Nina Simone,
The Lady Has the Blues
(Tomato, 2003)

For reviewing The Lady Has the Blues, I relied heavily on my resident Nina Simone expert, my wife. Both of us agree that a blues album is the exception rather than the rule for Simone, best known as a jazz and pop singer and pianist. That alone makes the recording worthy of note.

However, my wife tells me that recordings in her collection of the same songs tend to be of better quality than those found here. Still, Has the Blues offers some real standouts; for instance, "House of the Rising Sun," which really heats up, as well as "See Line Woman."

It is also interesting to hear Simone's take on "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." This was one of several Bennie Benjamin numbers she recorded for 1964's Broadway-Blues-Ballads. The pop version recorded by the Animals the following year is better known, but lacks the depth and expressiveness Simone gives the song on this album.

- Rambles
written by Tom Schulte
published 10 January 2004

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