Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moanin' Low with Libby

I'm having a terrific time reading the biography of Libby Holman, "Dreams That Money Can Buy: The Tragic Life of Libby Holman" by Jon Bradshaw.

Libby Holman was a Broadway star in the hey days of the roaring 20's. She was known for her unusual voice - deep and husky and raspy - and an outrageous and uninhibited personality. She introduced such blues classics as "Body and Soul," "Moanin Low," "Am I Blue," and "Find Me a Primitive Man."

She married Smith Reynolds, the heir to the Reynolds Tobacco fortune; six months after they were married, he was found dead of a bullet wound. Libby and Smith's best friend were indicted for murder in a scandal that made front page headlines and later became the basis of movies starring Jean Harlow and Lauren Bacall. Because of the intervention of the powerful Reynolds family, however, the case never came to trial and Libby was set free, to be haunted by the ambiguities of her guilt or innocence.

Although she and her son inherited almost $7million after Smith Reynold's death (back in the days when a million was worth a million!), her career was in ruins, and thereafter, almost every man she touched died violently.

The year after the murder, Cole Porter asked her to play the lead in his new play "Anything Goes," but she turned it down. The role was Reno Sweeney - the role that made a huge star of Ethel Merman.

I'm taking the entire afternoon off and finishing the book ... I'm riveted to her story. It's like a faery tale - well, a very very dark and disturbing faery tale!

Here is Libby singing her classic "Moanin Low." She would never make the cut on American Idol - but her unique sound epitomizes the glamorous and shoddy 1920's of speakeasies, Harlem nightclubs, midnight swims off yachts, and drinking champagne out of women's slippers.



Enjoy your afternoon!
♥´¨)
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥

28 comments:

Marilyn said...

Hi Ya' Tristan!!
You hit a nerve with this book. I Love biographies.... I have written the name & author & I will read it!! Thank you so very much for a great suggestion.
Have a Great Reading Afternoon!!
Love,
Marilyn
xxoo

Berlin Deluxxe said...

I knew who she was, but I didn't know the tragedy behind the woman... I will have to get my hands on this book, her music and tone are nostalgically fabulous!

peggy gatto said...

This sounds like a book for me!!!! Amazing what money does!!!! There are so many non fiction stories out there better than some fiction in the top 10!
thanks!

mo.stoneskin said...

That's a fascinating review, I don't often read a review and then read the book, but in this case I may break the rule...

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Tristan.....go to my blog.
I order you. ;)

XXXOOO!!!

Baroness Bijoutery said...

I love books like these and now will have to find it so I can lose myself in this book...Thanks for telling us about this book....

Ingrid Mida said...

Isn't that the ultimate luxury: being able to take the afternoon off and just read?

Frippery said...

Oh I just love that era. Time travel wishes again! So much scandal and wild life. But somehow passing time makes it less base and tawdry than todays scandals. I am putting this on my library list. Thanks Tristan!

a fanciful twist said...

Your blog hits every prt of my senses. I was catching up and reading and you are just the bestest, I tell ya!!! From your stories to your photos and images shared!!

And now, I need a copy!! I am intriqued to the core of all coresssss!!!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Beautifully written, Tristan. You have a fine blog...you really could have your own magazine! Hey...have you ever thought of that? Bisous, Anita

*iTkUpiLLi* said...

This was so interesting, thanks for sharing. :)

robin dudley-howes said...

It's always so nice to hear from you. Thanks for taking time to comment. Peace....

Sue said...

Fascinating Tristan. I vaguely remember reading about her in an old Vogue (I think), however am now intriqued to see about the book......love books like this.

bernadette ostrozovich said...

hi tris! you keep the world ever growing and ever fascinating for me! and...you've been tagged...sort of. the sort of part is that i was not successful at putting in your site as a link, but sort of circumnavigated that in my own inimitable way...lol

so, since you am smart: post a link to me, tag six peeps, and tell the world six things that make you happy!!!

Sugar and Spice Art Confections said...

FABULOUS! I love the 1920's and this is a story that seems to epitomize the era. I will have to check this one out sometime!

Back Through Time said...

The 1920's is my all time favorite time period. I am going to have to find this book to read!
Thanks for the info!!
Michelle

TRES BELLE said...

This sounds like a wonderful book!! Although, I have never heard of her,her story sounds very intresting. I may have to get this book.

Kris

Kaerie Faerie said...

How tragic, glad my life is filled with Beach Babes, you are too funny, that comment was fab!
Thanks
Kaerie Faerie

Birds of a Feather said...

Hmmm, sounds very intriguing!

you will love tomorrow's post then ~ lots of shopping spots, all my faves! You really must get out there, and I completely agree, it's just not fair that I have to travel 3000 miles to be so inspired!

xo Heidi

Lisa Oceandreamer said...

You have me now wanting to read this book. I love movies from that era.....your description conjures images I can so picture in my mind. and I adore reading biographies.
I think we definitely share some tastes in common. Your blog ALWAYS fascinates and NEVER disappoints!
XOXO

KimberlyRyanDesigns said...

Hi, I love your blog, Is this the same Libby who was Montgomery Clift's friend? She wore jungle gardenia perfume...maybe it's not the same Libby, was years ago I read a Monty bio and this name popped in my head. Have a great week! Hugs, Kim

Valarie said...

Sounds like a great book. What a wonderful day you must be having!!
Enjoy. xxoo Valarie

Pattee said...

Tristan Send me your address and I'll send you a steampunked pin...
Pattee
dancingbuffalo@earthlink.net

g said...

Wow, fascinating. I will read it. Sounds like its worth taking a day off for.

Birds of a Feather said...

Yes, the one and only Brimfield Flea ~ meeting up with a bunch of friends, but sadly I will not need a U-Haul {this trip} since I did just get back from Cali and did a wee bit 'o damage! xo

YSLGuy said...

Sounds like a fascinating read. I'll have to check it out. I'm reading David Sedaris "Me Talk Pretty One Day" right now. It's hilarious!

Beverly said...

Ooh, this sounds like a book I would love. Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to find this one.

Judith. ..de Santa Fe said...

Hold the nightclubs and speakeasies ... .
I'll take an extra dose of those
midnight swims off yachts !
jjj