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Anthology: Colpix Years
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B, Broadway & Vocalists
This two-CD set collects tracks issued between 1959 and 1966. Although Nina Simone was to achieve greater public recognition after leaving Colpix Records, her recordings for the small label set the tone for her later work.... more »
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This two-CD set collects tracks issued between 1959 and 1966. Although Nina Simone was to achieve greater public recognition after leaving Colpix Records, her recordings for the small label set the tone for her later work. Anthology finds the singer-pianist tackling everything from ancient folk tunes ("Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" and even a slow-drag version of "Cotton Eyed Joe") to jazz and pop standards ("Fine and Mellow," "The Twelfth of Never"), and the occasional original. Similarly, the backing ranges from full orchestral arrangements to trio and quartet work. While the best known of Simone's music was to come after her tenure at Colpix, these discs well reflect her broad-minded, sensitive aesthetic. --Rickey Wright
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(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ah smooth, sweet Nina - a low sensuous flame - her voice will pick you up like a baby, carry you to bed, tuck you in and stroke your head as you fall asleep. Soooo many gorgeous songs, but for me the killer - the KILLER - is the most heart shreading ode to loving in vain, "If You Knew" on disc 2. Unparalleled in it's ability to destroy you and cover you with kisses as the same time,..those high, swooping background vocals-good lord! Have a few glasses of wine, dim the lights, dredge up those memories of the one that got away and have a good drunken cry curled up in Nina's soft lap of sound."
A bargain at any price.
JONOFOZ | Alexandria, LA | 03/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nina Simone's recorded musical legacy is a stunning one from beginning to end, regardless of record label. Her Colpix albums certainly don't pack quite the political punch that her later albums do, but all the emotion that would reach a boiling point in the late 60s can be found here, if at a gentle simmer. This compilation does a wonderful job of distilling the best of early Nina... I won't ramble on with details about each track (or even narrow things down to a list of highlights) because every track is amazing. If you're already a fan, this anthology might be redundant in what I'm sure is an already near-complete collection. If you are new to the club, this and Jazz Masters 17 (from post-Colpix years) are excellent starting points. This may sound a little hyperbolic, but if Amazon were charging three or four times the price for this, it'd still be a hell of a bargain. You don't have to buy this collection, but PLEASE buy SOMETHING by this amazing and sorely missed talent. She will become your best friend."
For Collectors Of Original Hits Nina Is One Of The Hardest T
JONOFOZ | 09/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nina Simone is one of those artists from the past with a large number of CDs currently on the market (much lime like Tony Bennett), but whose hit singles are hard to find, not only in one neat compilation, primarily because she recorded for several different labels and, most importantly, in their original format.
Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on February 21, 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina, she was a graduate of New York's Juliard School of Music who performed in clubs in the Philadelphia area before getting a contract with the small Bethlehem label in 1959. There, instead of cutting introductory singles as was the custom, she put out an LP. From that emerged the wonderful I Loves You, Porgy, first heard in 1933 in the George Gershwin folk opera Porgy And Bess. Backed with an equally-fine version of Love Me Or Leave Me, it went to # 2 R&B and # 18 Billboard Pop Hot 100 in October.
A year later she was with Colpix, the focus of this 2-CD set, where she cut some of her finest LPs, including a couple of singles that did well on the R&B charts. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, an old Bessie Smith # 15 hit from 1929 which, b/w Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair, went to # 23 R&B and # 93 Hot 100 in late summer 1960, followed at the end of the year by Trouble In Mind (a hit for Dinah Washington in 1952) which topped out at # 11 R&B and # 92 Hot 100 in January 1961. All four sides are in this release.
In 1965 she switched to Philips where, in July, she sent I Put A Spell On You to # 23 R&B and # 123 Hot 100 "bubble under" and in 1967 was recording for RCA Victor. There she continued with her preference for albums, but also racked up four more hit singles. First up was Do What You Gotta Do which peaked at # 43 R&B and # 83 Hot 100 in October 1968 b/w Peace Of Mind. The following January she was back with Ain't Got No; I Got Life from the Broadway hit Hair, a # 94 Hot 100 b/w Real Real, which was then followed in May by Revolution Part 1 which made it to # 41 R&B b/w Part 2. Her final charter was To Be Young, Gifted And Black b/w Save Me which turned out to be her second best in both markets, peaking at # 8 R&B and # 76 Hot 100 in December.
She was gifted, she was black and, at age 36, not exactly old. But her intense vocal and small combo jazz style quickly fell out of favour with the mass record-buying public and she never did return to the singles charts. But her albums continued to be critically-acclaimed, if not exactly top sellers. Following the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. she became even more actively involved in the civil rights movement, followed in later years by marriage and tax problems and, ultimately, a battle with breast cancer which eventually took her from us on April 21, 2003 at her home in France.
The trick now, if you're looking for original versions of her hits, is to sift through the many re-done and "live" versions. For collectors of hit singles, this one fills the bill only insofar as her Colpix years are concerned. What we need is an Eric Records or Ace of London all-encompassing album."