Nina Simone Sings the Blues

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/17/2006
  • Label: Rca
  • UPC: 828767333427
  • Catalog Number: 73334
  • Sales rank: 70,409

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Nina Simone Primary Artist, Piano, Vocals
Richard Harris Trombone
Jimmy Cleveland Trombone
George Coleman Saxophone
Seldon Powell Saxophone
Weldon Irvine Organ, Conductor
Montego Joe Percussion
Norris Turney Saxophone
Everett Barksdale Guitar
Bob Bushnell Bass
George Devens Percussion
Eric Gale Guitar
Eileen Gilbert Vocals
Milt Grayson Vocals
Hilda Harris Vocals
Ernie Hayes Organ
Haywood Henry Saxophone
Buddy Lucas Harmonica, Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Nottingham Trumpet
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie Timpani
Maretha Stewart Vocals
Richard Tee Organ
Barbara Webb Vocals
Jerry Jemmott Bass
Gordon "Specs" Powell Percussion, Vibes
Rudy Stevenson Guitar
Jerry Graff Vocals
Harold "Money" Johnson Trumpet
Joe Shepley Trumpet
Wilbur Bascomb Jr. Trumpet
Ralph H. Fields Vocals
Noah Hopkins Vocals
Technical Credits
Nina Simone Composer
Buddy Johnson Composer
Weldon Irvine Arranger
Ph.D. A. Rae Price Composer
D. Bryan Composer
Mickey Crofford Engineer
Ray Hall Engineer
Sid McCoy Liner Notes
Richard Seidel Reissue Producer
Mark Wilder Mastering
David Nathan Liner Notes
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
DuBose Heyward Composer
Michelle Holme Art Direction
Abe Vélez Packaging Manager
L.C. Green Composer
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