2LegendsClash II #1
(Billie Holiday – Things Are Looking Up)
So, the end of another year and on reflection what a year it has turned out to be, (at least for me). This time last year themusicologist was on, (what turned out to be), our final family holiday. Today a year later ‘farce has become history’.. doubt that Baudrillard was thinking in terms of a major relationship disintegrating into nothing when he penned that fragment but nevertheless it springs to mind. No point pretending that at times the pain wasn’t almost unbearable but as I sit here today, (alone), at the start of a new decade I can’t help but look back and say I am glad to be alive. Been a steep old learning curve, (that’s for sure), and although it’s been a white knuckle ride I wouldn’t have it any other way and after all… “Endings are beginnings of beautiful things”
Certainly didn’t want such a deep and profound journey to end the way it has but as I have already mentioned…for me it’s not what happens to us along the way it’s how we respond and I do believe that “every time it rains, it rains…pennies from heaven”.
Which brings me to the first theme of 2010 featuring two of the greatest vocalists to grace the 20th Century..neither should need an introduction but I’m going to drop one anyway.
First up to the microphone stand is perhaps the most influential singer to have ever recorded. A woman whose phrasing changed the face of so called popular music forever..Eleanora Fagan otherwise known as Billie ‘Lady Day’ Holiday who, along with Louis ‘Satchelmouth’ Armstrong, revolutionised the musical landscape. Brother Armstrong rocked the Mic but it was said, and no doubt in my heart it’s true, that when Lady Day first took the stand in a Harlem joint in the early 1930’s penniless and destitute and sung ‘Travelin All Alone’ such was her authenticity that Cats broke down and cried. I first heard Billie, (and that song), sometime in the 70’s, (as a child), and I promise you it shook the ground I stood on and begun a musical love affair that will last forever. It was the early Billie that I first heard and it’s the early Billie, (up to ’45), I connected to. Why Billie? why now?..in two words: Authenticity and Inspiration.
Listening to Billie bare her heart and soul provides me the strength to follow mine in the knowledge that to be in love is reason enough to live. Not, I have subsequently learnt, to be loved, (beautiful though this is), rather…to love. A feeling that doesn’t carry the burden of expectation or demand a return. Love is a language and, (as Erich Fromm so eloquently wrote), an Art and one I intend to do my best to continue learning along with the help of those who inspire me to want to.
So with that in mind hold this first cut from a lady who definitely lived and learnt a thing or two about the art while travelin’.
Recorded in New York, (November 1937), and released on a Brunswick 78. Featuring the combined talents of the majestic Teddy Wilson in complete harmony with luminaries Buck Clayton, Prince Robinson, Vido Musso, Allan Reuss, Walter Page and Cozy Cole.