Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Four Women: Nina Simone Philips Recordings
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B, Broadway & Vocalists
This beautiful, 4-CD set takes all seven albums that Nina Simone recorded for Philips - Broadway/Blues/Ballads, I Put A Spell On You, Pastel Blues, Let It All Out, Wild Is The Wind and the classics Nina Simone in Concert... more »
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This beautiful, 4-CD set takes all seven albums that Nina Simone recorded for Philips - Broadway/Blues/Ballads, I Put A Spell On You, Pastel Blues, Let It All Out, Wild Is The Wind and the classics Nina Simone in Concert and High Priestess of Soul - and packages them with a 56-page booklet containing rare photos and detailed liner notes to form a tremendous tribute to one of the great singers and personalities of our time. The discs are housed in sleeves within the hardback book, which is housed in a 'snakeskin' slipcase. Verve Records. 2003.
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Unequal;not the Colpix years,but essential moments
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | BESANCON France | 07/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of course,the most essential works by Miss Nina Simone,born Eunice Kathleen Waymon (1933-2003) are included in her Colpix recordings: Nina at Town Hall,Nina at Newport,at the Village Gate,Nina sings Duke Ellington,Nina with strings,Nina at Carnegia Hall,Forbidden Fruit,the amazing Nina Simone:here are the most necessary records by this immense pianist and singer,and simply,here are some of the most essential music of all times.An incredible amount of masterpieces figure in these records.Following the Colpix years, here are the Philips years,covering years 1964 to 1966.The material is much more unequal than during the Colpix years.Some tunes are rather boring.It seems like Nina could record every tune she loved during the Colpix years,and should record the tunes she was ordered to play during the Philips years.Just like Billie,or Fats Waller,25 or 35 years before.
So,here is an unequal set of four CDs;it shouldn't deserve five stars.But here are such terrific masterpieces than,even if a half of the tunes were great ones,the set would deserve this rating.
It is very difficult to review a four CD set,made of 74 tunes,without beeing boring;so,I won't tell you about all these tunes.
I'll just tell you that Nina Simone was ,first,one of the most fascinating and beautiful human beings of the last century,then one of the four most marvelous voices of jazz (with Billie,Dinah,and Lil Green),and one of the most fantastic piano player and musician of all times.When you listen to her,you're listening to a giant in the history of music.A Master.
I'll just tell you that Nina's life was a life of despair and sadness.She was used by men like few female jazz artists were,except Billie.The two greatest jazz singers had the saddest lives you can imagine.I have the greatest respect for these two magnificent women,who were so intelligent,so emotional and so beautiful,and who lived such dark years.They were two of the greatest treasures the world ever had.
Unequal,so why should you buy this set?
Maybe simply, for "the last rose of summer",the last track of CD n°1.An incredibly beautiful southern ballad,in which Nina sings in an outstanding way.For "Mississippi Goddam";and Gershwin's "I love you Porgy",and Duke's "Mood indigo" and "the gals from Joe's",for "work song","four women","if I should lose you","love me or leave me","don't explain","this year's kisses","chauffeur"....
Don't think I'm foolish giving this set five stars,even it's not at the same level as the Colpix records;here are some absolute masterpieces;here are some of the very best of an immense musician (yes,singers are musicians too,and surely some of the best ones);here are some of the highest moments of Miss Nina Simone,who gave us such incredible treasures;the 70 years old woman who died three month ago was one of the major musician in the history of the 20th century's music.
Rest in peace,dear Eunice;and thanks a million for the amazing moments of beauty you gave to the world.So long, Nina."
