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Nina Simone - Nina Simone Sings The Blues

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Nina Simone Sings The Blues

Nina Simone

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Nina Simone Sings the Blues, issued in 1967, was her RCA label debut, and was a brave departure from the material she had been recording for Phillips. Indeed, her final album for that label, High Priestess of Soul, featured the singer, pianist, and songwriter fronting a virtual orchestra. Here, Simone is backed by a pair of guitarists (Eric Gale and Rudy Stevenson), bassist (Bob Bushnell), drummer (Bernard "Pretty" Purdie), organist (Ernie Hayes), and harmonica player who doubled on saxophone (Buddy Lucas). Simone handled the piano chores. The song selection is key here. Because for all intents and purposes this is perhaps the rawest record Simone ever cut. It opens with the sultry, nocturnal, slow-burning original "Do I Move You," which doesn't beg the question but demands an answer: "Do I move you?/Are you willin'?/Do I groove you?/Is it thrillin'?/Do I soothe you?/Tell the truth now?/Do I move you?/Are you loose now?/The answer better be yeah...It pleases me...." As the guitarists slip and slide around her husky vocal, a harmonica wails in the space between, and Simone's piano is the authority, hard and purposely slow. The other tune in that vein, "In the Dark," is equally tense and unnerving; the band sounds as if it's literally sitting around as she plays and sings. There are a number of Simone signature tunes on this set, including "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl," "Backlash Blues," and her singular, hallmark, definitive reading of "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy and Bess. Other notable tracks are the raucous, sexual roadhouse blues of "Buck," written by Simone's then husband Andy Stroud, and the woolly gospel blues of "Real Real," with the Hammond B-3 soaring around her vocal. The cover of Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You" literally drips with ache and want. Simone also reprised her earlier performance of "House of the Rising Sun" (released on a 1962 Colpix live platter called At the Village Gate). It has more authority in this setting as a barrelhouse blues; it's fast, loud, proud, and wailing with harmonica and B-3 leading the charge. The original set closes with the slow yet sassy "Blues for Mama," ending with the same sexy strut the album began with, giving it the feel of a Möbius strip. Nina Simone Sings the Blues is a hallmark recording that endures; it deserves to be called a classic.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Nina Simone Sings The Blues

Nina Simone

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1
Do I Move You?
00:02:44

Ray Hall, Engineer - Danny Davis, Producer - Nina Simone, Composer - Nina Simone, Lyricist - Nina Simone, Performer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Day and Night
00:02:33

Rudy Stevenson, Composer - Rudy Stevenson, Lyricist - Ray Hall, Engineer - Danny Davis, Producer - Nina Simone, Performer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
In the Dark (Original Master/Mix)
00:02:56

Eric Gale, Guitar - Rudy Stevenson, Guitar - Ray Hall, Recording Engineer - Danny Davis, Producer - Lil Green, Composer - Lil Green, Lyricist - Buddy Lucas, Harmonica - Bernard Purdie, Drums - Nina Simone, Performer - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Piano

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Real Real
00:02:20

Mickey Crofford, Engineer - Danny Davis, Producer - Nina Simone, Composer - Nina Simone, Lyricist - Nina Simone, Performer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
My Man's Gone Now
00:04:15

George Gershwin, Composer - George Gershwin, Lyricist - Dubose Heyward, Composer - Dubose Heyward, Lyricist - Ray Hall, Recording Engineer - Danny Davis, Producer - Nina Simone, Performer

Originally recorded 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Backlash Blues
00:02:28

Buddy Lucas, Harmonica - Buddy Lucas, Tenor Saxophone - Danny Davis, Producer - Rudy Stevenson, Guitar - Bob Bushnell, Acoustic Bass - Ray Hall, Recording Engineer - Mickey Crofford, Recording Engineer - Bernard Purdie, Drums - Bernard Purdie, Timpani - Langston Hughes, Composer - Langston Hughes, Lyricist - Nina Simone, Performer - Nina Simone, Composer - Nina Simone, Lyricist - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Piano - Ernie Hayes, Organ - Eric Gale, Guitar

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
I Want a Little Sugar In My Bowl (Album Version)
00:02:32

Ray Hall, Recording Engineer - Danny Davis, Producer - Nina Simone, Composer - Nina Simone, Lyricist - Nina Simone, Performer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Buck
00:01:50

David Bryan, Composer - David Bryan, Lyricist - Andy Stroud, Composer - Andy Stroud, Lyricist - Ray Hall, Engineer - Danny Davis, Producer - Nina Simone, Performer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Since I Fell for You (Original Master/Mix)
00:02:50

Buddy Lucas, Harmonica - Danny Davis, Producer - Rudy Stevenson, Guitar - Bob Bushnell, Acoustic Bass - Ray Hall, Engineer - Buddy Johnson, Composer - Buddy Johnson, Lyricist - Bernard Purdie, Drums - Nina Simone, Performer - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Piano - Ernie Hayes, Organ - Eric Gale, Guitar

