229. Swing, Brother, Swing

L. Raymond & W. Bishop & C. Williams

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1937 LR 3 Complete on Columbia v.8 4 1’49”

Deep rhythm captivates me
Hot rhythm stimulates me
Can’t help but swing it boy
Swing it brothers swing

Don’t stop to diddle daddle
Stop this foolish prattle
Come on swing me Gate
Swing it brothers swing

Raring to go and ain’t nobody
Gonna hold me down
Say listen boy
Hurry up and send me
Let me go to town
Stop this diddle daddle
And this foolish prattle
Come on kill me Jo
Swing it brothers swing

Deep rhythm captivates me
Hot rhythm stimulates me
Can’t help but swing it boy
Swing it brothers swing

Don’t stop to diddle daddle
Stop this foolish prattle
Come on send me Count
Swing it brothers swing

Rarin’ to go and ain’t nobody
Gonna hold me down
Say listen boy
Hurry up and send me
Let me go to town
Stop this diddle daddle
And this foolish prattle
Come on swing me Count
Swing it brothers swing

 

2nd version

rec date type # discography tk rec time
1939 MT 124 Complete on Columbia v.6 4 2’55”

Deep rhythm captivates me
Hot rhythm stimulates me
Can’t help but swing it boy
Swing it brothers swing

Don’t stop to diddle daddle
Stop this foolish prattle
Come on swing me boys
Swing it brothers swing

Raring to go and ain’t nobody
Gonna hold me down
Say listen boy
Hurry up and send me
Let me go to town
Stop this diddle daddle
And this foolish prattle
Come on kill me boy
Swing it brothers swing

(bridge)

Deep rhythm captivates me
Hot rhythm stimulates me
Can’t help but swing it boy
Swing it brothers swing

Don’t stop to diddle daddle
Stop this foolish prattle
Come on kill me boys
Swing it brothers swing

Rarin’ to go and ain’t nobody
Gonna hold me down
Say listen boy
Hurry up and send me
Let me go to town
Stop this diddle daddle
And this foolish prattle
Come on knock me out
Swing it brothers swing

Swing, brother, swing!

 

Notes

On LR #3 Billie mentions Count (Basie) and Jo (Jones) – both were in the band. She also mentions “Gate”. I presume she could be referring to Louis Armstrong who carried this nickname at some point. And he had an strong influence on her.

 

© December 2016 www.billieholidaysongs.com

 

3 thoughts on “Songs S

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