Song of the Week: “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” by Billie Holliday

by Douglas Cowie on 21 July 2017

Each Friday I pick a song–new, old, borrowed, blue–that’s been on my mind and in my ears, and write a short post about it.

This is “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” by Billie Holliday:

This song–albeit not this version–has been in my head more than any other for the past few weeks, because I’ve been learning to play it, and trying to play it well.  An interesting thing about playing music: the technical challenges of playing fast are very different from the technical and musical challenges of playing slowly.  Playing “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” forces a very different type of concentration that I’ve found both interesting and extremely helpful to my tone, breathing, and rhythm in particular.  Anyway, this version of the song by Billie Holliday is just weary, as was, one suspects, the woman herself.  Here’s another version by Louis Armstrong.  The version I’ve been learning and playing along with is an homage to Louis Armstrong, as performed by the Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.

Share Button

Previous post:

Next post: