The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

May 31, 1915

90 years ago today, Eleanora Fagan, better known to time and memory and Billie Holiday was born.

Here are six images of her:


Within her art; 1957



Hearing a wordless siren's song; a publicity still with Louis Armstrong, 1947



Where does it all go to, I wonder; sometime in the 40s



She ponders the vista of her future; 1955



A rare moment of tranquility; near the end.



Unleashing her muse, both tender and wild; sometime in the 40s

(my immense thanks to Bob Keser for reminding this addled brain what day it was)

4 comments :

Rob said...

Like no other, and no equal. 'Nuff said.

BCNU

swac said...

I first heard Billie Holiday when I checked a Charlie Parker anthology out of the library when I was 12 or so, and there she was singing Back In Your Own Backyard. Somewhere I still have the tape I made of that record...12 was a big year, discovering jazz, reading Kerouac, but hearing Holiday for the first time...that definitely cranked the psyche up a notch.

sleepybomb said...

my mom, who is a singer of some note, is a huge billie freak. i was turned on at a much earlier age, but the effect is everlasting. i have a cool set of 78's by billie, (i'd need to ldig it up for the lable), she gave me all her records cuz she couldn't be bothered anymore. god, i hope i never get like that . . .

sleepybomb said...

oh yeah, 12 . . . pot, the white lp and sex, very good year . . 1968!