May 28, 2012

Nina Simone - Sings the Blues + ...


barabara sounds sez:  
Time for some Nina. I always have time for some Nina. Especially this one from 1967, her first on RCA and one of my all-time favorites (and I love that cover art). She sure does sing those blues: file this under 'R' for Real Real.

dusty groove sez:
Nina's not just singing the blues here – she's completely reinventing the sound of the format – by drawing on a long tradition of vocal expression, and infusing it with the hipper, more personally exploratory mode she forged in the 60s! The album's got a subtle brilliance that means it's sometimes overlooked next to her more forceful work of the time – but it's every bit essential Simone as some of her other key sides of the decade. The group is a small combo featuring Eric Gale, Bernard Purdie, Buddy Lucas, and Ernest Hayes... 

tracks:
Do I Move You?; Day and Night; In the Dark; Real Real; My Man's Gone Now; Backlash Blues; I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl; Buck; Since I Fell for You; The House of the Rising Sun; Blues for Mama.

personnel:
Nina Simone piano, vocals; Rudy Stevenson guitar; Eric Gale guitar; Bernard Purdie drums; Bob Bushnell bass; Ernest Hayes organ; Buddy Lucas harmonica, tenor sax.



Ah hell, let's make it a double: At Town Hall was the concert that put her on the map and made her a star. It was quite a performance. Here's a nifty review:

cokemanchineglow sez:
Despite being pound-for-pound the best straight-up jazz release in Simone’s catalogue, At Town Hall is strangely underrated. Lists of her signature tunes—“I Loves You Porgy,” “My Baby Just Cares For Me,” etc. — neglect the top flight fare here, like the hard swinging “Exactly Like You” or the deep, rumbling burn of “The Other Woman.” Simone even enters the old folk song “Black Is The Color of My True Loves Hair” — here given a vocal performance of impossibly subtlety — into the standard jazz repertoire without getting too much notice. Nevertheless, these tracks have the tight backing and titanic emotional force of the best Nina Simone, if not the best of her era.

Recorded partially live and partially in the studio, At Town Hall does suffer from a bit of the patchiness of Simone’s early albums. It’s strange that both an instrumental and vocal version of “Summertime” are included (or, depending on how you look at it, that Simone’s take has an intro longer than the song itself), and “Return Home” is an unfocused Afro-Cuban interlude. Yet even amongst these distractions, “Wild is the Wind” and Billie Holiday’s “Fine and Mellow” serve up Simone’s soulful jazz with formidable gusto. Her piano is expansive and thrilling without being overwrought, and the rhythm section is pitch perfect throughout. On balance, At Town Hall is an album of underrated classics, filled with stunning performances and one of the finest voices in the history of jazz. It’s all heartbreak gorgeously rendered, and while the few upbeat moments offer some reprieve, Simone’s staggering ballads sing the glory of love imperfect and love lost. 

tracks:
Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair; Exactly Like You; The Other Woman; Under the Lowest; You Can have Him; Summertime (instrumental); Summertime (vocal); Cotton-eyed Joe; Return Home; Wild is the WInd; Fine and Mellow.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's already starting to feel like Summertime, here in the land of the Rising Sun...

Sings the Blues:
http://www.mediafire.com/?129g8p1mos7od9m

At Town Hall
http://www.mediafire.com/?u4qksdqf0o2l485

Drop a comment and I'll feel all Fine and Mellow!

Anonymous said...

Muchas Gracias. Danielo

bongo hito said...

Hey - "Town Hall" is new to me. Looks tasty. Nice changeup, AFAIC. Happy Summer, TN!

bongo hito said...

"Town Hall" is new to me and looks tasty. Thanks for your peerless taste, as always.

Happy Summer, TN!

taro nombei said...

@ Danielo
mucho gusto!

taro nombei said...

@ bongo hito
My favorite time of year. Enjoy!

john said...

Many thanks for the Nina Simone - The other woman has to be one of the most brilliant songs ever recorded anywhere, any time by anyone. It's stunning here.

Anonymous said...

Lovely site. I'm told I need a password for the Town Hall. What might that be?

Anonymous said...

OK forget what I just said, I went back to download page and whaddya know! Many thanks for this stuff.

taro nombei said...

@ John
The Other Woman is a great song and it's been covered by a lot of singers -- but Nina really nails it!

Dan Leo said...

Thanks!

JennyD said...

Oh my! What luck to see that Nina's "Sings The Blues" was still posted. I'm a die-hard fan and thought I had it but what I had was "The Blues" which is entirely different. Thanks SO much. I have been reading your posts for a few months and learning much. Excellent work :D

taro nombei said...

@ JennyD
Glad you're enjoying the Nina — and the other stuff too. Dig deep, there's plenty to discover!
Thanks for letting me know :-)