TC

Lady

8 posts in this topic

Holy crap. I've AAALWAYS overlooked this song...not sure why! But I just had my first real moment with it. I listened to it while reading the lyrics and I just connected with it.

 

I have no idea if I'm making it up, but she sounds like she's emulating Billie Holiday when she sings certain parts of the song...especially the little wet tears line.

 

SOOOOOOOOOOOO good. I'm so glad Regina is still surprising me, four years on...

 

Lady sing the blues so well
As if she mean it
As if it's hell down here
In the smoke-filled world
Where the jokes are cold, they don't laugh at jokes
They laugh at tragedies

Corner street societies
But they believe her
They never leave her while she sings
She make them feel safe

She says, 'I can sing this song so blue
That you will cry in spite of you
Little wet tears on your baby's shoulder
Little wet tears on your baby's shoulder

And I have walked these streets so long
There ain't nothin' right, there ain't nothin' wrong
But the little wet tears on my baby's shoulder
Little wet tears on my baby's shoulder.'

Lady lights a cigarette, puffs away, no regrets
Takes a look around, no regrets, no regrets
Stretches out like branches of a poplar tree
Says, 'I am free;' sings so soft as if she'll break

Says, 'I can sing this song so blue
That you will cry in spite of you
Little wet tears on your baby's shoulder
Little wet tears on your baby's shoulder

And I have walked these streets so long
There ain't nothin' right, nothin' wrong
But the little wet tears on my baby's shoulder
Little wet tears on my baby's shoulder
But on this stage I've learned to fly
Learned to sing and learned to cry
Little wet tears on my baby's shoulder
Little wet tears on my baby's shoulder

But now it's time to say goodbye
Some might laugh, but I will surely cry
Little wet tears on my baby's shoulder
Little wet tears on my baby's shoulder.'

Lady lights a cigarette
Puffs away
And winter comes
And she
Forgets

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Oh, there is no doubt Regina is emulating Billie Holiday here. I read an interview that Billie was one of her main influences in college. There is also some classic Regina lyricism here..

"As if it's hell down here

In the smoke-filled world

Where the jokes are cold, they don't laugh at jokes

They laugh at tragedies"

"Lady lights a cigarette, puffs away, no regrets

Takes a look around, no regrets, no regrets

Stretches out like branches of a poplar tree

Says, 'I am free;' sings so soft as if she'll break"

Regina writes more like a short story writer than just about any songwriter I can think of..

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"Lady lights a cigarette, puffs away, no regrets

Takes a look around, no regrets, no regrets

Stretches out like branches of a poplar tree
Says, 'I am free;' sings so soft as if she'll break"

 

That's my favorite part of the whole song. I love the build up.

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Well, Regina has generally been reluctant to specify the meaning of her songs, but she has stated in interviews that Billie Holiday was generally an influence. The imagery and phrasing of the

song seem to be fairly clear references to Billie. I see the song as a tribute to Billie rather

than being specifically about her...

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Yeah! According to interviews, Regina is a huuuge Billie Holiday fan. I remember reading that Regina learned to sing by perfecting sing-y impressions of different vocalists, and I'm pretty sure Billie was one of them. Also, I think Billie Holiday was even called "Lady" sometimes? So, yeah! I think it's definitely Billie Holiday related and I'd thought that for awhile -- I'd just never listened to the song closely enough to hear the Billie Holidayness in some of the lines.

 

Also, the line about poplar trees seems like a reference to Holiday's "Strange Fruit," one of the lines being "Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees."

 

Edit Oh! Looks like one of Holiday's last albums is called "Lady Sings the Blues," too!

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I have no idea if I'm making it up, but she sounds like she's emulating Billie Holiday when she sings certain parts of the song...especially the little wet tears line.

 

 

I agree. It's really quite astounding how close Regina sounds like Billie Holiday in this song. I listen to 'Lady' right after Billie Holiday's 'Strange Fruit' all the time just to marvel at the similarities and connections between the two. I also absolutely loved the part in the end here Regina stops singing and the music kicks in. The piano and the saxophone sounded like they were battling each other for attention while unknowingly merging into one hauntingly beautiful composition.

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This might be slightly easier to figure out if you know that the great saxophonist Lester Young caled Billie Holliday "Lady Day" a nickname that almost took theplace of her real name.  So, ummm, "Lady sings the blues..." can really mean only one person (unless Lady Gaga takes to the blues, I suppose).

 

Maybe these two clips will answer this question for you.

 

Regina's own version of My Man:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-ijAkuVcew

 

Regina doing the original (famously recorded by many including, of course, Streisand), but, probably most notably: by Lady Day,who Regina clearly channels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpWXAWLAwRo

 

OK,here's the Lady herself:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LHz8MvDMjk

 

or, more recently:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf0ldEBBJhY

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