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Just Like a Woman: Nina Simone Sings Classic Songs of the '60s

Nina Simone

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Album Review

Nina Simone was not a rock singer per se, and indeed, not readily classified within any popular music style. But she did record quite a few covers of rock, folk-rock, and pop/rock songs during her stint with RCA in the late '60s and early '70s. This thematic compilation has 14 of them (though one stray track, "My Father," was actually recorded for CTI in 1978), including versions of songs by several of the era's most successful rock composers (Bob Dylan, George Harrison, the Bee Gees) and noteworthy emerging singer/songwriters (Randy Newman, Judy Collins, Sandy Denny, Hoyt Axton, and Jerry Jeff Walker). "House of the Rising Sun" (which Simone had first recorded in the early '60s, about half-a-dozen years before she cut the 1967 version featured on this disc) and Pete Seeger's "Turn! Turn! Turn!" were folk songs in their original incarnations, but they qualify too, having been made into chart-topping rock smashes by the Animals and the Byrds. It would be a mistake to regard this anthology as wholly representative of Simone's RCA recordings, or as a sampling of her best work from this or any other era; she recorded a wide swathe of material, including some of her own songs, from numerous genres. Still, these do testify to her abilities as an interpreter in this particular arena, though there are just a few songs (Axton's "The Pusher," Collins' "My Father," Denny's "Who Knows Where the Time Goes") that are relatively off the beaten track. Varying from solo-piano-and-vocal numbers to orchestrated arrangements, the production and performance are usually on the straightforward and restrained side, even if overall the results are somewhat more subdued, jazzy, adult pop-oriented, and tamer than the originals (or the most famous covers of the songs). Here's guessing that Judy Collins' late-'60s albums were a substantial influence on the approach Simone took to this sort of material, since Collins had covered a few of the tunes (Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," Denny's "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today") not long before Simone did. Don't by any means restrict yourself to this disc if you like what you hear here, since Simone made a lot of other fine recordings with different mindsets for RCA and other labels, though this does offer a reasonably original and consistent slant on well-known songs of the '60s.

Customer Reviews

The Incomparable Nina

does it again. This album helps proves that she was a master of all trades, whether it was rock, blues, soul, jazz, folk, anything. There is no one like her. Vastly underrated and one of the greatest vocal interpreters ever.

My Got, What A Treasure!

I've heard Nina's name for years but never really listened until 3:00AM this morning. How could I have missed all this incredible talent all these years. Life has a funny way of displaying the most incredible beauty.

The true voice

She is an amazing singer and vocalist but an incredible pianist too. I love to introduce her to people that have never heard her before. It's like opening up there mind to a new level of awesome! This album shows her ability to sing and interpret any song to her own.

Biography

Born: February 21, 1933 in Tryon, NC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Nina Simone was one of the most gifted vocalists of her generation, and also one of the most eclectic. Simone was a singer, pianist, and songwriter who bent genres to her will rather than allowing herself to be confined by their boundaries; her work swung back and forth between jazz, blues, soul, classical, R&B, pop, gospel, and world...
Full Bio
Just Like a Woman: Nina Simone Sings Classic Songs of the '60s, Nina Simone
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Vocal, Standards, Vocal Jazz
  • Released: May 07, 2007

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