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Four Women: The Nina Simone Philips Recordings

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
From 1964 to 1967, the late Nina Simone recorded for Philips, releasing some of the most popular music of her long career. It's a period which coincided with her transformation from a chocolate-voiced jazz singer to an emblematic figure of the Civil Rights movement, and finally her incarnation as the High Priestess of Soul. Just some of the tracks from this period -- "Mississippi Goddam," "Four Women," "The Other Woman," "I Put a Spell on You," "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair" -- go a long way toward establishing the artistry and impact of Nina Simone. These albums will be available in a new boxed four-disc collection, featuring the individual titles Nina Simone In Concert, Broadway. Blues. Ballads, I ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
From 1964 to 1967, the late Nina Simone recorded for Philips, releasing some of the most popular music of her long career. It's a period which coincided with her transformation from a chocolate-voiced jazz singer to an emblematic figure of the Civil Rights movement, and finally her incarnation as the High Priestess of Soul. Just some of the tracks from this period -- "Mississippi Goddam," "Four Women," "The Other Woman," "I Put a Spell on You," "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair" -- go a long way toward establishing the artistry and impact of Nina Simone. These albums will be available in a new boxed four-disc collection, featuring the individual titles Nina Simone In Concert, Broadway. Blues. Ballads, I Put a Spell On You, Pastel Blues, Let It All Out, Wild Is the Wind, and her definitive High Priestess of Soul. The box set also includes one bonus track, "A Monster" and liner notes by jazz authority Ashley Kahn, author of A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Nina Simone recorded seven albums for the Philips label between 1964 and 1966. It was the period in her career in which her reputation was cemented as a world-class artist, and one in which she gained fame for her contributions to the civil rights movement as well. Despite the fact that she recorded great albums both before and after her years with Philips most notably with RCA, her Philips period is easily her most enigmatic. Among her Philips recordings are her live label debut and six studio recordings featuring wildly varying instrumentation, arrangements, and contents. The box contains all seven LPs on four CDs, and includes one bonus track. But Simone's Philips period is a monolithic accomplishment when measured against many of her peers, both male and female. First there is the audacious Nina Simone in Concert recording, done on two separate dates in New York in March and April of 1964 and issued later that summer. Simone's political stance with "Old Jim Crow," "Mississippi Goddam," and Weill and Brecht's "Pirate Jenny" makes them feel like they are of a piece with Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" and Willard Robison's "Don't Smoke in Bed," where blues, jazz, folk songs, and Broadway tunes all come together in that theatrical, sultry, and smoldering voice. The reality of that initial performance was further reinforced on the Broadway-Blues-Ballads disc, which opens with the definitive rendition of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and George Bass' wondrous "See Line Woman." Going from the small combo concert album -- where Simone accompanied herself on piano, to the lush orchestrations of the Broadway-Blues-Ballads album, with Hal Mooney conducting and writing the charts, is a jarring yet complementary experience. But it is on I Put a Spell on You, with its large and lush orchestral backing, and the chamber jazz setting of Pastel Blues that Simone's truly diva-like quality asserts itself. Working again with Mooney and complemented by Horace Ott on the former album, Simone found the orchestral formula and used it as a single musical instrument. True, it was