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
The House of the Rising Sun
00:03:51

Alan Price, Composer - Alan Price, Lyricist - Ray Hall, Engineer - Danny Davis, Producer - Nina Simone, Performer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
Blues for Mama
00:03:55

Buddy Lucas, Harmonica - Buddy Lucas, Tenor Saxophone - Danny Davis, Producer - Rudy Stevenson, Guitar - Bob Bushnell, Acoustic Bass - Ray Hall, Recording Engineer - Mickey Crofford, Recording Engineer - Bernard Purdie, Drums - Bernard Purdie, Timpani - Nina Simone, Performer - Nina Simone, Composer - Nina Simone, Lyricist - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Piano - Ernie Hayes, Organ - Eric Gale, Guitar - Abbey Lincoln, Composer - Abbey Lincoln, Lyricist

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
Do I Move You (Version II)
00:02:17

Buddy Lucas, Harmonica - Buddy Lucas, Tenor Saxophone - Danny Davis, Producer - Rudy Stevenson, Guitar - Bob Bushnell, Bass - Ray Hall, Recording Engineer - Ray Hall, Engineer - Mickey Crofford, Recording Engineer - Bernard Purdie, Drums - Bernard Purdie, Timpani - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Composer - Nina Simone, Lyricist - Nina Simone, Piano - Nina Simone, Performer - Ernie Hayes, Organ - Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Drums - Eric Gale, Guitar - Paul Williams, Producer

Originally Recorded 1967. All rights reserved by BMG Music

13
Whatever I Am (You Made Me)
00:03:02

George Coleman, Saxophone - Noah Hopkins, Vocal - Everett Barksdale, Guitar - Jerry Jemmott, Acoustic Bass - Maeretha Stewart, Vocal - Montego Joe, Percussion - George Devens, Percussion - Jimmy Nottingham, Trumpet - Seldon Powell, Saxophone - Barbara Webb, Vocal - Haywood Henry, Saxophone - Jimmy Cleveland, Trombone - Weldon Irvine, Arranger - Weldon Irvine, Conductor - Weldon Irvine, Organ - Milt Grayson, Vocal - Jerome Graff, Vocal - Gordon Powell, Vibraphone - Gordon Powell, Percussion - Richard Tee, Organ - Joe Shepley, Trumpet - Eric Gale, Guitar - Stroud Productions, Inc., Producer - Richard Harris, Trombone - Wilbur Bascomb, Trumpet - Eileen Gilbert, Vocal - Hilda Harris, Vocal - Norris Turney, Saxophone - Nina Simone, Performer - Nina Simone, Vocal - Nina Simone, Piano - Willie Dixon, Composer - Willie Dixon, Lyricist - Bernard Purdie, Drums - Ralph Fields, Vocal - Harold Johnson, Trumpet

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

Nina Simone Sings the Blues, issued in 1967, was her RCA label debut, and was a brave departure from the material she had been recording for Phillips. Indeed, her final album for that label, High Priestess of Soul, featured the singer, pianist, and songwriter fronting a virtual orchestra. Here, Simone is backed by a pair of guitarists (Eric Gale and Rudy Stevenson), bassist (Bob Bushnell), drummer (Bernard "Pretty" Purdie), organist (Ernie Hayes), and harmonica player who doubled on saxophone (Buddy Lucas). Simone handled the piano chores. The song selection is key here. Because for all intents and purposes this is perhaps the rawest record Simone ever cut. It opens with the sultry, nocturnal, slow-burning original "Do I Move You," which doesn't beg the question but demands an answer: "Do I move you?/Are you willin'?/Do I groove you?/Is it thrillin'?/Do I soothe you?/Tell the truth now?/Do I move you?/Are you loose now?/The answer better be yeah...It pleases me...." As the guitarists slip and slide around her husky vocal, a harmonica wails in the space between, and Simone's piano is the authority, hard and purposely slow. The other tune in that vein, "In the Dark," is equally tense and unnerving; the band sounds as if it's literally sitting around as she plays and sings. There are a number of Simone signature tunes on this set, including "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl," "Backlash Blues," and her singular, hallmark, definitive reading of "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy and Bess. Other notable tracks are the raucous, sexual roadhouse blues of "Buck," written by Simone's then husband Andy Stroud, and the woolly gospel blues of "Real Real," with the Hammond B-3 soaring around her vocal. The cover of Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You" literally drips with ache and want. Simone also reprised her earlier performance of "House of the Rising Sun" (released on a 1962 Colpix live platter called At the Village Gate). It has more authority in this setting as a barrelhouse blues; it's fast, loud, proud, and wailing with harmonica and B-3 leading the charge. The original set closes with the slow yet sassy "Blues for Mama," ending with the same sexy strut the album began with, giving it the feel of a Möbius strip. Nina Simone Sings the Blues is a hallmark recording that endures; it deserves to be called a classic.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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