Monday, July 24, 2006

75. Nina Simone - Wild Is The Wind (1966)

Track Listing

1. I Love Your Lovin' Ways
2. Four Women
3. What More Can I Say
4. Lilac Wine
5. That's All I Ask
6. Break Down And Let It All Out
7. Why Keep On Breaking My Heart
8. Wild Is The Wind
9. Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair
10. If I Should Lose You
11. Either Way I Lose


Nina Simone has one of the best and most expressive voices in the history of the 20th century. Not only that but she is also an amazing pianist and at times a very gifted lyricist. She has always had a problem however, she has always been too inconsistent. Simone moved from Jazz to Soul to Pop to angry intreventionism in the space of one album, this one is a good example of that. There are some truly amazing songs here, the 4 tracks that I selected for Track Highlights below are essential hearing for anyone in the world. The problem is the album consists of 11 songs.

In this album Nina doesn't really come across as anything, not a thoughtful and profound singer or a poppy performer, because she changes register so fast that one song invalidates the previous one. You really come out of this album without knowing what she wants exactly. One of the reasons for this dispersion might be the fact that this is little more than a compilation of several studio and live performances artificially made into an album. But on the other hand all her studio albums of this period are equally scatter-brained.

That said, when she hits her stride she is amazing but is unfortunately one of those artists for which it is better to buy a Best Of than an Album, or even better make your own Nina Simone mixed tape. On this album she is particularly good on the plaintive and sad tracks, the too happy tracks don't work as well here because it is a primarily morose album and they cut the feeling of it, they just seem out of place. Of course Nina produced great chirpy tracks outside this album (Sinnerman, Love Me or Leave Me, My Baby Just Cares For Me) but this is just not the album for them. If you consider an album to be something more than a compilation of songs, this one fails. I am sorry to have to say this as it is the only Nina Smone album on the list and I really love her.

You can stream this from Napster or buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Wild Is The Wind
2. Four Women
3. Lilac Wine
4. Black Is The Colour of My True Love's Hair

Final Grade



She was an extremely gifted pianist, and you should at least get Wild is The Wind and Four Women from this album.

From Wiki:

At seventeen, Simone moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she taught piano and accompanied singers. She was able to begin studying piano at New York City's prestigious Juilliard School of Music but lack of funds meant that she was unable to fulfill her dream of becoming America's first African-American concert pianist. She later had an interview to study piano at the Curtis Institute, but was rejected. Simone believed it was because she was black.

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