Billie laid down these performances at age 42, less than two years before her death. Her voice sounds as if she is 70. Whereas Johnny Cash, Ralph Stanley, Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney and some others still sounded good in their 60's, Ms. Holiday's voice was pretty much gone by 40. Drug and alcohol abuse and perhaps tobacco, and a hard life in spite of being famous, or partly because of it, ravaged her. This is the kind of album that one cringes to hear at first, the voice is so old and raw and frail. I have never been a fan of Billie's, but then I have not been exposed to much of her output from younger days. However, with each listen, this disc gets better. One becomes accustomed to the voice, and begins to appreciate the effort, and phrasing, and emotion, and courage she put into it. The Ray Ellis arrangements and orchestral accompaniment contribute hugely to the album's success. This is not a disc you play for other people, or when you are in a good mood. Like Sinatra's "In the Wee Small Hours" it is melancholy, late-night consolation when "lonesome" and "sad" are the dominant moods of your life. But every adult has nights like that, and every music collection should have something that fits. If you are lucky, once you hear this a few times to get over the strangeness I spoke of earlier, you'll never need it again...but if you do, it will comfort you. Billie's life was worse than yours, her pain was deeper than yours, her future more limited than yours, her story more poignant and tragic than yours. Keep that in mind as you listen for 45 minutes or so, and you'll end up being blessed by Billie, in her last great studio session.