Both Molly Johnson and Rebecca Ferguson know too damn well that no one can phrase like Billie Holiday and no one can touch the dark corner like Lady Day; therefore, they reinterpret Billie’s repertoire with their own approach: lighter and less serious.
Whereas Johnson still shows some traces of Holiday’s timbre and texture in Because of Billie, Ferguson draws no resemblance in Lady Sings the Blues. “Fine And Mellow” for instance, Johnson’s version is swinging a bit faster than Billie’s, but Furguson takes it to the retro soul. Both versions lost the emphatic of “Love is just like the faucet / It turns off and on,” in which defined Billie’s signature style. In contrast, Ferguson’s rendition of “Lady Sings the Blues” is closer to Billie’s than Johnson’s, which is a faster blues-swing cover.
Because of Johnson’s and Furguson’s vocals and choices of arrangement, they have created different vibes of Billie’s classic materials. For a wine-and-dine time with friends and family, Furguson’s album is ideal. For a more intimate time with a lover, Johnson’s album is the perfect mood. For an up close and personal experience, Billie’s albums remain unmatchable.