The Great Nina Simone
May 24, 2008 12:29 PM   Subscribe

If you could only own one of Nina Simone's albums (not a "best of"), what would it be?

While looking around for good music to play on this lazy Saturday, I realized that although I love Nina Simone, all I have is a fairly contrived "best of" album of hers from France. I'm interested in getting more of her catalog as it was released. Where would you suggest I start?
posted by quine's_gavagai to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Nina Simone - Anthology

Nina Simone - Nina Simone Sings the Blues

The blues one is one of my favorites, but I love the blues.
posted by iamabot at 1:08 PM on May 24, 2008

Seconding Nina Simone Sings the Blues
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:13 PM on May 24, 2008

I don't know how you could only own one Nina Simone album and be satisfied, but I'd go with just about any of the ones she did for RCA. These have all been released by Camden Deluxe in the UK as two-for-one CDs, and they're not expensive. In addition to that, I'd definitely get "Tell It Like It Is: Rarities & Unreleased Recordings 1967 to 1973," which covers this same period and collects a lot of single-only and previously unreleased stuff. If you go the UK route, you can easily get nearly everything she did on RCA (some of it is available in somewhat reconfigured American releases, but these skip a lot). To me it's her best period - really soulful and political and cool.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:17 PM on May 24, 2008

Little Girl Blue.
posted by dydecker at 1:29 PM on May 24, 2008

What about a single-disc CD reissue that contains two albums? If that's okay, get the Forbidden Fruit/At Newport reissue.

Otherwise, I'll nth Nina Simone Sings The Blues. (As a rule of thumb, any album with the title X Sings the Blues, or X Plays the Blues, or X's Blues, or something along those lines, is at least worth hearing.)

That said, though, if you like Nina Simone it would be hard (but not impossible) to go wrong with any of 'em. I share your distaste for compilations and best-ofs and whatnot, but the Four Women set, detailing her Phillips years, is very, very good.
posted by box at 1:30 PM on May 24, 2008

I'd recommend getting one of her live albums. Destiny, which came out recently, is essentially a reissue of her Live and Kickin' live album and should be easy to find. But any of her live albums is a treasure.
posted by Kattullus at 5:11 PM on May 24, 2008

Another vote for 'Sings the Blues'.
posted by twirlypen at 5:16 PM on May 24, 2008

Little Girl Blue.
posted by gyusan at 8:45 PM on May 24, 2008

I love "Sings the Blues" as well, that was the first album of hers I got aside from best-of..
posted by citron at 9:48 PM on May 24, 2008

I love the recordings of her live performances.
posted by HotPatatta at 12:31 AM on May 25, 2008

I'd get "Tears of the stranger moon - Studio Recordings from London", which is only available as an LP (my friend owns this album and I heard it just once), it was her best work, even if a bit rough cut.
posted by markovich at 6:53 AM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

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