I was first exposed to Nina Simone when I saw the film Point of No Return, a remake of La Femme Nikita starring Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Byrne, in which Fonda played a drug-addict turned hired killer/spy whose code name was Nina (for Nina Simone, the character’s favorite songstress).
It was during the film, when I heard Simone’s rendition of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” that I knew I was going to add Simone’s works to my CD collection. Luckily, on Just Like a Woman: Nina Simone Sings Classic Songs of the ‘60s, Julliard-educated and nightclub-trained Simone gives life to several 60s classics–including my favorite, “Here Comes the Sun.”
Simone’s music is hard to categorize—with hints of jazz, blues, gospel, pop and soul, her voice expresses passion, love, and sadness simultaneously.
Her takes on Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman,” “I Shall Be Released,” and “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” as well as Barry Gibb’s “In the Morning,” and “To Love Somebody” show her respect for those singer-songwriters and their craft, as well as her own style.
Other songs on this CD include Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” Pete Seeger’s “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (which the Byrds made famous), and Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles.”
With just a piano to accompany her, Simone also takes on Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” and Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes.” Rounding out the CD is the traditional folk tale “House of the Rising Sun,” as well as Hoyt Axton’s “The Pusher,” and Judy Collins’ “My Father.”
While my favorite song on this CD is definitely “Here Comes the Sun,” in all, this is a great CD for Simone fans, as well as fans of ’60s classics.