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BILLIE HOLIDAY
By Chris Ingham
Published By Unanimous
Reviewed by Cardinal Cox

Billie Holiday available at Amazon.co.uk


Write Dope on Pnuk part 27

Now, I’m not going to pretend that I know more than a smattering of things about Ms. Holiday before I bought this book (cheap, as it happens), when looking for something short to fill a couple of hours. Jazz singer in the nineteen fifties, took drugs, that was about it.

The biographical part of the book covers her unstable early life, raped when eleven, later prostitution, before becoming a singer. Her life then follows a path of poor choices in men, drug addiction and recording popular records before her death in 1959, aged 44.

The remaining two-thirds are a discography covering the important recordings and a critique of her style.

A life then copied by too many music performers, and while I wasn’t inspired to go out and buy any CDs straight away, I did hunt through my collection to find her version of the powerful song ‘Strange Fruit’.

 

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