VERVE JAZZ MASTERS 17 - Nina Simone
TRACK LISTING: Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair, I Put A Spell On You, Love Me or Leave Me, Little Girl Blue, My Baby Just Cares For Me (Live), I Loves You Porgy, Work Song, Ne Me Quitte Pas, Wild Is the Wind, See-Line Woman, Strange Fruit, Pirate Jenny, Four Women, Mississippi Goddamn, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, I Hold No Grudge
IMPRESSIONS: Shame and tribulation on me for choosing this late compilation instead of a "real" album for the High Priestess of Soul but this is in fact the first Nina Simone album I ever got -- spurred on by that Bridget Fonda movie POINT OF NO RETURN which features Nina all over the soundtrack and as an actual important part in the film itself. This is a good, if by no means definitive, collection of songs; the version of "My Baby Just Cares For Me" found here is a very inferior live version (the real one can be found on the PETER'S FRIENDS soundtrack) and such huge Nina songs as "Feelin' Good" and "Sinnerman" are nowhere to be found. Nonetheless, this comp features some indispensible songs including her version of "Little Girl Blue" (which features Nina interpolating "Good King Wenceslas" on the piano in a kind of mash-up), "I Put A Spell On You", her huge initial hit "I Loves You Porgy", the otherworldly "Black is the Color..." and "Wild Is the Wind" (which David Bowie would cover). Also not to be missed are the live versions of "Mississippi Goddamn" (which is funny and full of rage at the same time) and "Pirate Jenny" (which is so electric that the live audience becomes so hushed you could hear a pin drop!). The compilation ends with the triumphant anthem "I Hold No Grudge"; another of my faves which should probably be deemed one of my theme songs after the line "I'm the kind of people you can step on for a little while but when I call it quits, baby, that's it!".
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair, I Put A Spell On You, Love Me or Leave Me, Little Girl Blue, I Loves You Porgy, Ne Me Quitte Pas, Wild Is the Wind, See-Line Woman, Strange Fruit, Pirate Jenny, Mississippi Goddamn, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, I Hold No Grudge
FACT SHEET: "I Put A Spell On You" is a 1965 cover of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins song. "My Baby Just Cares For Me" is a live performance from 1987. Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" would be covered by various artists including Tom Jones and Scott Walker. "Wild Is the Wind" would be covered by David Bowie. "Strange Fruit" is a 1965 cover version of the Billie Holiday song. Nina's own composition "Mississippi Goddamn" and the Kurt Weill-Bertoldt Brecht "Pirate Jenny" were both recorded live at a 1964 concert; "Mississippi Goddamn" is Nina's first original song of protest written in 1963 after the murders of Medger Evers and the "4 Little Girls" in Alabama. Nina recorded "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" in 1964 and it failed to become a hit; the Animals covered it a year later and had a huge hit with it -- a fact Simone resented deeply as she considered the song very personal to herself.