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Nina Simone: Silk and Soul

Jim Santella By

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Originally released in 1967 as an LP, Silk and Soul followed Nina Simone's blues album by combining pop songs with soulful musical statements that included strong threads from gospel and blues. Two bonus tracks are included, both originally released as singles in '69.

Pianist Billy Taylor wrote one of the keystone selections for this album, "I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free. It's a spiritual piece that opens the door for Simone's crusade against social inequities. Gospel and blues have always provided meaningful support for active social commentary, and Simone followed up on her wishes for a better world by letting her heart guide her.

Turning Point tells the tender story of a little girl being introduced to racial inequality. It's a timeless message that has as much value today as it did in the 1960s. Jerome Richardson's big baritone sax drives "Some Say with a celebration of soul music. Here, Simone delivers her message of love for the world through a happy medium of hard-charging funk and soul. "The Look of Love and "Love 'o Love, on the other hand, come to us softly on bended knee. She had many ways of getting her message across, and it was always with a pure heart.

Why Must Your Love Well Be So Dry celebrates with a large studio band and gospel choir. Here, Simone is at home with her High Priestess of Soul appellation and ready to help spread the word. The same is true for "Save Me, which was also recorded in 1969. Whether working with a large studio orchestra or with her own blues-based band, Simone was always convincing. What the world still needs is more good souls like her.


Track Listing: It Be

Personnel: Nina Simone: vocals, piano; Eric Gale, Everett Barksdale, Rudy Stevenson: guitar; Weldon Irvine, Richard Tee: organ; Ernie Hayes: piano, harpsichord; Gene Taylor, Jerry Jemmott: bass; Bernard Purdie: drums, tympani; Gordon Powell: vibraphone, percussion; Montego Joe, George Devens: percussion; Martin Grupp: tympani, marimba; Marky Markowitz, Ernie Royal, Mel Davis, Joe Shepley, Jimmy Nottingham, Harold Johnson, Wilbur Bascomb: trumpet; Jimmy Cleveland, Richard Harris: trombone; Mel Tax: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, flute, alto flute, bass flute; Jerome Richardson: baritone saxophone, flute, bass flute; George Marge: bass clarinet, clarinet, flute, alto flute; Seldon Powell: tenor saxophone, alto flute; George Coleman, Norris Turney, Haywood Henry: saxophone; Gene Orloff, Mac Ceppos: violin; Alfred Brown: viola; Kermit Moore, Seymour Barab: cello; Ralph H. Fields, Eileen Gilbert, Jerome Graff, Milt Grayson, Hilda Harris, Noah Hopkins, Maeretha Stewart, Barbara Webb: background vocals.

Title: Silk and Soul | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: RCA Victor

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