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Nina Simone - Baltimore

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Baltimore

Nina Simone

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After an uncharacteristic (for her) four-year hiatus from recording, Nina Simone returned to the fringes of the pop world with Baltimore, the only album she recorded for the CTI label. While it bears some of the musical stylings of the period -- light reggae inflections that hint of Steely Dan's "Haitian Divorce" -- the vocals are unmistakably Simone's. Like many of her albums, the content is wildly uneven; Simone simply covers too much ground and there's too little attention paid to how songs flow together. As a result, a robust torch piano ballad like "Music for Lovers" is followed immediately by one of Simone's more awkward moments, an attempt to keep up with a jaunty rhythm track on a cover of Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl." Still, one must give her credit for always being provocative in her cover song choices, as she clearly scores on the Randy Newman-penned title track and a dramatic reading of Judy Collins' "My Father." Her voice throughout is in fine form, even when she phones it in on the album-closing traditional gospel tunes, but arranger David Matthews is a mismatch for her: He blows the arrangements with excessive string overlays and needlessly blaring background vocals. Simone herself all but disavowed the album shortly after its release, testament to her eternally contrarian, iconic nature. Despite her misgivings, though, Baltimore is an occasionally spellbinding if erratic album, a challenging and worthwhile listen for people ready to dip into the lesser-known entries in Nina Simone's vast catalog.
© Joseph McCombs /TiVo

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Baltimore

Nina Simone

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1
Baltimore (Album Version)
00:04:38

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Randy Newman, Composer - Randy Newman, Lyricist - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Al Schackman, Piano - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Everything Must Change (Album Version)
00:03:58

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - B. Ighner, Composer - B. Ighner, Lyricist - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

3
The Family (Album Version)
00:04:58

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - J. Hurley, Composer - J. Hurley, Lyricist - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - R. Wilkins, Composer - R. Wilkins, Lyricist - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - David Matthews, Piano - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

4
My Father (Album Version)
00:04:54

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - Judy Collins, Composer - Judy Collins, Lyricist - David Matthews, Arranger - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

5
Music For Lovers (Album Version)
00:03:41

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Arranger - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

6
Rich Girl (Album Version)
00:03:11

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Daryl Hall, Composer - Daryl Hall, Lyricist - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

7
That's All I Want From You (Album Version)
00:02:52

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Fritz Rotter aka M. Rotha, Composer - Fritz Rotter aka M. Rotha, Lyricist - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

8
Forget (Album Version)
00:02:54

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - R. Colucci, Composer - R. Colucci, Lyricist - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - D. Matthews, Composer - D. Matthews, Lyricist - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - David Matthews, Piano - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

9
Balm In Gilead (Album Version)
00:02:24

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - D. Matthews, Arranger - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

10
If You Pray Right (Album Version)
00:03:18

Max Ellen, Violin - Maeretha Stewart, Background Vocal - Jonathan Abramowitz, Acoustic Cello - Milt Grayson, Background Vocal - Barry Finclair, Violin - Harry Lookofsky, Violin - Emanuel Vardi, Viola - Didier Deutsch, Re-Issue Producer - Albertine Robinson, Background Vocal - D. Matthews, Arranger - Babi Floyd, Background Vocal - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Background Vocal - Creed Taylor, Producer - Jim Madison, Drums - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Keyboards - Nina Simone, Performer - David Palmer, Mixing Engineer - David Palmer, Recording Engineer - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Gary King, Bass - Alfred Brown, Viola - Eric Gale, Guitar - Nicky Marrero, Percussion - Chris Herles, Mastering Engineer - David Nadien, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Jerry Friedman, Guitar - Al Schackman, Director - Al Schackman, Tambourine - Herbert Sorkin, Violin - Joshie Armstead, Background Vocal - Richard Sortomme, Violin - David Matthews, Arranger - Ray Simpson, Background Vocal - Harry Glickman, Violin - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - frank floyd, Background Vocal - Joel Cohn, 2nd Engineer - Lamar Alsop, Viola

(P) 1978 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Album Description

After an uncharacteristic (for her) four-year hiatus from recording, Nina Simone returned to the fringes of the pop world with Baltimore, the only album she recorded for the CTI label. While it bears some of the musical stylings of the period -- light reggae inflections that hint of Steely Dan's "Haitian Divorce" -- the vocals are unmistakably Simone's. Like many of her albums, the content is wildly uneven; Simone simply covers too much ground and there's too little attention paid to how songs flow together. As a result, a robust torch piano ballad like "Music for Lovers" is followed immediately by one of Simone's more awkward moments, an attempt to keep up with a jaunty rhythm track on a cover of Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl." Still, one must give her credit for always being provocative in her cover song choices, as she clearly scores on the Randy Newman-penned title track and a dramatic reading of Judy Collins' "My Father." Her voice throughout is in fine form, even when she phones it in on the album-closing traditional gospel tunes, but arranger David Matthews is a mismatch for her: He blows the arrangements with excessive string overlays and needlessly blaring background vocals. Simone herself all but disavowed the album shortly after its release, testament to her eternally contrarian, iconic nature. Despite her misgivings, though, Baltimore is an occasionally spellbinding if erratic album, a challenging and worthwhile listen for people ready to dip into the lesser-known entries in Nina Simone's vast catalog.
© Joseph McCombs /TiVo

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