Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Nina by Langston, 1965

I have had this Nina Simone EP (thats an Extended Play, 4 track 45rpm record, 2 tracks each side, for any new kids who never know vinyl records) since I was a teenager in 1965. 
We loved Nina back then, particularly her "I Put A Spell On You" which hit the charts, and this title track: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood") as per my recent post on her, see label. The other tracks are "The Laziest Gal In Town" (a Marlene Dietrich classic), "Don't Take All Night" and "Nobody". 

Looking at it now, the sleeve notes by Langston Hughes capture it all perfectly, even now, 50 years later.....
"She is strange. So are the plays of Brendan Behan, Jean Genet, LeRoi Jones, and Bertholt Brecht.
She is far-out, and at the same time common. So are raw eggs in Worcestershire and The Connection.
She is different. So was Billie Holiday, St Francis, and John Donne. So in Mort Sahl. She is a club member, a coloured girl, an Afro-American, a homey from Down Home. She has hit the Big Town, the big towns, the LP discs and the TV shows – and she is still from down home. She did it mostly all by herself. Her name is Nina Simone.
She has a flair, but no air, she has class but does not wear it on her shoulders. Only chips. She is unique. You either like her or you don’t. If you don’t, you won’t. If you do – whee-ouuu-eu!  You do!
Why should one like Nina Simone because she sings a song differently? Plenty of singers sing songs differently. But many singers strain so hard to be different, pay arrangers so much money to make their songs sound different, but have no convictions themselves about what they are singing, and so seem hollow, artificial, fake, and wrong when they sing a song. Nina Simone is as different as beer is from champagne, crackers from crepes suzettes, Eastland from Adam Powell, Houston from Paris – each real in their way, but oh! how different – and how fake it is if it is not Houston you want, but the “city of light”.
The letters l-i-v-e that spell LIVE mean exactly the same as the letters N-i-n-a that spell NINA. As for that word SIMONE, be cool Jack, be cool! And listen to this record." 

Hughes (1902-1967) was a well known  poet, activist, novelist and playwright, who ticked all the boxes: black and gay (like James Baldwin or Billy Strayhorn, also popular at that time). He died aged 65 in 1967, 

1 comment:

  1. Love, love, love the sleeve notes. I don't have this but I would bet that it is very vaulable (as records go) if only for the sleeve notes. You should check it out.