one she could manipulate in terms of color and dynamic, but nonetheless, she used it as one would use a guitar, a saxophone, or a piano. Her voice found challenge and support in the various chromatic figures presenting themselves in songs like the title track, Charles Aznavour's "Tomorrow Is My Turn," "Take Care of Business," "Our September Song," "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," "Tell Me More and Then Some," "Strange Fruit," "Chilly Winds Don't Blow," and others, offering a vocalist in control not only of the melody, but the flow of emotion in the song, imparting its message to the instrumentalists and listeners even as it occurs to her in the act of singing. On Let It All Out, Simone went back to work with Ott. Here she covered everyone from Bob Dylan "The Ballad of Hollis Brown" to Duke Ellington "Mood Indigo" to Rodgers & Hart on her signature tune "Little Girl Blue", and she co-wrote the inimitable, compelling "Images." But it is on Four Women subtitled Wild Is the Wind where Simone revealed how fully in control she was of virtually any repertoire she chose to sing. This is the gentlest of Simone's albums and arguably her best. Working with Ott -- who wrote a pair of songs for the album -- she showed a tenderness that was never as naked before or after as it was on tracks such as the title authored by Simone and "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair." On her last album for the label, Simone turned the tables once again. Recording with an orchestra arranged and conducted by Mooney this time out, as well as playing piano, Simone took on Chuck Berry "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man", Nat Adderley and Oscar Brown, Jr. "Work Song", Angelo Badalamenti "I Hold No Grudge", and Ellington "The Gal from Joe's", as well as herself and Rudy Stevenson, her longstanding guitarist, in her quest to thwart pop music's then radio-friendly dictum that substance was not to be rewarded with record sales. And she succeeded. Simone's career at this time, and forevermore, really would be inextricably entwined with the triumphs and tribulations of the civil rights movement, and she would not argue or complain. But it's far from dogmatic protest music that's featured here, but the true triumph of the era, in that a woman of Simone's uncompromising stature and artistry would be as highly visible and successful as she was. Four Women documents all the knots, turns, twists, peaks, and valleys of that journey and makes for an essential listening experience. This is history, this is art, this is the joy of pop at its finest.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/20/2003
  • Label: Verve
  • UPC: 044006502120
  • Catalog Number: 065021
  • Sales rank: 17,566

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 I Loves You, Porgy (2:33)
  2. 2 Plain Gold Ring (6:24)
  3. 3 Pirate Jenny (6:40)
  4. 4 Old Jim Crow (2:41)
  5. 5 Don't Smoke in Bed (5:32)
  6. 6 Go Limp (7:07)
  7. 7 Mississippi Goddam (4:57)
  8. 8 Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (2:48)
  9. 9 Night Song (3:06)
  10. 10 The Laziest Gal in Town (2:19)
  11. 11 Something Wonderful (2:46)
  12. 12 Don't Take All Night (2:54)
  13. 13 Nobody (4:19)
  14. 14 I Am Blessed (2:57)
  15. 15 Of This I'm Sure (2:37)
  16. 16 See Line Woman (2:38)
  17. 17 Our Love (Will See Us Through) (3:01)
  18. 18 How Can I? (2:07)
  19. 19 The Last Rose of Summer (3:04)
Disc 2
  1. 1 I Put a Spell on You (2:37)
  2. 2 Tomorrow Is My Turn (2:52)
  3. 3 Ne Me Quitte Pas (3:38)
  4. 4 Marriage Is for Old Folks (3:33)
  5. 5 July Tree (2:44)
  6. 6 Gimme Some (3:02)
  7. 7 Feeling Good (2:57)
  8. 8 One September Day (2:51)
  9. 9 Blues on Purpose (3:20)
  10. 10 Beautiful Land (1:57)
  11. 11 You've Got to Learn (2:44)
  12. 12 Take Care of Business (2:06)
  13. 13 Be My Husband (3:22)
  14. 14 Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (2:41)
  15. 15 End of the Line (2:57)
  16. 16 Trouble in Mind (2:43)
  17. 17 Tell Me More and More and Then Some (3:10)
  18. 18 Chilly Winds Don't Blow (4:03)
