Billie Holiday: Good Morning Heartache (1946)

Like “That Ole Devil Called Love,” composed by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher, staff writers for a Decca publishing affiliate, “Good Morning Heartache” was especially written for Holiday at the behest of producer Milt Gabler. This time he turned to the former Mrs. Teddy Wilson, Irene Higginbotham, a close friend of Holiday, who with evocative “period” backing obliges with a performance so profound that once heard it goes on to enjoy a second life, a life within memory. The lyrics of “Heartache” again conform to her character part -- indeed, the importance of a singer finding a character part (or image) in popular music is something that would later become commonplace; Sinatra with his barstool performances, Piaf as the sparrow unbroken by life, and Garland who was. Image goes to the heart of Holiday’s appeal down the years, yet even today the way it interacts with her music remains the least understood aspect of her art.

January 21, 2008 · 1 comment


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