Billie Holiday – Lady in Satin {Columbia}

Review by Sam Sutherland (

A harrowing classic, Billie Holiday’s personal favorite among her ’50s albums captures the singer 17 months before her death, her once honeyed voice, scarred and weakened from punishing life, its ravages highlighted by the 1958 session’s crisp sonics and the contrasting “satin” of Ray Ellis’ sleek string arrangements. Yet it is that very contrast that explains the power of these performances: In revisiting its torchy standards, Holiday reduces them to their core of pain and longing, transforming “I’m a Fool to Want You,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “You’ve Changed” into naked declarations as mesmerizing and unsettling as a horrific accident. Any postrocker that presumes pop standards and string sections automatically translate to “easy listening” hasn’t listened to this. This 1997 version adds unreleased takes and a beautiful 20-bit digital transfer to extract every shivering pang of Holiday’s music.

01 – I’m a Fool to Want You (Edited Master CS 8048)
02 – For Heaven’s Sake
03 – You Don’t Know What Love Is
04 – I Get Along Without You Very Well
05 – For All We Know
06 – Violets for Your Furs
07 – You’ve Changed
08 – It’s Easy to Remember
09 – But Beautiful
10 – Glad to Be Unhappy
11 – I’ll Be Around
12 – The End of a Love Affair (Mono – CL 1157)
13 – I’m a Fool to Want You (take 3 – CL 1157)
14 – I’m a Fool to Want You (take 2 – alternate take)
15 – The End of a Love Affair: The Audio Story
16 – The End of a Love Affair (Stereo)
17 – Pause Track

Billie Holiday – vocals (with collective personnel – see book scans for details)
Ray Ellis – arranger & conductor

Recorded February 19-21, 1958.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

One response to “Billie Holiday – Lady in Satin {Columbia}

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