Billie Holiday: God Bless the Child (1941)

Track

God Bless the Child

Artist

Billie Holiday (vocals)

CD

Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits (Columbia/Legacy CK 65757)

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Musicians:

Billie Holiday (vocals), Roy Eldridge (trumpet),

Jimmy Powell, Lester Boone (alto sax), Ernie Powell (tenor sax), Eddie Heywood, Sr. (piano, leader), Paul Chapman (guitar), Grachan Moncur (bass), Herbert Cowans (drums)

.

Composed by Billie Holiday & Arthur Herzog, Jr

.

Recorded: New York, May 9, 1941

Albumcoverbillieholiday-greatesthitscolumbia

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

"Them that's got shall get / Them that's not shall lose / So the Bible said." Thus claims Arthur Herzog's purported "swing-spiritual based on an authentic proverb." But good luck finding that in the Bible. The religious allusions cynically camouflage a secular Marxist sermon pitting haves against have-nots and insinuating that parents consumed by capitalistic greed will refuse a child in need ("Mama may have / Papa may have / But God bless the child that's got his own"). Somehow, Billie Holiday overcomes Herzog's pinko propaganda for a typically moving statement. God bless Billie. All others pay cash.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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Related Links

Billie Holiday: Rare and Live by Ted Gioia
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Billie Holiday Performances by Stuart Nicholson

”Billie Holiday” by Stuart Nicholson (from The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians)

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