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Richard Pryor: that clown can really sing the blues

Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966. The performance is also available on YouTube with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 5, 2014 - 14 comments

 

A Few First Ladies of Jazz and Rhythm 'n Blues

Nellie Lutcher - Blue Skies, It Had to Be You & Let's Fall In Love
Martha Davis & Spouse - That's Life
Dinah Washington with Louis Jordan - What A Difference A Day Made & Makin' Whoopee
Ella Fitzgerald -- It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
Count Basie & Helen Humes - I Cried for You
Sarah Vaughn -- The Nearness of You
Billie Holiday -- Fine and Mellow
posted by y2karl on Jul 30, 2013 - 13 comments

The Day Lady Died

July 17th 1959: "Billie Holiday died in a New York City hospital from cirrhosis of the liver after years of alcohol abuse, aged 43 (while under arrest for heroin possession, with police officers stationed at the door to her room). In the final years of her life, she had been progressively swindled out of her earnings, and she died with $0.70 in the bank." Still, the world remembers her for her music, her voice that changed lives. Some of her best: Nice Work If You Can Get It, Fine and Mellow, Strange Fruit, I'll Be Seeing You, Good Morning Heartache, Summertime, I'm A Fool to Want You, As Time Goes By, Solitude, Come Rain or Come Shine and The Man I Love. [more inside]
posted by pleasebekind on Jul 17, 2011 - 30 comments

Sunday's Gloomy

Hungary may be the gloomiest country on earth. Believed by its people to be suffering from a centuries long curse, it's most famous modern musical export is probably the "Hungarian Suicide Song" - Gloomy Sunday. Originally popularized by Billie Holiday in the US (with an upbeat ending tacked onto the original lyrics), it's been covered dozens of times since then. Links to a few of my favorites inside: [more inside]
posted by empath on Jan 10, 2009 - 37 comments

Friends of Lady Day

In 1972 Lady Sings the Blues was released. Ostensibly a biopic about the life of Billie Holiday, it was a travesty of made up history and glaring ommissions. In response to that release a symposium was held on Lady Day's life and work which included storytelling from Artie Shaw (about hiring her in 1938) and Carmen McRae (about her drug life). The CBC recently put together an excellent podcast with these stories and some interview tape from Billie Holiday herself.
posted by salishsea on Nov 9, 2008 - 3 comments

"Window in the Sky", a U2 montage of 137 video clips

"Window in the Sky" is a YouTube style video synch mash-up done on a professional budget with the magic of copyright clearances. "It's a triumph of postmodern reconstruction" says the Washington Post.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 29, 2007 - 160 comments

'Strange Fruit' Documentary

The Roots of a Haunting Song "Billie Holiday's brilliant interpretation of 'Strange Fruit' made the haunting song about Southern lynchings her own. It also helped make the composer, a Jewish schoolteacher from the Bronx, nearly anonymous. But Abel Meeropol (link contains image of lynching) gets his due in a documentary...airing [8 April] as part of PBS' 'Independent Lens' series..." (CNN)
posted by LinusMines on Apr 8, 2003 - 28 comments

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