"In her introduction to "Who Knows Where The Times Goes" on this fantastic CD, Nina Simone says that time transcends race. Sadly, we are reminded that racism in this country practically drove this great singer mad. I purchased this CD for this cut alone. As always Ms. Simone takes a song that we think we know or that somone else has sung what we think is the definitive version and makes it her own all over again. That is precisely what happens here. It's as if you have never heard this music before. With a simple accompaniment, Simone sings this sad, haunting ballad. I have been loving this woman's albums for over thirty years and didn't know she recorded this beauty in 1970. In the recent movie "The Dancer Upstairs," the movie ends with a young girl dancing while Ms. Simone sings this song. I knew I had to own Ms. Simone's version of this Sandy Denny lyric.There are many other wonderful songs as well on this 2 CD set. "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,""To Love Somebody," "Here Comes The Sun," "Just Like A Woman." I had not heard this arrangement of "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" before. Finally "Everyone's Going To The Moon" has Ms. Simone playing piano. You can imagine what a great concert pianist she would have been. But we would have been the losers, not to have witnessed her magnificant voice.Of the 31 cuts on this set, at least 10 of them were recorded on the recently released "Four Women" 3 CD set that contains all the songs Ms. Simone recorded for Verve in the 60's, I believe. I would have purchased this CD, however, if everything but "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" had been on the previous CD.I wouldn't have missed hearing Ms. Simone sing this song."
A misunderstood and underappreciated national treasure
guillermoj | Washington, DC United States | 05/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of this country's most renowned singers is also one of the most misunderstood. And no, this is not a cheesy segway into her great version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." Nina Simone was never as popular as she should have been due her strength of refusal to be a puppet for neither record company executives, racism, and even the audience's refusal to support a talent who refused to be pegged as either solely a jazz, soul, blues, gospel, standards, or Broadway artist. Her story in a way is similar to Tina Turner's in that she eventually got fed up and felt she needed to leave the US to make the most of her life and not to suffer some of the hardships/prejudices that some would like to sweep under the rug for people.But what about the music? Well one listen to this remastered 2 CD collection will give any fan or future convert an overview of a versatile treasure who could sing the most tender and elegant of songs and immediately display her anger and frustration, especially when it came to issues surrounding the Civil Rights Movement. The common denominator that I found in hearing all these treasures was a certain elegance, soulfulness, and pride that left do doubt about her feelings regarding any song she was singing. On the other hand, she never resorted to the histrionics of other singers and both her pain and joy were tempered and best appreciated by listening very carefully to the way she uses silence as much as her voice to interpret any given song.It's amazing that Simone sounds equally good in both studio productions and live performances, and this collection is peppered with many of both. In a nutshell, I think that this is a must have collection and that with the exception of a few covers towards the end of the second CD (Here Comes The Sun and Rich Girl), is perfect. Since I was not around during her most productive period, I am not sure if any of her essential songs are missing, so if you've been are a hard-core fan, consult the song list to make sure that none of your favorites are missing.Although not relevant to this review, I think that those who love some of the artists thoughtlessly clumped as "neo-soul" artists, owe themselves the pleasure of listening to some of the masters to get a better un understanding and perspective to the music that they listen to. I am amazed by how great treasures like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Etta James, and Stevie Wonder (just to name a few) still sound fresher than much of what is hailed as the cream of the crop these days. If for example, you were one of the millions that thought that Usher's latest CD was good, give the masters a listen and you may find that it would not sound odd to burn a mix that may have Prince, Lena Horne, Van Hunt, Nina Simone, Seal, and ______ (fill in with your favorite(s)) sitting side by side and the result would be more cohesive than those alleged best of compilations that records companies love to release. One listen to "Mississippi Goddam" and you may never be the same. Nina Simone died in the South of France in 2003, but her music makes her sound more alive than many of the lesser singers who self-pen themselves as "divas." Simone may have been misunderstood but with time we are all catching up to all the singers who matter and she stands at the front of that line."
"This anthology is up there with Nina compilations "The Colpix Years" and "Sugar In My Bowl" (which are available on Amazon - if you don't already own them buy them today!!).
