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A Single Woman
Original discography
 
 

Elektra 7559-61503-2 (1993 US)

At 60, the almost mystically charismatic Nina Simone still has the deep, musky, androgynous sound that can enchant material as diverse as Rod McKuen's title cut, the svelte standard "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," and the cafe-side exoticism of "Il n'y a Pas d'Amour Heureux." A true original reaches the point of inevitable return.
-Josef Woodard, Entertainment Weekly, Sept 17, 1993

For nearly four decades, Nina Simone's work has defied categorization. With her versatile vocal style and eclectic taste in material, Simone has charted her own idiosyncratic course. Her husky, dark-toned voice is as comfortable with Gershwin as it is with the blues, and it's associated both with feminine independence and worldly sophistication. In addition, she's a top-notch pianist.
This expatriate's first album in more than five years is appropriately titled A Single Woman (Elektra). Often in the ten songs, Simone meditates on the joys and sadness of a woman alone. The title song, with its orchestral backing, sets an introspective tone. Lonesome Cities, with its playful flute arrangement and witty lyrics, puts Simone in the role of restless lover. She ably supports herself on the song with a stylish piano solo. Marry Me has a similar tongue-in-cheek quality and a swinging piano coda. More bluesy in delivery is If I Should Lose You, and her version of the chestnut The Folks Who Live on the Hill is beautifully controlled.
-Nelson George, Playboy, Sept 1993

Vocalist, composer and pianist Nina Simone returned from a lengthy self-imposed exile in 1993 with an autobiography and outstanding CD highlighting her still impressive singing and interpretative skills in an intriguing context, surrounded by strings and guitars. While the backdrops were lush and occasionally corny, Simone's deep, penetrating voice, careful pacing and dramatic delivery kept the songs from becoming sappy. She was inspiring on "The Folks Who Live On The Hill," dedicated to the deceased Prime Minister of Barbados, and she demonstrated her facility with French on "Il N'Y A Pas D'Amour Heureux." While she's always been a great protest and political singers, Simone's also a superb romantic/love song stylist, as she shows on "Just Say I Love Him," "The More I See You," and "Marry Me." Her phrasing and piercing enunication weren't hurt by her lengthy absence. Nina Simone remains among America's premier performers, and this CD was a welcome addition to her sparkling legacy.
-Roy Wynn, All Music Guide
Tracks sorted by number (sort by session or by title)
 1 [3:33] A Single Woman   Rod McKuen

 2 [3:08] Lonesome Cities   Rod McKuen Jim Hughart, bass - Larry Bunker, percussion

 3 [3:59] If I Should Lose You   Ralph Rainger, Leo Robin John Chiodini, guitar

 4 [3:39] The Folks Who Live on the Hill   Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern

 5 [3:57] Love's Been Good To Me   Rod McKuen John Chiodini, guitar

 6 [4:22] Papa, Can You Hear Me?   Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Michele Legrand

 7 [6:26] Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux   Luis Aragon, George Brassens Jim Hughart, bass - Larry Bunker, percussion

 8 [4:29] Just Say I Love Him   Jimmy Dale, Rodolfo Falvo, Enzo Fusco, Martin Kalmanoff, Jack Val, Sam Ward

 9 [2:42] The More I See You   Mack Gordon, Harry Warren John Chiodini, guitar - Jack Sheldon, trumpet

 10 [2:51] Marry Me   Nina Simone John Chiodini, guitar

Liner Notes by Ntozake Shange (4 May 1993, Philadelphia)
With A Single Woman, Nina Simone adds one more dimension to an already multi-faceted musical persona. No single female voice has so furiously assaulted injustice, ranging from racism to adultery, in my lifetime. Yet the songs on this album reflect a life lived with risk and integrity, humor and somber ealism. The energies escaping "Mississipi, Goddamn" are in this songs shaped and delicately led through primal emotional terrain, interpersonal quagmires and ravines, otherwise known as romance.

Yes, A Single Woman is about love, all kinds of love. Especially a full grown woman in love. A woman in the process of defining her fate, accepting, without shame or guilt, her own needs and desires. With a voice, that unmistakable Simone voice, worldly, yet vulnerable, this album allows us the experiences only a strong woman survives. Even in the title tune, "A Single Woman", Nina Simone sings with langourous sensuality: "I'm caught in a world few people understand... I am what I am, a single woman." Depending on how well we've been loved or not loved, these lyrics and the earned authority of Simone's voice will bring hope, reassurance, or the right to grieve.

No element, no subtlety is lost on these selections. The rights and responsibilities, thrills dissolutions of love between friends, paramours, parents and children are explored with legendary Simone dexterity and compassion.

Noy unlike the mithic Charlie Parker With Strings this album finds Nina Simone, her deep and sensate voice, nestled among arrangements featuring strings and guitars, allowing the power of her vocals to float and penetrate our realities at will. The cavalier flirtations of "Lonesome Cities" prepare us for the whimsy of "If I Should Lose Yoy," just as the trio of "Papa, Can You Hear Me?," "Il N'y A Pas D'Amour Heureux," and "Just Say I Love Him" unequivocally reveal all that is tender, precious and always unprotected when we love. A Single Woman is evidence that a politically conscious life may not be correct, but may be rich in moments and memories, when as Nina Simone sings, as only she can, "Love's been good to me."