Friday, May 17, 2024

Nina Simone’s Early Recordings Reissued in Comprehensive 107-Track Collection

Renowned for her distinctive voice and unparalleled musical versatility, Nina Simone's early recordings are being celebrated in an expansive reissue. With an astounding 107 tracks covering over seven hours of music, this collection encompasses her formative years at Colpix Records, presenting the original albums The Amazing Nina Simone (1959), Nina Simone at Town Hall (1959), Nina at Newport (1960), Forbidden Fruit (1961), Nina at the Village Gate (1962), Nina Simone Sings Ellington (1962), Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall (1963), and Folksy Nina (recorded in 1963, released in 1964). Additionally, the set includes 29 bonus tracks consisting of single edits, non-LP sides, and a wealth of other material unearthed from the Colpix tape vaults in the early 2000s.

This collection showcases Simone’s first interpretations of classics such as Wild Is The Wind, I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out, and Sinner Man—key tracks that she would revisit in later albums after her tenure with Colpix ended. It also features a diverse array of material, from the emotive torch songs You Can Have Him and The Other Woman to the gospel-flavored Children Go Where I Send You, and a later version of Simone’s first US breakthrough hit I Loves You Porgy. Her unique takes on folk songs like Cotton Eyed Joe, Little Liza Jane, and Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair further illustrate her eclecticism and artistry.

The reissue benefits from stellar remastering by Nick Robbins, ensuring that each track is presented with the highest audio fidelity. The exemplary artwork design by Tony Hodsoll adds a visual charm that complements the musical richness.

In addition to the music, the collection features a personal essay by Aaron Overfield, Simone’s official archivist, offering an intimate glimpse into her life and work. Renowned film producer and storyteller Nia Hill, who serves as the librettist of the opera Nina Simone’s Absurde, provides insightful commentary that contextualizes Simone's cultural and musical impact. Historian and SoulMusic Records’ reissue producer David Nathan, who founded the first UK Appreciation Society for Nina Simone in 1965, contributes extensive notes that detail the significance of Simone's recordings during this period.

This essential reissue not only honors Nina Simone’s early career but also offers a comprehensive look at her development as an artist. It captures the essence of a legendary performer who seamlessly blended genres and transcended musical boundaries, leaving an indelible mark on the world of music. For fans and new listeners alike, this collection is a testament to Simone's enduring legacy and unparalleled contribution to the arts.

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