H. F. Corbin | ATLANTA, GA USA | 06/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recently released, the boxed set of 4 CD's contains all the recordings Nina Simone made for the Philips label from 1964 to 1966. There is also a beautifully written and illustrated book complete with great photographs about this unique artist. Many of the songs we love are on here though unfortunately not all of them since Ms. Simone had not done the BeeGees songs or Dylan at this time. (Or Rod McKuen for that matter. Who else but Nina could make his songs less than syrupy and sentimental?)There has never been a singer quite like this wonderful artist. There seems to have been no type of song she couldn't sing from "I Loves You, Porgy" to "Mississippi Goddam" to "Nearer Blessed Lord" to "The Last Rose of Summer." When Ms. Simone sang them, she put her own DNA on them and they became her own. Born in North Carolina, Ms. Simone was raised singing in the church and was trained at Julliard as a classical pianist. These CD's illustrate her background and training background so well. Sometimes the piano becomes another voice in a dialogue with the singer rather than a mere accompaniment. She is impossible to categorize-- jazz, gospel, blues, folk, classical- all of the above and then some. So many emotions here: joy, sadness, anger, love.There is a quotation attributed to Richard Pryor in the booklet accompanying these CD's: "White people had Judy Garland -- We had Nina. ." I'm sure this is a true statement. Nina Simone, thank godness, is loved and revered all over the world by people of all races who love good music-- and believe in freedom.This CD is a bargain at any price."
Extensive Book Alone Is Worth the Price, Absolutely ESSENTIA
Peter | East of Los Angeles | 05/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like many of Nina's Fans, I already own just about every CD /LP issued on Nina, including her work for the Philips label. At first I thought plunking down $35 on this 4-CD box set was redundant, especially when I have the songs. Then I heard about the extensive project and digital sound remastering Verve/Universal was undergoing for this collection, and it seemed worth the price. By the way, some have accused Verve/Universal of "Cashing In" on Nina's sudden passing in 2003 with this collection since it was released only weeks after her death in April 2003. Actually this project was commissioned by Universal in October 2002. The box set was a work in progress six months BEFORE Nina died.
The beautiful leather-bound box set houses each of the four CD's in a separate sleeve. What sets this Nina Simone Anthology apart from all others is the extensive 56-page book --- full of rare, never-before-seen photographs of "The High Priestess of Soul". There are detailed liner notes about the songs, their historical context and some behind-the-scenes "dishy dirt" about Nina's tempermental clashes with producers, songwriters, musicians, and other artists. No one can ever accuse Nina Simone of being BORING ! Upon playing the CD's, the first thing you notice is how gorgeous it sounds with every nuance and detail of Nina's voice and music captured. If you already own the Verve CD's, believe me, listening to this box set is like hearing them for the FIRST time. It's THAT good !
If you are a die-hard Nina Simone Fan, I advise you to get this box set while you can. Universal/Verve is no longer producing these since they are costly to make. There are still plenty in music stores like Tower, Virgin, or even here on Amazon. If you see this marked down to a good price (anything within $30) -- GET IT !! Many of Nina's Fans will argue whether the Philips Years were her BEST. I do feel the music she recorded up until 1968 are absolutely ESSENTIAL, so this Philips Collection is part of that era.
After 1968, I feel her music started to veer in a new direction. She was taking on too many cover songs sung by other artists (Bee Gees, Dylan, Byrds, Sinatra). She was also taking a long, hard look at the socio-political situation of the Sixties. Not that these issues don't matter, but the music sounded different. They often come off as hard-toned and militant. At Philips, even though she did songs like "Four Women" and "Mississippi Goddam", there was none of the bitter tone or militancy associated with her RCA recordings. With the exception of her first release for RCA "Nina Simone Sings the Blues" (which is another essential MUST HAVE), the RCA years found Nina singing less and less songs about matters of the heart and more about the tumultuous socio-political climate around her. She was also ill-advised to record TOO MANY cover songs by other artists after she left the Philips label. It seems her own uniqueness and originality had deserted her. Sometimes these songs sound ill fitting. If you listen to her cover of the Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn", you get the sense she sounded BORED with the material. One does not get this impression with the Philips recordings at all. Even when she covers an important politically-charged theme like lynching in "Strange Fruit" (originally sung by the one and only Billie Holiday), Nina's version was fresh, electric, and shocking in her own unique way. That is one good example of doing a protest song and still sounding musical and political at the same time.
The Philips Years - Four Women Box Set captures a unique, maturing woman and artist at the absolute peak of her artistry and musicality. Get it while you can !"