The Definitive Collection

The Definitive Collection

by Nina Simone


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.".. [N]o one compilation could possibly tell the entire Simone story (since she recorded over 30 albums from 1959 to 1993)," admits David Nathan in his liner notes to Hip-O/Verve's hyperbolically titled Nina Simone best-of, The Definitive Collection. He might have added that another difficulty in assembling a Simone compilation is that she recorded for so many different labels, among them Bethlehem, Colpix, Philips, and RCA Victor (and that's just through the early '70s). This makes licensing a nightmare, of course. But reissue label Hip-O is known for its willingness to license extensively, and it has made a brave effort here. Universal Music, the major-label parent company, controls the Philips catalog as well as a 1987 live album, Let It Be Me, that Simone recorded for Verve. But Hip-O has paid to use five tracks originally released on Colpix from Warner, and another three originally released on RCA from BMG, which is a lot of licensing for a 20-track album. And the result, as Nathan claims, is "a great overview" of Simone's career, spanning the years 1959 to 1987 and including a number of her most popular and signature songs in their best-known versions. "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," "Trouble in Mind," "Gin House Blues," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "I Put a Spell on You," "Do What You Gotta Do," and "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" were all chart singles of one sort or another, and "The Other Woman" and the Simone compositions "Mississippi Goddam" and "Four Women" are songs any listener would expect to hear when attending a Simone concert. The chief flaws of the collection concern omissions and substitutions. The one label not heard from is Bethlehem, and that means there are no selections from 1959's debut album Jazz as Played in an Exclusive Side Street Club. The compilers try to make up for this lack by including re-recordings of "I Loves You Porgy" (a Top 20 hit in the Bethlehem version), "Sugar in My Bowl," and "My Baby Just Cares for Me" (the last later a Top Five hit in Great Britain). Also missing are Simone's hit recordings of the Hair medley "Ain't Got No/I Got Life" and the Bee Gees standard "To Love Somebody." So, this is not the ideal one-disc survey of her career, and certainly not definitive. But it is much better than most.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/10/2006
Label: Hip-O Records
UPC: 0602498612699
catalogNumber: 000162802
Rank: 28581

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nina Simone   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Hal Mooney   Conductor
Weldon Irvine   Conductor
Horace Ott   Conductor
Stu Phillips & the Hollyridge Strings   Conductor

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Dimitri Tiomkin   Composer
Nina Simone   Arranger,Composer
Hal Mooney   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Weldon Irvine   Composer,Orchestration
Richard M. Jones   Composer
Bennie Benjamin   Composer
Walter Donaldson   Composer
Fletcher Henderson   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Jack Gold   Audio Production
Gus Kahn   Composer
Cal Lampley   Producer,Audio Production
Horace Ott   Arranger
Ned Washington   Composer
Bobby Blake   Producer
David Nathan   Liner Notes
Vartan   Art Direction
Stu Phillips & the Hollyridge Strings   Arranger,Producer
David Kreisberg   Producer
Ron Berinstein   Producer
Miriam Cutler   Producer
DuBose Heyward   Composer
Willard Robison   Composer
Sol Marcus   Composer
Jessie Mae Robinson   Composer
Henry Troy   Composer
George Bass   Composer
Gloria Caldwell   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination
Stu Phillips   Arranger,Audio Production

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