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Feeling Good: The Very Best of Nina Simone

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Pure Style and Class of Nina Simone

    The great author James Baldwin once stated that "the artist has always been a disturber of the peace in some way." When we hear Nina Simone sing with composed outrage such songs as "Mississippi Goddam," and "Work Song," in protest against the overt racism practiced during the 1960s in the southern U.S., we know that hers was indeed a politically charged consciousness. The singer's recording of "Mississippi Goddam" was so controversial when first released that Simone would come to attribute the decline of her career in the U.S., and her relocation to France, to the fallout that followed. However, the 20 songs gathered here on FEELING GOOD, THE VERY BEST OF NINA SIMONE, demonstrate that the greater range of her musical talents went far beyond social or political protest. <BR/><BR/>Trained as a classical pianist at the famed Juilliard School of Music, Simone was an extraordinary interpreter of song lyrics as well as of musical genres. In the title track of this CD, she draws listeners into an inspired celebration of life with a song that dozens of artists are now covering in 2007 (please note review of Randy Crawford's "Feeling Good.") She can croon seductively and vulnerably in songs like "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "Ne Me Quitte Pas," and "I Put a Spell on You." And yet she can also go straight to church on the gospel presentations "Take Me to the Water" and "I'm Going Back Home." Talent of such amazing caliber doesn't pop up every decade. This generous sampling of Simone's genius makes one very glad she came along and gave the world as much as she could when she did. <BR/><BR/>by Aberjhani

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