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Friday, May 18, 2007

Nina Simone - Drury Lane 1977

Nina Simone0001Nina Simone was fresh off the boat in London in 1977. Disappointed with the civil rights movement in America, the temperamental singer had left to live in self-imposed exile in Europe where she remained till her death in Carry-le-Rouet, France in April, 2003.
Simone was not any interpreter of songs but breathed life into them making them autobiographies of her own experience. She was a fierce feminist, a champion for black pride and politically incorrect before the term was invented. There is at least one four-letter expletive in this concert and a comment on gays, unheard of coming from a woman performer at the time. This show at Drury Lane is like a summary of who Simone was - performer, artist, lover, feminist, militant and friend.
There were none of her popular songs performed this evening - no To Love Somebody, Young, Gifted and Black or Mississippi Goddam. Simone has never played an oldies show despite her reputation as a late-night lounge singer. Her on-stage banter, her love for improvising the lyrics and her emotional performance all made her so genuine as a person.
This Capital radio show was broadcast on November 10, 1978. It is probably the show that Creed Taylor saw before he recorded Simone's Baltimore album. Of that album, Simone had this to say, "The material was not my personal choice, and I had no say whatsoever in the selection of songs. It was all done before I could make any decisions." No one dared as much as she did. 

Nina Simone - Drury Lane 1977

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