Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Defecating On The Microphone With Nina Simone
Nina Simone - Sinner Man
Talib Kweli - Just To Get By
Nina Simone - Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter
Some music from the great lady herself today. Nina Simone first came to light in the music business in the mid 50's when, having trained as a classical pianist, she was told she had to sing as well as play. This introduced the world to one of the most unique voices in Jazz, a voice that has got better and better throughout the years until her death in 2003. I'm sure you already know all about her so I won't waste precious time though you can read a full biography of the great woman here.
Although I'm a big fan of much of her early work, it really gets interesting for me in the mid to late 60's period. Always a force to be reckoned with, Simone's increasingly husky and powerful voice was put to good use with a range of epic songs.
The first track I have for you her today is from the 1965 album Pastel Blues and is without doubt an epic track in every sense of the word, coming in at just over 10 minutes long. About the struggle to stay on the right path in life the song is carried forward by the relentless piano rhythm. As the rhythm builds up and the drums and backing singers come into the mix it builds up a gospel power to the track. However, what always sold this track to me was the breakdown around 4 and a half minutes in when it breaks down to nothing more than handclaps and the piano - absolutely brilliant.
While remaining firmly on the fence about the talents of Kanye West I have to admit his use of the piano and handclaps in Talib Kweli's Just To Get By is a stroke of genius. I've posted it up here as well so you can judge for yourself.
The third track today is that perennial favorite, Nina's cover of Ike and Tina Turner's Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter from her superb live album Is It Finished. This track is rightly regarded as a true classic, from the bongo intro onwards this track is all about the brilliant use of percussion and you really can't get much funkier than this.
You can buy Pastel Blues HERE
You can buy Is It Finished HERE