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Billie Holiday

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Chris, I'm glad you asked. In another thread I mentioned that of the 39 Classic Records, about 10 of them rank among the 20 best-sounding CDs I've ever heard. One of those just happens to be Billie Holiday's Songs for Distingué Lovers (VSCD 6021). This album along with a companion volume, Body And Soul, offer us small combo accompaniments featuring a who's who of great sidemen. Classic Records holds the distinction of actually being the only record label to scour the record vaults for the best tapes; here they were rewarded well, as theirs is the ONLY release to feature the sound in true stereo (Body and Soul was not so lucky).


Depending on the prowess of your audio system, this recording has the ability to offer you the best-sounding kick drum I've ever heard on any recorded source, and that's just for starters. There's a depth and image structure to the sound stage that places our sidemen in a proper perspective that is uncanny in its ability to sound like the musicians are performing on a real stage. Billie's voice is wonderfully captured in a wide range of frequencies, and amazing dynamics. (On the negative side, the dynamics of her voice are such that if you have even a trace of harshness in your tweeters, you will experience just a gnat's eyelash worth of dryness when she reaches the apexes in each of the tunes. I was able to ameliorate this by replacing my Telefunken 12AX7s with some vintage Sylvania Triple Mica 5751s.) Even more uncanny is the tonal structure of the muted trumpet and saxophone — especially on the first tune on the album, "Day In, Day Out."


Although I rarely audition new audio equipment in my own home, I am so familiar with this recording that I use it to make determinations of the additions to their systems that friends make.


If there is a single CD that is worth paying collector prices for, it's this one. But, you're in luck. These rarely sell for more than $25 whenever they appear on Amazon. If you know how to pre-order a used item there, my strong recommendation is to do just that (or you could put it on your wish list and check the Amazon site periodically). Right now there aren't any for sale over there. Speaking of sites that have this title, avoid getting into the ebay fray on this one. The collectors in the Far East drive the prices up quite high over there. Here's the Amazon link.





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SGB - I can't thank you enough! There are so many Billie Holiday discs out there, many containing the same content. Thanks for the link as well! These forums are starting top pay off.


I like the detail you went into. Much better than the standard three word forum responses seen elsewhere.


P.S. - I actually had a complete response typed up about ten minutes after you posted this, but the power went out here in Minneapolis (snow storm) and I lost it all. Note to self: UPS = good idea.


- Chris

Computer Audiophile | Turn Down The Silence


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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"Currently unavailable......" ACK!!


You got me hungry SGB! Me loving Billie and now...... all dressed up and nowhere to go. What I have will have to suffice for now.


Yes! Thank you, sir. That was a nicely constructed review. I now have another reason to live.



"There are only two kinds of people: Those who understand binary and those who don't"

hear here


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  • 1 month later...

Get your hands on a copy of Satchmo Plays King Oliver.




This is no stranger to us old guys. The original fifties album goes for lots of bucks whenever it shows up on ebay, and if you still spin vinyl, the Classic Records reissue (although out of print) can be had for a reasonable price.


My only gripe about this one is the way that Varese Saraband arranged the alternate takes immediately after the one chosen for the original album. Of course, iTunes makes it easy to set up your playback in the original sequence, and move all the alternates to the end.






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Hey SGB is this the one?







Billie Holiday


Release Date:

Jul 20, 1999





Record Label:










Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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It would have been great if it were, because all those guys in Singapore and Hong Kong that have been driving prices into the stratosphere would have missed it. By private mail I am sending you the UPC #. You can use it to ask ebay/Amazon sellers to verify for you that it is the real McCoy they're offering. I would put it here except that this thread would probably show up in a google search (which would only add to the increasing prices of these).


Hints for winning desirable items on ebay.


1. Most important: subscribe to an auction sniping service and use it faithfully. Never, NEVER bid on an item until there are less than 2 minutes before it closes. Obviously a sniping service will make your bid for you so that you're not chained to your computer.


2. Never keep returning to an auction page with a counter on it. Competing bidders — if they're smart — know how to use your visit counts there against you, even though they don't know who you are. You can click on the _watch in my ebay_ button and see how its going from there.


3. Decide on your maximum bid, and stick to it. Don't get pulled into the emotion of winning an auction and end up bidding twice what you really wanted to pay for it. It may take a while, but another CD/LP, whatever, will come along eventually — no matter how rare it is. (I'll soon be re-listing a sealed item that I won several months ago. Since my Amazon preorder for it finally paid off, I can recover that expense. That CD was one of only 3 to appear since January, 2005.)


My own auctions are an example of smart buyers who use restraint. Here are 39 LPs I listed last Sunday. There are many watchers on each title, and the bidding wars will begin some time this coming Saturday afternoon. The Super Bowl will lower this week's take considerably, though.





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