Monday, June 26, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nina Simone

Artist:Nina Simone
Song:Love Me Or Leave Me
Album:The Great Nina Simone

Today Nina Simone is so well known for her part in the civil rights movement and her turbulent personal life that I think it is forgotten that she was a very versatile singer. This recording of the standard Love Me Or Leave Me is from her 1958 debut album Little Girl Blue. It's a straight jazz album focusing on her singing and piano skills. She would stray quite a bit from that later. She was born Eunice Waymon Feb. 21, 1933 in Tryon, NC and she grew up singing in church. Then she got interested in jazz and renamed herself Nina Simone after French actress Simone Signoret so her Methodist minister mom wouldn't know Eunice was singing the devil's music. Nina recorded the album Little Girl Blue in 1958 and when the single I Loves You, Porgy got radio airplay, she sold the album to Bethlehem Records for $3,000. Boy, did she regret that. I Loves You, Porgy turned out to be the biggest hit single of her career. The album is worth getting because it's straight ahead jazz with Jimmy Bond on bass and Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums. Bond was a sideman at the time. He would be a successful Los Angeles studio musician in the 60s. Heath is the brother of sax player Jimmy Heath and bassist Percy Heath. He's still around at 82 years of age. The British label Music Club has released Little Girl Blue on CD as The Great Nina Simone. It is a budget CD and it contains bonus tracks. Love Me Or Leave Me was written by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn for the 1928 Broadway show Whoopee! and popularized by singer Ruth Etting. Nina recorded the song again on the 1966 album Let It All Out. That's the version on any of her Verve comps. In the 60s, Nina recorded for Colpix and Philips. But though she was a civil rights activist in concert, her albums didn't reflect that until she signed with RCA in 1967. So though her RCA recordings are her most famous recordings, you shouldn't overlook her 1958 debut album on Bethlehem. Here's Nina Simone performing Love Me Or Leave Me. It looks like this might be from the CBS series Camera Three in 1962.

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