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Roots & Influences - The World of Billie Holiday

Artist Song Buy
Louis Armstrong  West End Blues   buy on itunes
Bessie Smith  Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out   buy on itunes
Mamie Smith  Mean Man   buy on itunes
Ethel Waters  Travelin' All Alone   buy on itunes
Fats Waller & His Rhythm  Honeysuckle Rose   buy on itunes
Duke Ellington  Sophisticated Lady   buy on itunes
Benny Goodman  That's a Plenty   buy on itunes
Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra  Sugar Foot Stomp (1931 Version)   buy on itunes
Louis Armstrong  Them There Eyes   buy on itunes
Charlie Johnson's Original Paradise Ten  You Ain't the One   buy on itunes
Various Artists - Document Records  Texas Twist   buy on itunes
Ma Rainey  Night Time Blues   buy on itunes
Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders  Black Bottom   buy on itunes
Butterbeans & Susie  I Wanna Hot Dog for My Roll   buy on itunes
McKinney's Cotton Pickers  Gee, Ain't I Good to You   buy on itunes


We often think of Billie Holiday as an almost mythic figure who inspired countless artists, but she didn't just appear out of the ether; fact is, she was inspired by some of the greatest jazz and blues artists who ever lived. It's almost impossible not to connect the dots between Louis Armstrong's laid-back scat in his Hot Five's "West End Blues" and Billie's later vocal stylings, since their feel and phrasing are so much alike. Armstrong's occasional bandmate Fletcher Henderson clearly left an impression on Billie, as her father Clarence plays banjo on Henderson's recording of "Sugar Foot Stomp (1931 Version)." And in an all-too-common tale of Depression-era woe, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," Bessie Smith grinds out three minutes of tear-jerking tragedy that absolutely defines the blues. With musical mentors ranging from Fats Waller to Duke Ellington, Ms. Holiday not only grew to be the best at her craft, but she also studied those who were the best at theirs.
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