Billie Holiday: Lover Man (1944)


Lover Man


Billie Holiday (vocals)


Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits (Decca GRD-653)

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Billie Holiday (vocals),

Russ Case (trumpet), Hymie Schertzer, Jack Cressey (alto saxes), Larry Binyon, Paul Ricci (tenor saxes), Dave Bowman (piano), Carl Kress (guitar), unidentified string section, Haig Stephens (bass), Johnny Blowers (drums)


Composed by Jimmy Davis, Jimmy Sherman & Roger “Ram” Ramirez. Arranged and conducted by Toots Camarata


Recorded: New York, October 4, 1944


Rating: 84/100 (learn more)

According to her autobiography, Billie Holiday begged Decca Records to let her record "Lover Man" with strings. "People don't understand the kind of fight it takes," she wrote, "to record what you want to record the way you want to record it." She got her way, but it was a Pyrrhic victory. What ever made Billie think that she and schmaltz would be well matched? Her singing is amazing as always. But Toots Camarata's syrupy fiddles and lugubrious tempo diminish Billie's dignity, not enhance it. "Sometimes," Billie conceded, "it's worse to win a fight than to lose." Amen to that.

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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