Billie Holiday: God Bless the Child (1941)


God Bless the Child


Billie Holiday (vocals)


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

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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


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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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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