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The Nina Simone Database
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Gifted & Black
Additional discography
 
 

Canyon 7705 (1970 US)

Perhaps earliest existing recordings, made in Philadelphia 1955(?), eight tracks. According Roger Nupie (personal communication) this recording was not intended for release.

Stroud Productions. Also published as Vogue SLDRK 779 (FR 1971) and Polydor 2383 110 (UK 1972).

See all releases of this album.
Tracks sorted by number (sort by session or by title)
 1 [3:06] Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair   Traditional with strings added

 2 [3:57] Since My Love Has Gone   Aaron Neville, Wasserman with strings added

 3 [4:36] Blue Prelude   Joe Bishop, Gordon Jenkins with strings added

 4 [4:19] Spring Is Here   Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers with strings added

 5 [3:59] I Loves You Porgy   George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward with strings added

 6 [3:41] Remind Me   Dorothy Fields, Jerome Kern with strings added

 7 [4:22] Near to You   Richard Adler, Jerry Ross with strings added

 8 [5:32] The Thrill Is Gone   Lew Brown, Ray Henderson with strings added

Liner Notes
Both professionally and personally, Nina Simone is a combination of many unusual and diverse qualities--all of them important, some of them misunderstood.
As a performer, Nina is a rarity. Most artists in the music field fall into one of two categories, either fine vocalists or great musicians, but Nina shows both talents with equal brilliance.
It would be a musical inaccuracy to categorize her singing as being strictly popular, jazz, folk, or gospel because while she sings in all these idioms she cannot be pigeonholed in any one of them exclusively. Her keyboard ability, too, displays a rare extent of musical breadth, ranging from the studied discipline of a concert pianist to the improvisational and imaginative scope of a jazz musician,
On stage she is regarded as an "experience" as well as an act, and press reviewers invariably make particular note at her "spellbinding" effect on audiences. No Nina Simone performance is the same as any one preceding it, and whether you like her or not, you can never sit back and be indifferent to Nina. Both fan and foe alike seem to sense something of real importance about this astonishing woman, and it os not surprising that audiences have labeled her with a string of epithets varying all the way from "witch" to "avenging angel".
As much as her performance have invoked strong reactions among audiences, Nina, as a human being, has stirred the emotional and mental faculties of everybody who meets her personality. She is a woman of fierce integrity and extreme sensitivity toward any injustice or cruelty, a person of resolute convictions who feels compelled to "do something" about what's is wrong in the world. So high a degree of honesty can sometimes produces explosive consequences, and people who know Nina well realize that her occasional outbursts stem more from pain than anger. Unfortunate business relationships in the past coupled with the built-in problem of a Negro American have made her susceptible to hurt and impatient with ignorance.
Miss Simone became a top named entertainer during the summer of 1959 through her recording of "I Loves You Porgy". There then began a long series of highly acclaimed personal appearances in leading clubs and concert halls throughout the country.
Born Eunice Waymon on February 21, 1935 in the obscure North Carolina town of Tryon Nina was the sixth of eight children. Her father was an handyman and her mother worked as a housekeeper during the day but, at night donned the robes of an ordained Methodist Minister. At the age of four Nina was playing piano by ear; at seven she was also playing organ. A few years later she began taking classical piano lessons with a local teacher, Mrs. Lawrence Mazzanovitch. The teacher quickly realized that her young pupil had more than average talent, and when after two years Nina could no longer afford the lessons, Mrs. Mazzanovich continued them without charge. She also insured advanced training for Nina establishing a "Eunice Waymon Fund" which was maintained by asking audiences to contribute whatever they cold after performances done at both church and outside functions. With this money Nina attended high school in Asheville, N.C., graduated valedictorian and the studied for a year and a half at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. Here she studied piano and theory with Carl Friedberg.
During this period, Nina's family moved to Philadelphia to be close to her. When money from the Waymon fund run out, Nina joined her family, went to work as an accompanist for vocal students at the Arlene Smith Studio and also gave private lessons. With her earnings she studied with Vladimir Sokoloff at the Curtis Institute of Music. Although her formal training had always been in the classical medium, she had a natural flair for improvising and did just that on classical music, spirituals and popular tunes.
In 1954, when the studio closed for the summer, Nina tried to get a job in one of the locals club. She got one in Atlantic City per $90 a week. On the first night that she reported for work, she had a terrifying experience but one which eventuated into a major turning point in her career. As she started playing, the club owner approached the piano and told her she had to sing as well as play. Nina was shocked. She had never sung in her entire life! Out of desperation she tried, and no one was more amazed than Nina when she saw she was wowing the audience - an audience made up primarily of college students and young people who, coincidentally, even today represent her most enthusiastic group of followers. It was that same night, too, that she changed her name to Nina Simone for fear that night club work would displease her parents as well as the parents of her students. She chose the name "Nina," meaning little one. Simone just happened yo go well with it.
She was so successful in this, her first show business job that at the end of the summer she suddenly found herself with a difficult decision to make. She could either return to the vocal studio and the security of a regular job or devote her full time facing the uncertainty of a career in show business. She returned temporarily to the studio, but after a few months decided she would never be happy until she tried her luck with a career. From then on, Nina quickly gravitated to fame. Her records hit the best-seller lists, bookings poured in, and the entertainment world hailed her as one of the greatest musical finds of all time.
Under contract to RCA Victor Records, Nina lives in a large three-story, nine-room house in Mt Vernon, N.Y. with her husband, Andy Stroud, and their daughter Lisa Celeste who arrived September 12, 1962. Married to Nina in December of 1961 after a whirlwind courtship, Mr. Stroud was then a Detective Sergeant on the New York City police force where over a period of fifteen year's service he received some twenty decorations. About a year and a half after their marriage, Andy resigned to take over as Nina's personal manager although at the time he was just set for a promotion to Lieutenant.
Among Miss Simone's favorite hobbies is a passion for interior decorating, and the product of her textbook learning plus her own imaginative hand is evident in the Stroud home. Nina also manages to find time for swimming, scuba diving, bicycling, reading, study-interpretative dancing and writing songs. Her songwriting ability is akin to the same kind of instant talent she twice showed when she made such spontaneous "debut" as a pianist in early childhood and as a singer in the Atlantic City night club. She wrote her first song on the spot at her first recording session six years ago. Two of the scheduled songs were suddenly scrapped, and to fill the need Nina created two more just as suddenly even though she had never written a song in her life. Since then, she has written many tunes and does her own musical arrangements besides.
Miss Simone enormous capacity and need for expression have found a rewarding outlet in her role as a mother. She has already made plans to take little Lisa with her on all out-of-town engagements. The idea of being separated from her daughter for a career, or for anything, never did set well with Nina. Lisa, by the way, seems to be a chip off the old block musically. She was banging on the piano at eight months of age et now at five shows a remarkable sense of harmonics and timing for a child her age. Nina is impressed with so early an indication of musical talent and wouldn't be surprised if someday her on stage appearances were billed as a duo instead of a single.
"And not only that," she says, "but if Andy dusts off his trumpet, we may even have a trio!"