On this anthology we are treated to perhaps the best sample of Dr. Simone's genius and breadth. Here was a woman far beyond measure and her time. She could move effortlessly between jazz, blues, folk, gospel, classical - and often within the same song!! She knew no boundaries and interpreted each song on its own merits - injecting a personal narrative in each note she played and word she sang. Though her influence can be seen everywhere, there is no artist like her today and definitely not enough credit given to her artistry.
Here we are given her supreme bests...impossible to list the "good songs" because no song included in this set is without mention. We are even given a previously unreleased track ("Glory of Love") which Nina makes all her own.
If forced to choose, stand outs would be the HAUNTING "Strange Fruit", the underrated "Do I Move You?", the inspiring "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free", her tribute to the late Dr. MLK - which may be one of the greatest eulogies of all times - "Why? The King Of Love Is Dead", and the infectious "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter".
It's hard to imagine a more inclusive Nina anthology. This one is for true die-hard fans. The only song I wish had been included - for the exposure - is "Consummation". For those interested in her work, I recommend seeking out this song...it more than any other shows the true power of Nina's voice and spirit.
But, exclusion of "Consummation" aside, this anthology is at the TOP of the Nina Simone list. Don't pass this one up."
Nina Simone -- one of a kind for all time!
Laurie A.E. | MA, USA | 11/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nina Simone, more widely loved and respected abroad -- particularly in Europe -- then stateside is one of the U.S.'s true unclaimed treasures. This voice is stunning, soul deep, and inhabited with unmistakable force of personality by a singular performer for the ages. Perhaps only Nina Simone heard the bird singing in the gilden cage, but she warbled about it with such natural, eerie, musclar talent that to hear it is to be arrested on the spot. You've probably heard a bunch of these songs before -- she's been ripped off and copied by many performers with just a thimblefull of her prowess and gift (and to dismaying degrees of commercial success) -- but when you hear them it will be like hearing them for the first time. Anthology is chockablock full of one choice cut after another, there's nary a dud in the bunch. Someone with a voice like Simone, who could effortelessly master just about any musical form she tried her hand at -- pop standards, soulful ballads, smoky jazz, throaty R & B -- this is someone who ought to be in your collection if you want to bat with the big boys. TOP NOTCH, THRILLING STUFF -- a diva with the real goods who might not have ended up with her own show in Vegas but a brilliant body of work, that's Nina Simone, and this collection is a fabulous overview of that life's work."
A Single Woman
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 02/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nina Simone was an artist before the world was quite prepared for a black woman to be an artist, making her own choices and demands on her audience. Her life itself is quite interesting, but it is her music for which she will be remembered. There are so many gems on this set. From Disc 1, Nina takes a Gus Kahn number "My Baby Just Cares for Me" in 1957 with a piano backing and sets your toe tapping with her playful vocal delivery. "Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out" has almost some doo wop chords on piano as Simone then meets the melody and nails its irony with her wry delivery. "Mississippi Goddam" is Simone's angry indictment of racial bigotry, but she does it with such a perky joyfulness in performance that it puts a smile on your face despite its very serious theme, "This is a show tune, but the show hasn't been written for it yet." "See Line Woman" has a pronounced drum track that creates a desperate urgency in her delivery, "Black dress on, for a thousand dollars she wails & she moans, wiggle wiggle, turn like a cat, wink at a man & he wink back." The Animals had a rock & roll hit with "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," but it also fits Simone like a glove with her weepy blues interpretation. Simone is incredibly powerful on the standard "I Put a Spell on You." When she sings, "I can't stand it with you running around," all the anxiety of an age seems to be expressed in her voice. The disc closes with a dynamic "Do I Move You" with a blues rock background. Disc one covers 1957-1966, while disc two covers 1967-1993. Nina's unreleased version of "The Glory of Love" shines with her personality. On George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" she displays a world-weary sense of play. She does a live version of "Ain't Got No" from the musical "Hair" that is as emphatic as it is joyful. "To Be Young, Gifted & Black" is probably her best know anthem that she wrote. She tackles Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman" head on, making it seem like it was written for her. On the Hall & Oates' classic "Rich Girl," she bounces and rocks. Rod McKuen's "A Single Woman" is a fitting closer for this excellent set, orchestral and moving. "Anthology" certainly doesn't encapsulate Simone's expansive career, but it is an excellent collection with great technical remastering, drawing from many of her different labels. Enjoy!"