TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Billie Holiday and the Best Video the Daddy Ever Saw

"Although her warm, feathery voice inhabited a limited range, she used it like an accomplished jazz instrumentalist, stretching and condensing phrases in an ever-shifting dialogue with accompanying musicians. Famous for delivering lyrics a bit behind the beat, she alternately endowed them with sadness, sensuality, languor, and irony."
--All About Jazz
"I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That's all I know...You can't copy anybody and end with anything. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. No two people on earth are alike, and it's got to be that way in music or it isn't music."
--Billie Holiday
"You've got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body's sermon on how to behave.
"
--Billie Holiday


Listen up. The daddy wants to ask you something. What’s the greatest video you ever saw?

The daddy votes for the video “Fine and Mellow.” It's the one where the great jazz singer Billie Holiday sings a bitter-sweet blues—her own composition—backed up by what may be the greatest collection of jazz musicians of the swing era: Ben Webster, Lester Young, and Coleman Hawkins on sax; Jerry Mulligan on baritone sax; Milton Hinton on bass; Vic Dickerson on trombone; Doc Cheatham and Roy Eldridge on trumpets, to name a few.

Billie Holiday

The story of Billie Holiday’s early life is shrouded in mystery. "Lady Sings the Blues," her autobiography, has been proven to be inaccurate. But as far as the daddy can tell, these basics seem to be true:

* That she was born Eleanora Fagan in Aril 7, 1915, in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Clarence Holiday, a guy who apparently abandoned her and refused to see or help her until she became a success;
* That, sometimes in the mid-twenties, her mother moved to New York, leaving her in the care of relatives who Billie claimed abused her (At the age of 10, she reported that she was raped);
* That, in 1928, she went to live with her mother;
* That, in 1933, after singing in a number of small clubs, she was discovered by talent scout John Hammond who immediately arranged three recordings for her with Benny Goodman and set up singing engagements for her around New York;
* That, in 1935, under the direction of the great pianist Teddy Wilson, she made a number of recordings. In fact, between 1935 and 1942, she made some of the greatest recordings in jazz, steadily expanding her fan base from black jukebox audiences to radio and club listeners throughout the United States.

Why video was so great?

Billy’s voice. The video exposes the fact that, by the 1950's, after years of destructive drugs and abusive men, her voice had lost some of its projection and vitality. At the same, she retained that distinctive sound and somehow gave her performance perhaps a more effective, emotional delivery.

The interplay between Billie and Lester. The story goes that Billie and Lester, who were once very close, hadn’t spoken in years. They say Lester tired of watching Billie go from one abusive man to another or one drug dealer to another as she slid down the slippery and deathly slope of drug addiction and moved away from her. Whatever, the video clearly showed the interplay between them with Billie nodding her head and smiling approvingly as Lester played the blues the way she loved it--sweet and slow. Yes, she still loved "The Prez," the name she gave him, she said, because he played the saxophone so sweetly.

Musical approaches. But the video displayed more than the relationship between Billie and Lester. It also put up front the difference in musical approach between Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins. Hawkins was known as the fast playing, let-it-all hang out honker; and Lester was known as the economical, sweet playing icon of the “cool jazz’ sound. So it was interesting, indeed, that they both agreed to appear on the same program and play together. Both sound great. And there was no honking. On this night, all the soloists bowed down and played the blues the way “Lady Day" likes it-- slow and bittersweet.

Roy Eldridge. You can take this to the bank: nobody—not Louie Armstrong, not Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, not Miles Davis— played the trumpet with more passion or more discipline than Eldridge. Indeed, you could argue that everyone knew who would take the final bow to Lady Day on this song-- that everyone knew Roy's soloing would lift the collective group's performance to the heavens and bring it home for sho.

Watch Billie's smile broaden and her head rock with more intensity to the backbeat as Roy, like a carpenter walling a home, builds and builds on his solo. And when he builds to the point where he
just screams through his trumpet, watch a smiling Billie turn and look at the other musicians as if to say "Check out this guy! Can you believe how great he's playing?"

But don't believe me. Click here on Billie Holiday and see for yourself. But, first, answer the daddy:

What’s the best video you ever saw?
-----------------------------------------

Fine & Mellow

by Billie Holiday

My man don't love me
Treats me oh so mean
My man he don't love me

Treats me awfully
He's the, lowest man
That I've ever see

He wears high trimmed pan
Stripes are really yellow
He wears high trimmed pan
Stripes are really yellow
But when he starts in to love me
He's so fine and mellow

Love will make you drink and gamble
Make you stay out all night long repeat
Love will make you drink and gamble
Make you stay out all night long
Love will make you do things
That you know is wrong

But if you treat me right baby
I’ll stay home everyday
But if you treat me right baby
I’ll stay home everyday
But you're so mean to me baby
I know you're gonna drive me away

Love is just like the faucet
It turns off and on
Love is just like the faucet
It turns off and on
Sometimes when you think it's on baby
It has turned off and gone
-------------------------------

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad you quit doing silly musicals and got back to writing good stuff. Personally, I liked Hawkins.

Somebodies Friend said...

I'm feeling hungry for the first time in a long time. Hopefully I will find something to eat real soon, some good old fashion loving wouldn't hurt either, I like that too...

I haven't been to church in a while, I'm really looking forward to the next soul filled sermon, I could really use a good uplifting one, with just the right message that I need to hear. Something that God picked out just for me.

