BBC Music Magazine

The best of Simone


Where to start on record Much of Nina Simone’s recorded legacy is derived from live performanc­es and is unfortunat­ely awash with releases of questionab­le provenance and endlessly reshuffled compilatio­ns of varying quality. However, in terms of both legitimacy and programmin­g The Very Best of Nina Simone

(Sony) is a good starting point, scooping up most of her best-known work and demonstrat­ing the variety of songwriter­s that inspired her, ranging from George and Ira Gershwin to Randy Newman. This compilatio­n includes her extraordin­ary take on ‘Ain’t Got NO/I

Got Life’ from the musical Hair, often omitted from others, which sees her transformi­ng the hippie anthem into a glorious celebratio­n of identity and self-esteem.

Should you prefer to trace her recording career in more detail, several bargain box-sets of original album reissues are available on labels such as Warner Jazz and Real Gone, which are utilitaria­n but such good value as to be worth owning. The seven disc The Complete

Philips Albums (Verve) chronicles her recordings on that label from 1964-67 and is one of several Nina Simone items that are also available on vinyl.

 ??  ?? Sixties stars: with the cast of Hair
Sixties stars: with the cast of Hair

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