Nina Simone for Lovers

Studio Album by released in 2005
Nina Simone for Lovers's tracklist:
I Loves You, Porgy
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What More Can I Say
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The Last Rose of Summer
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Fodder on My Wings
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Little Girl Blue
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If I Should Lose You
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I Love My Baby
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If You Knew / Let It Be Me
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Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair
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Nina Simone for Lovers review

Nina Simone's vocal and piano style, a blend of jazz, folk, pop, off-Broadway hip, and many other elements, was unique. So was her take on matters of the heart. Not for nothing her fans referred to her as “Goddess”. Her interpretations of familiar love songs were rarely tender, passive, or sweet — but they were always passionate and powerful. This second of two Nina Simone compilations issued in 2005 (and third in two years), For Lovers focuses on Simone's best romantic songs. It's not a thorough examination of her career by any stretch, but it does feature what many consider to be ideal performances her most well-known tracks: I Loves You Porgy from George Gershwin’s musical Porgy and Bess, Black Is Тhe Color Of My True Loves Hair, Rodgers & Hart’s Little Girl Blue, Dont Let Me Be Misunderstood, which the Animals covered, ETC. Listen to these eleven bracing, unsentimental lessons in love, and you will never think of that most universal subject in quite the same way again. Fans of Simone's work will already have many of these recordings courtesy of other records, but casual listeners wanting to hear the softer side of this revolutionary jazz chanteuse will find this an excellent place to start, and will want to dig deeper into her rich back catalog.

Born Eunice Waymon in North Carolina, Simone grew up in a family with eight children. She started out as a classical pianist, but in 1954 the financial necessity of her family led her to take a job in an Atlantic City nightclub. After auditioning for the gig, the owner told her that she could have it, but only if she agreed to sing as well. Thus, Nina ("little one") Simone (French actress Simone Signoret), was born. In 1959, she had a Top 20 hit I Loves You Porgy and this was the only song that Simone recorded in her entire career that made the Top 40. Hits were not a big concern, however. Simone did just fine performing in nightclubs and making albums, most of them live recordings. She recorded nine albums in the early 1960s alone. Her experimentation with timing, her use of silence, her low and intense vocals, her impeccable piano playing capabilities, and her inimitable live act, turned every song she sang into a fresh and magnificent Nina Simone creation.

Disgusted with show business, as well as with racism in the U.S.A., Simone moved to Barbados in 1974. In the years to come she lived in Liberia, Switzerland, Paris, the Netherlands, and the South of France. She has written her autobiography, I Put a Spell on You, received an Honorary Doctorate in Music and Humanities, and has continued to perform at festivals and events around the world. Nina Simone died at age 70 on April 21, 2003 at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, France, where she had been spending much of her retirement.

Despite her self imposed exile and her obvious outspoken lack of appreciation for the recording industry, Nina Simone is a legend of incalculable magnitude. Still today she is able to arouse new and young listeners, as well as hold the attention of life-long devoted fans. Nina Simone has burned her soulful, musical wonders on the psyche of jazz lovers everywhere, and has inspired love and compassion in places seemingly bereft of such trying emotions. While she's always been a great protest and political singer, Simone is also a superb romantic/love song stylist. Simone remains among America's premier performers, and this LP Nina Simone For Lovers is a welcome addition to her sparkling legacy.