Book Excerpt: With Billie

Author: Julia Blackburn
Book: With Billie
Pages: 332
Publisher: Pantheon Books - New York
Copyright: 2005
ISBN: 0-375-40610-7

page 17:
"On the morning of 27 October 1971, Linda Kuehl had arranged to meet [Baltimore] Freddie Green at the Red Rooster Club in the Point district in Baltimore. Not Freddie Green the guitarist, the 'quiet guy', who played with Billie in the Count Basie band, and with whom Baltimore Freddie said Billie 'had something going for a while', although he couldn't 'put [the two of] them together'." [* Editor's note: Baltimore Freddie Green was a friend from Billie Holiday's childhood. Like many others, he pondered how Billie and guitarist Freddie Green became involved. Opposites attract is likely the best explanation.]

page 95:
"Billie [Holiday] met Jimmy Monroe at Rockaway and that's where he started going with her. Claire [Lievenson] said before that Billie had been with Bobby Henderson and the guitar player Freddie Green, and Sonny White the pianist, who gave her an engagement ring, and everybody hoped she would stay with him because 'He was a nice boy and didn't like her for what she had, like most of them did'."

page 167:
"Billie put her drink down. She said to me [Jimmy Rowles] "Did I ever know Dick Wilson [tenor saxophonist]? I'm going to tell you something. I was going with [guitarist] Freddie Green and I was true to that motherf_ _ ker. But every time I saw Dick Wilson, I just had to take him out and f _ _k him!"

page 254
"Billie kept asking Memry [Midgett] what on earth it was that had made someone [Billie] follow such a hard and painful road. Billie had known so many men, men like Bobby Henderson and Freddie Green, who were good and kind and gentle. They were the men who would have cared for her and protected her, and given her the children and the security she always longed for. But instead she had been drawn irresistibly to the hustlers and the pimps; she had chosen to be cheated and beaten and humiliated and shared with other women and discarded when she was no longer useful."

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