Nina Simone: Pastel Blues
I have to admit I’ve never heard of Nina Simone. But as this album started with the working in the field, spiritual blues sounding Be My Husband, I was hooked. It was a very powerful song, almost commanding a man to be her husband, at times her voice sounding like a trumpet.
Trouble in Mind is an optimistic blues song, and very enjoyable.
“I’m goin down to the river, gonna get me a rockin’ chair;
If the Lord don’t help me, I’m gonna rock away from here…
the sun’s gonna shine in my back door some day.”
Tell Me More and More and Then Some features the harmonica and some blues on piano, and the bass and drums are just lightly keeping the rhythm. Well really, the instruments all play a back seat to Ms. Simone’s vocals. This 50 year old mono album looks as new as the music feels to me, and I’ve already decided to keep it, even with one song left on Side 1.
On Side 2, Strange Fruit brought tears to my eyes. She combines her powerful, emotional voice with images of the lynchings black persons endured, and contrasts that with the typical nice images of “fruit” on the trees. The aromas of magnolia vs. that of burning flesh. So powerful, and makes me somewhat ashamed of our national history of inequality based on skin color. You’d be surprised how often it comes up when I travel abroad, too.
That song fades away and gives way to Sinnerman, which at least I’ve hard before in the soundtrack of the 1990’s movie The Thomas Crown Affair. Overall this was a great, if somewhat emotional, experience that I hope to repeat and share with many people in the future.
Paul McCartney & Wings: Band on the Run
This is a bit of a worn copy, but man was it fun. Band on the Run and Jet took me back to the last two Paul McCartney concerts we’ve attended. Just so much more life in the recording than from the mp3’s of the songs. Let Me Roll It was great, but my favorite was a new-to-me song: Mrs. Vanderbilt.
Side 2 was a little more less inspiring until the final track, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five. I look forward to eventually finding a better copy, but for now this one’s a keeper.
James Taylor: JT
From the first song, this album has much more life than any CD or mp3 I’ve listened to from James Taylor. The piano on Your Smiling Face seemed like it was in the room. The rest of the album was very relaxing while I worked.
Prince: Love Sexy
I appreciate Prince as an artist, but I’ve never been a “fan”. Never the less, I was excited when I saw this album simply because it is notable for the cover art. However, I really enjoyed the music.
This came out when i was in school, but I really don’t remember it at all. Eye No starts side one off well, and then Alphabet Street is a fun song that practically had me dancing while I worked.
Love Sexy on side 2 is a great song too. Overall, I’m on the fence on this one. Enjoyed it, but not sure I’ll listen to it again. But it’s in amazing condition. The overall positive themes of spirituality, including the last song Positivity, sway this into the keep pile for now.
There were also several albums I listened to as background music that just didn’t capture my attention for various reasons – like I’ve heard them before, not my type of music, no time to write comments on every album, etc… – so all will find new homes soon. But I did snap pictures, below.