BILLIE HOLIDAY AND HER ORCHESTRA:
Oran "Hot Lips" Page (tp), Tab Smith (as, ss), Kenneth Hollon, Stanley Payne (ts), Ken Kersey (p), Jimmy McLin (g), John Williams (b), Eddie Dougherty (dr), Billie Holiday (vcl)

NYC, March 21, 1939

W24245-1 You’re Too Lovely To Last Vocalion/OKeh 4834, Columbia CKK 85470
W24245-2 You’re Too Lovely To Last Columbia CKK 85470
W24246-1 Under A Blue Jungle Moon Vocalion/OKeh 4786, Columbia CKK 85470
W24246-2 Under A Blue Jungle Moon Columbia CKK 85470
W24247-1 Everything Happens For The Best Vocalion/OKeh 4786
W24248-1 Why Did I Always Depend On You? Vocalion/OKeh 4834
W24249-1 Long Gone Blues *) Columbia 37586

*) “Sometimes the best things happen unplanned. Usually a studio session lasted three hours and in that time four 78 RPM sides were supposed to be cut. If technical difficulties prevented the requisite number of sides, then more time would be assigned at a later date. It was almost unheard of for more than four sides to be made, because of the Inevitability of an odd side being left over. I can only speculate that Billie and her group breezed through the four numbers scheduled with their eyes closed (no room for creative challenges here), had some spare time and were then encouraged by Bemie Hanighen to lay down something they had been working on, or performing at Cafe Society.

The result was a masterpiece! The band vamps the intro, with Tab Smith's soprano leading and immediately establishes the aching sadness of the work. Now it's Billie using that special voice and delivery that makes you forget all the terrible songs she had to record and realize that you are in the presence of one of the great artists of the 20th Century, as great as any painter or writer who took as raw materials the everyday things they encountered and changed them into something magical and everlasting. She is credited (with Tab Smith) as the writer and you know that this type of song was her true metier, not fooling around with Tin Pan Alley moon-June stuff.

When she gives way to Tab, there's a feeling of desolation but, far from being a let-down, his solo builds on that mood, becoming a religious keening verging on the exultant and just when you feel your heart is about to break, along comes Lips Page, who was to instrumental blues accompaniment in the 1930s what Joe Smith was in the 1920s, contributing a solo that is at once raw, angry and despairing. Unusually, Billie does not return for a final chorus and that is the final sense of loss. Interestingly, as it was the odd title from the session, this track remained buried in the vaults for eight years before it was released.”


















Michael Brooks (in LADY DAY – The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933-1944)


And here's something special:
FRANKIE NEWTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA – almost identical with the band playing ”Long Gone Blues” – plays TAB'S BLUES 22 days later. Same tune, same arrangement, new title, and Newton plays where Miss Holiday sings.

TAB'S BLUES is April 12, 1939.

“As to why Lips is on the Billie date, I wonder if it's not the interceding of John Hammond - - - you will notice that (at some point) Newton no longer appears on record sessions that Hammond's connected with: my theory is that he (like other independent players) offended Hammond by having his own opinion . . . but the dates of the two sessions could contradict this theory and it could just be that Lips was free to do the session!”
Michael Steinman, author of the ”JAZZ LIVES” Blog