Daddy-

I think we discussed this before, but I can't remember what your answer was.

I am taking a survey of all my friends, asking them:

What is your favorite kind of car, and what color would you like if you could have one?

Let me know, I'll give you the results of the survey soon!

Somebodies Friend said...

I love to eat, it just seems everyone is watching me take the first bite, I get a little self conscious when people are watching me. It makes me feel fat!

I'm working up an appetite, because I've been on a diet for over three months, so I can really devour my first meal, I'm getting so hungry it won't matter very soon if the others are sneeking a peek.

I have ask a few out for dinner, I'm not in a begging mood, They either want to eat with me or they don't, I'm too old for the games.

I'm going to a pig roast Saturday, there is supposed to be a lot of food there, hopefully I can get my fill them, even though I know for sure everyone there will be watching me eat, I'll try to be brave when I take the first bite.

Somebodies Friend said...

I think I now realize why they aren't saying yes.

I've been on this diet, yes, but I am still kind of fat. I'm staying at a friends and he left two bowls of fruit out for me to eat.

One of the bowls of fruit is loaded with whipped cream. Lots of the others have already been munching on that one. It is fattening, I should stay away from it, at least for now.

The other bowl is the fresh fruit, just ripened, and it looks like nobody has touched it yet. It is piled high and untouched.

I haven't been paying attention to it the whole time. Every time I walk by it whispers my name. But I am oblivious. This is the fruit I should be eating, because it is still fresh and it won't make me fat.

Once I eat from the fresh fruit, then I can have all of the popular kinds that I want another day, is that it?

I hope this new diet idea works out for me today, I hope I didn't figure it out too late.

If that is the case I will stay a few more days, make sure I feast on enough of the fresh fruit, I'll get this diet figured out soon!

The only thing I am concerned about is the age of the fruit, it looks real fresh but it looks like it might not be matured quite enough, just under the ripeness that most people consider appopriate to eat. Some people that are berry connoisseur's might take offence, I wouldn't want to be pissing off the wrong people.

What do you think MacDaddy, is it all about the fresh fruit? Will that help me in my quest to lose the fat?

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

damn that herion
and i dont look at videos
so i cant tell

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't a guy stay out all night and drink and gamble when the house is full of people all the time

MacDaddy said...

anon: Yes, a number of people (mostly women) hated the review I did of Mamma Mia! Two of them even said they loved Abba. Amazing!
somebodiesfriend: Here's hoping you eat well. Meanwhile, what did you think of the post about Billie Holiday? Did you watch the video from YouTube?
torrance: LOL. Keep up the good work over at RawDawg.
"Why wouldn't a guy stay out all night and drink and gamble when the house is full of people all the time"
anon2: That's funny. But what did you think of the video? What do you think of Billie Holiday?

CurvyGurl said...

Hey MacDaddy! I like this video/song too. Billie Holiday's music had a realness to it. Even in performances she exhibited the emotions that make you really "feel" the song.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Oh, MacDaddy, you're going to think I have the equivalent of McDonalds taste in music compared to yours. I'll surprise ya. Go 'head and snicker, I don't care.

Mystery video

I like it for the energy, makes me wanna dance, and I love her eye contact in it.

Okay, that was the fluff one. You'll love this, I swear. You can feel it, and somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind, you've probably been there. It's possibly the best video I have ever seen that shows how it feels to lose love. It's also utterly unique.

Gnarles Barkley, Who's Gonna Save My Soul

MacDaddy said...

CurvyGurl: Yes, Billie's songs are real, because she only selects songs to sing that she really feels. Then she sings them in her own way. Every time I hear her I wish that she knew me and some of my women friends. Good people. We would have looked out for her. And I know my women friends would have schooled her about them sorry men she was dating. Mostly, we would have hung out and had fun together: Listened to good music, had good conversations about all kinds of things, went to movies, and met a lot of interesting people...I'll be visiting you over at CurbyGurlChronicles.
Kit: I can see you dancing to that Beyonce video and thinking about someone you still miss in the second. Good singing in the second one,too. Thanks.

Nicki Nicki Tembo said...

Awesome video thanks for highlighting and sharing. I'm 38 and have been a fan of Billie Holliday's since for over twenty years. It's always a pleasure to come to your spot and marinate over such thoughtful pieces. Please keep bringin' it! Love ya man!

MacDaddy said...

nikki: I'll do my best. You're so kind. Thanks.

Somebodies Friend said...

I really can dig the Post and the video is unbelievable! Billy playing with all those guys.
Thanks for pointing out the video, I would have overlooked it, then I would never have known what I was missing!

What a treat!

Those were certainly a bunch of lucky guys, the ones who had the opportunity to play with Billy!

I'll be waiting for the oncor, I can't wait! Now I must go find something too eat, now I am starving, for sure....

MacDaddy said...

somebodiesfriend: Glad you got to check out the video and liked the post. Thanks.

Somebodies Friend said...

Didn't Lester Young have a mistress, what was her name again? I haven't listened to Billy for a while, so I seem to have forgot!

Somebodies Friend said...

He is so fine and mellow
didn't think he was treating her quite as awfully. He wishes that there would have been better communication, and not so much monotony,from both of us.
He isn't pointing any fingers, so maybe next time, the window will be open;
not slammed shut in misery.
Communication is definately key.
imagine the different scenarios,
without consulting me.