Lady Sings the Blues is an album by Billie Holiday. This was Holiday's last album released on Clef Records, for the following year, it would be absorbed into Verve Records. Lady Sings the Blues was taken from sessions taped during 1954 and 1956. It was also released with her ghostwritten autobiography of the same name.
Taken from a couple of sessions taped during 1954-1956, Billie Holiday is in top form and backed by the sympathetic likes of tenor saxophonists Budd Johnson and Paul Quinichette, trumpeter Charlie Shavers, pianist Wynton Kelly, and guitarist Billy Bauer. And while these autumnal sides bear some of the frayed vocal moments often heard on Holiday's '50s Verve sides, the majority here still ranks with her best material. This is especially true of the cuts from a June 1956 date, which produced unparalleled versions of "No Good Man," "Some Other Spring," and "Lady Sings the Blues." In a 1956 review, Down Beat praised the album giving it 5 out of 5 stars, and also mentions the autobiography saying:
"Lady Sings The Blues is Billie Holiday's autobiography. And she tries to get the reader on her side of the mirror so don't expect a three-dimensional view of the subject. The book was written with William Dufty, assistant to the editor of the New York Post (...) Seldom in the book does she talk about her singing (...)"
On Saturday, November 10, 1956, Holiday appeared at concert at Carnegie Hall in front of a sold out crowd. Maybe the best live recording session of her career, accompanied by several of her loyal companions. Billie is perfect, although her voice is failing. The show was planned to commemorate the edition of her autobiographic book, some paragraphs being read during the performance.
- Side 1
- "Lady Sings the Blues" (Billie Holiday, Herbie Nichols) - 3:46
- "Trav'lin' Light" (Trummy Young, Jimmy Mundy, Johnny Mercer) - 3:08
- "I Must Have That Man" (Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh) - 3:04
- "Some Other Spring" (Irene Higgenbotham, Arthur Herzog, Jr.) - 3:36
- "Strange Fruit" (Lewis Allan) - 3:05
- "No Good Man" (Irene Higgenbotham, Sammy Gallop, Dan Fisher) - 3:18
- Side 2
- "God Bless the Child" (Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog, Jr.) - 4:00
- "Good Morning Heartache" (Irene Higgenbotham, Ervin Drake, Dan Fisher) - 3:28
- "Love Me or Leave Me" (Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn) - 2:38
- "Too Marvelous for Words" (Johnny Mercer, Richard Whiting) - 2:16
- "Willow Weep for Me" (Ann Ronnell) - 3:08
- "I Thought About You" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Mercer) - 2:47
- June 6 & 7 1956, Fine Sound Studios, New York City (Tracks 1-8)
- September 3, 1954, Capitol Studios