Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 7 – Nina Simone

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Spotify playlist. There’s a couple of links to lyrics sites in here. I don’t know what sort of crud the pages will contain, so I suggest that you don’t click through without a thick armour of NoScript and AdBlock.

1. **Feeling Good** from I Put A Spell On You – a magnificent song, proven by the fact that I must have heard it a few hundred times but it’s still great to listen to.

2. **My Baby Just Cares For Me** from Little Girl Blue – I thought that I didn’t like this song. Something about the jaunty rhythm seemed just too hard to listen to. But I’ve learn to relax and embrace it. I wish that I could bottle the piano solo and take it with me everywhere. Glorious lyrics too – the rhymes don’t feel forced, the subject matter doesn’t feel trite.

3. **Mississippi Goddamn** from In Concert – as Nina remarks halfway through, “this is a showtune, but the show hasn’t been written for it yet.” I don’t think much of the music, but you’ve got to respect the lyrics and the sentiment behind them.

4. **I Put A Spell On You** from I Put A Spell On You – lyrically there’s not much substance here, though I’m sure that it will strike a chord with many, and they are well-delivered. The orchestration is utterly perfect.

5. **Strange Fruit** from Pastel Blues – I’ve spent most of the week listening to this song without paying attention to the lyrics, and consequently thinking of it as being slow and morose. The playlist book notes that *Simone found this song so harrowing that she broke down every time she sang it and eventually had to drop it from her repertoire.* I can understand that now.

6. **I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl** from Sings The Blues – this is the good kind of blues. It’s got a short tenor sax solo that makes me absolutely melt with its laziness. The vibe is basically what Norah Jones tried to emulate.

7. **I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free** from Silk & Soul – doesn’t do much for me. It develops at a steady pace, but goes a bit too far, and by the end it’s just all too hectic and busy.

8. **To Be Young Gifted & Black** from Black Gold – no disrespect to the sentiment, but I find this song a bit underwhelming. The lyrics seem cheesy, with uninspired rhymes, and the tune is a bit dull.

9. **Save Me** from Silk & Soul – it’s a really funky disco-pop tune, but it doesn’t do much, and the lyrics don’t seem to serve any purpose other than as a vehicle for Nina’s voice.

10. **Four Women** from Wild Is The Wind – see *Young Gifted & Black* only this one is slower, and thus more likely to send you to sleep.

So, in conclusion: probably my favourite of the seven playlists we’ve had so far, though that’s mainly because there’s some really ferociously good songs in here. I’m really enjoying this Spotify malarkey too.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 284
Only one playlist on this page – The Pogues / Shane MacGowan. The book says:

> The Pogues didn’t so much creep into the limelight in early 1980s London, but emerged seemingly fully formed with a pint of stout in one hand and an attitude in the other. At the band’s core was the UK-born, but of Limerick stock, singer and lyricist Shane MacGowan who, at his peak and before his love of pints of Martini set in, produced a stream of stupendously poetic songs, all rooted in the Irish tradition. The band still reforms for Xmas and New Year shows, but nothing can ever repeat the sheer brio of their mid-1980s gigs. You really had to be there!

Here’s the spotify URL, if you want to listen to it with me over the course of the week. The playlist lists track 10 as “The Snake At The Gates Of Hell” which I think is a typo. And if anyone out there fancies joining in with the stunt, let me know.

5 replies on “Stunt 2009: Week 7 – Nina Simone”

I love the line in the “Strange Fruit” lyrics page that says “as singed by billie holliday”

But I see what you mean with regard to the lyrics themselves – deeply unpleasant.

Oh, forgot to say – while “I put a spell on you” isn’t all that great, listen to the version sung by Diamanda Galas if you get the chance. Makes it a very scary song all the same…

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