Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Billie Holiday

The Legacy (1933 - 1958)

The Greatest hitsThe first record I ever borrowed from the West Kildonan Library, from any library in fact, was The Point by Harry Nilsson. They used to keep the covers on display, but the actual LP was behind the counter. They were concerned about theft I imagine.

10¢ it cost to borrow an LP. I think that was for three weeks. Later I started borrowing from the Centennial Library and it cost 10¢ a week, up to 30¢ for 3 weeks. It could get expensive. Later than that, they dropped the charge. It’s been free since forever.

They built the WK library in 1967, that was Canada’s centennial year. I have this very definite but at the same time very vague recollection of going there when it wasn’t there yet; the library was housed in Garden City Collegiate, which was a five minute walk from home. I was 8 or 9, and I even have some recollection of a book I borrowed. I can’t remember the title nor the author, but I have an image in my mind of the story, it was woodsy, maybe someone sitting in a rocker on a porch in the south, maybe, kind of like Erskine Caldwell without the cruelty.

I got a card at the new building straight away. I remember borrowing the biography of Abraham Lincoln, then John Kennedy. I must have had a thing for martyred presidents. That was when I was 10. Last time I was in there I was 45. We had been living two blocks from the library since 1987. We sold the house in 2003. Many pages passed through my hands, and many musical notes. Books, magazines, LPs, cassettes, CDs, VHS.

When they were transitioning from LPs to CDs, they stocked up on box sets. They had the Byrds, Yes, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bill Monroe, and this one, Billie Holiday

This is a lot of Billie Holiday, but the title is somewhat deceptive. “The Legacy” is ok I guess; it’s the dates that I have trouble with. “1933 – 1958” it says, but in truth, it covers her Columbia recordings until 1942, then skips to the late 50s. Most of her biggies are here, like “God Bless The Child,” and “Summertime” for which she can take credit for putting the song into the jazz repertoire, but “Strange Fruit,” the song she wrote about a lynching, is not here.

I was disappointed once that my mother did not recognize this. It’s from your era, I said, you should know this. She had no clue. I guess Billie Holiday wasn’t so mainstream, and my mother wasn’t so into jazz.

Ah well, God bless the child who has his own…

Billie Holiday:

  • Your Mother's Son-In-Law

  • I Wished On The Moon

  • What A Little Moonlight Can Do

  • Miss Brown To You

  • Saddest Tale

  • If You Were Mine

  • These 'N' That 'N' Those

  • You Let Me Down

  • Life Begins When You're In Love

  • It's Like Reaching For The Moon

  • These Foolish Things

  • Summertime

  • Billie's Blues

  • A Fine Romance

  • I Can't Pretend

  • One, Two Button Your Shoe

  • Let's Call A Heart A Home

  • Easy To Love

  • Pennies From Heaven

  • That's Life I Guess

  • I Can't Give You Anything But Love Baby

  • One Never Knows, Does One?

  • I Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

  • He Aint' Got Rhythm

  • This Year's Kisses

  • Why Was I Born?

  • I Must Have That Man

  • The Mood I'm In

  • (This Is) My Last Affair

  • Moaning Low

  • Where Is The Sun?

  • Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

  • Don't Know If I'm Coming Or Going

  • I'll Get By

  • Mean To Me

  • Foolin' Myself

  • Easy Living

  • I'll Never Be The Same

  • Me, Myself And I

  • A Sailboat In The Moonlight

  • Born To Love

  • Without Your Love

  • They Can't Take That Away From Me

  • Swing, Brother, Swing

  • I Can't Get Started

  • Who Wants Love?

  • Trav'lin All Alone

  • He's Funny That Way

  • My Man

  • I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me

  • When A Woman Loves A Man

  • You Go To My Head

  • Having Myself A Time

  • Says My Heart

  • The Very Thought Of You

  • I Cried For You

  • Jeepers Creepers

  • Long Gone Blues

  • Some Other Spring

  • Them There Eyes

  • Night And Day

  • The Man I Love

  • Let's Do It

  • All Of Me

  • God Bless The Child

  • Gloomy Sunday

  • Until The Real Thing Comes Along

  • Fine And Mellow

  • You've Changed

  • For All We Know

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