  19. 19 Ain't No Use (3:03)
  20. 20 Strange Fruit (3:31)
  21. 21 Sinner Man (10:19)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Mood Indigo (2:29)
  2. 2 The Other Woman (3:06)
  3. 3 Love Me or Leave Me (4:08)
  4. 4 Don't Explain (4:22)
  5. 5 Little Girl Blue (2:35)
  6. 6 Chauffeur (2:51)
  7. 7 For Myself (2:08)
  8. 8 The Ballad of Hollis Brown (4:58)
  9. 9 This Year's Kisses (3:02)
  10. 10 Images (2:54)
  11. 11 Nearer Blessed Lord (4:33)
  12. 12 I Love Your Lovin' Ways (2:39)
  13. 13 Four Women (4:28)
  14. 14 What More Can I Say (2:52)
  15. 15 Lilac Wine (4:16)
  16. 16 That's All I Ask (2:31)
  17. 17 Break Down and Let It All Out (2:41)
  18. 18 Why Keep on Breaking My Heart (2:37)
  19. 19 Wild Is the Wind (7:00)
  20. 20 Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair (3:28)
  21. 21 If I Should Lose You (3:58)
  22. 22 Either Way I Lose (2:43)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Don't You Pay Them No Mind (3:09)
  2. 2 I'm Gonna Leave You (2:19)
  3. 3 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (2:06)
  4. 4 Keeper of the Flame (3:26)
  5. 5 The Gal from Joe's (2:48)
  6. 6 Take Me to the Water (2:49)
  7. 7 I'm Going Back Home (2:50)
  8. 8 I Hold No Grudge (2:21)
  9. 9 Come Ye (3:39)
  10. 10 He Ain't Comin' Home No More (3:10)
  11. 11 Work Song (3:07)
  12. 12 I Love My Baby (4:04)
  13. 13 A Monster (2:43)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Nina Simone Primary Artist, Piano, Vocals
Hal Mooney Conductor
Horace Ott Conductor
Al Schackman Guitar, Harmonica
Rudy Stevenson Flute, Guitar
Lisle Atkinson Bass, Percussion
Bobby Hamilton Drums
Technical Credits
Marc Blitzstein Composer
George Gershwin Composer
Dimitri Tiomkin Composer
Kurt Weill Composer
Erik Darling Composer
Irving Berlin Composer
Nina Simone Arranger, Composer
Chuck Berry Composer
Bob Dylan Composer
Steve Hackett Composer
Nat Adderley Composer
Irving Mills Composer
Jacques Brel Composer
Andy Badale Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Mort Shuman Cover Photo
Hal Mooney Arranger, Producer
Van McCoy Composer
Pure Composer
Charles Aznavour Composer
Richard M. Jones Composer
Bertolt Brecht Composer
Oscar Brown Jr. Composer
Eve Merriam Composer
Bennie Benjamin Composer
Barney Bigard Composer
Billie Holiday Composer
Leslie Bricusse Composer
James Cox Composer
Walter Donaldson Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Ronnie Gilbert Composer
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
Lorenz Hart Composer
Screamin' Jay Hawkins Composer
Lee Hays Composer
Fred Hellerman Composer
Arthur Herzog Jr. Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Peter Keepnews Note Editing
Hecky Krasnow Composer
Leroy Kirkland Composer
Chic Medley Composer
Anthony Newley Composer
Horace Ott Arranger, Composer
Cole Porter Composer
Ralph Rainger Composer
Leo Robin Composer
Robert Scott Composer
Marcel Stellman Composer
George Stone Composer
Charles Strouse Composer
Harry Warren Composer
Ned Washington Composer
Bert Williams Composer
Rudy Stevenson Composer
Alex Rogers Composer
James Alan Shelton Composer
Don Bronstein Cover Photo
Isabelle Wong Art Direction
Nat Adderley Jr. Composer
Jimmy Cox Composer
Hollis King Art Direction
DuBose Heyward Composer
Willard Robison Composer
Maurice Seymour Cover Photo
Jackie Alper Composer
Sol Marcus Composer
Jessie Mae Robinson Composer
Sidney Wyche Composer
Earl Shuman Composer
Yves Stephane Composer
Andy Stroud Composer
Jeff Willens Mastering
Richard Ahlert Composer
George Bass Composer
Gloria Caldwell Composer
Leon Carr Composer
John Clifford Composer
Alex Comfort Composer
Waring Cuney Composer
Ron Vander Groef Composer
Eunice Waymon Composer
Ashley Kahn Liner Notes
Traditional Composer
Ken Druker Executive Producer
Lewis Allan Composer
Lee Adams Composer
William Lovelock Composer
John Edmondson Composer
Irma Jurist Composer
Wade Jr. Brown Composer
Thomas Moore Composer
A. Stroud Composer
W. Robinson Composer
Charles Derringer Composer
E. Burroughs Composer
J. M. Robinson Composer
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