by Nina SimoneNina Simone
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After an uncharacteristic (for her) four-year hiatus from recording, Nina Simone returned to the fringes of the pop world with Baltimore, the only album she recorded for the CTI label. While it bears some of the musical stylings of the period -- light reggae inflections that hint of Steely Dan's "Haitian Divorce" -- the vocals are unmistakably Simone's. Like many of her albums, the content is wildly uneven; Simone simply covers too much ground and there's too little attention paid to how songs flow together. As a result, a robust torch piano ballad like "Music for Lovers" is followed immediately by one of Simone's more awkward moments, an attempt to keep up with a jaunty rhythm track on a cover of Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl." Still, one must give her credit for always being provocative in her cover song choices, as she clearly scores on the Randy Newman-penned title track and a dramatic reading of Judy Collins' "My Father." Her voice throughout is in fine form, even when she phones it in on the album-closing traditional gospel tunes, but arranger David Matthews is a mismatch for her: He blows the arrangements with excessive string overlays and needlessly blaring background vocals. Simone herself all but disavowed the album shortly after its release, testament to her eternally contrarian, iconic nature. Despite her misgivings, though, Baltimore is an occasionally spellbinding if erratic album, a challenging and worthwhile listen for people ready to dip into the lesser-known entries in Nina Simone's vast catalog.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/01/2008
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC: 0886972487526
catalogNumber: 724875
Rank: 30596


  1. Baltimore
  2. Everything Must Change
  3. The Family
  4. My Father
  5. Music for Lovers
  6. Rich Girl
  7. That's All I Want (From You)
  8. Forget
  9. Balm in Gilead
  10. If You Pray Right (Heaven Belongs to You)

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nina Simone   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Vocals
Chuck Israels   Upright Bass
Ray Simpson   Background Vocals
David Nadien   Violin
David Matthews   Piano
Jonathan Abramowitz   Cello
Lamar Alsop   Viola
Joshie Armstead   Background Vocals
John Beal   Bass,String Bass
Alfred Brown   Viola
Max Ellen   Violin
Barry Finclair   Violin
Babi Floyd   Background Vocals
Jerry Friedman   Guitar
Eric Gale   Guitar
Harry Glickman   Violin
Milt Grayson   Background Vocals
Harry Lookofsky   Violin
Gary King   Bass
Will Lee   Bass
Charles Libove   Violin
James Madison   Drums
Nicky Marrero   Percussion
Charles McCracken   Cello
Deborah McDuffie   Background Vocals
Homer Mensch   Upright Bass,String Bass
Marvin Morgenstern   Violin
Andy Newmark   Drums
Albertine Robinson   Background Vocals
Schackman   Piano,Tambourine
Alan Shulman   Cello
Richard Sortomme   Violin
Maretha Stewart   Background Vocals
Herbert Sorkin   Violin
Emanuel Vardi   Viola
Jimmy Madison   Drums
Frank Floyd   Background Vocals
Andy Newark   Drums
Alan Schulman   Cello
Maeretha Stewart   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Nina Simone   Arranger,Composer
Matt Kelly   Tape Research
David Matthews   Arranger
Didier C. Deutsch   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Rudy Van Gelder   Engineer
David Palmer   Engineer
Schackman   Director,Music Direction
Creed Taylor   Producer,Liner Notes
David Nathan   Liner Notes
Fritz Rotter   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Stacey Boyle   Tape Research
Bart Howard   Composer

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