You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.
When you sing, always tell the truth.
I can't stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession. If you can, then it ain't music, it's close order drill, or exercise or yodeling or something, not music.
I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That's all I know.
I never sing a song the same way twice.
The whole basis of my singing is feeling. Unless I feel something, I can't sing.
I've been told that nobody sings the word 'hunger' like I do.
When Lester plays, he almost seems to be singing; one can almost hear the words.
I joined Count Basie's band to make a little money and to see the world. For two years I didn't see anything but the inside of a Blue Goose bus, and I never got to send home a quarter.
The only reason they're out there is to see me fall into the damn orchestra pit.
In this country kings or dukes don't amount to nothing. The greatest man around then was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he was the President; so I started calling Lester the President. It got shortened to Pres.
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