Complete Commodore and Decca Masters

Title:  The Complete Commodore and Decca Masters

Artist:  Billie Holiday

Label:  Hip-O Select

Format:  3 CD box set; MP3

Catalog No.:  B0013146-02

Release Date:  November 10, 2009

The middle years of Billie Holiday’s career were recorded on Commodore and Decca, though these recordings are often less celebrated than her early and late work on Columbia and Verve, respectively.  Her collaboration with Commodore records began in 1939, when Columbia refused to allow her to record the controversial “Strange Fruit,” and she negotiated a one-time four-song session with her friend (and Commodore producer) Milt Gabler—an agreement that led to a ten-year working relationship with Gabler, first on Commodore and then on Decca starting in 1945.  Holiday’s work on Commodore and Decca focuses particularly on “loser” songs such as “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues” and “What Is This Thing Called Love.”  However, that output also include lighter pop songs such as “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “Lover Man.”  While the material in this set has all been released previously on other albums and compilations, this three-disc set is the first to collect in one place all fifty of Holiday’s tracks produced by Gabler, as well as two additional tracks that completed her deal with Decca.

Posted by Ann Shaffer