Pastel Blues [Remastered]

Pastel Blues [Remastered]

by Nina Simone


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Released in 1965, Pastel Blues was one of Nina Simone's better titles for Philips. Issued as part of the fine Verve Originals series, the album has been completely and painstakingly remastered by Jeff Willens. While recording for Philips, Simone was -- as were most singers of the era -- surrounded by crowded studio production. She shed most of it, though, on this set. Evidence is in the opening cut: "Be My Husband" (co-written with her then-husband, Andy Stroud) is nearly an a cappella performance. Simone, singing in a classic field chant blues style, is accompanied only by Bobby Hamilton's hi-hat drenched in reverb. Simone's piano, thankfully, is front and center. She is a fine stylist, and the strange mix that pushes the piano to the same level as her voice is arresting. Other tracks that make this a keeper include her wonderful reading of "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," her jazz-gospel version of "Trouble in Mind," and the striking New Orleans blues-styled barrelhouse piano she plays on "Chilly Winds Don't Blow." Her piano is font and center in "Ain't No Use," written by her guitarist, Rudy Stevenson. There is also her excellent cover of Lewis Allan's "Strange Fruit," which is very different in approach from Billie Holiday's version. The set ends with the traditional gospel tune "Sinnerman," which is frenetic, skittering, and full of fury. It's over ten minutes long and it never loses its urgent stride. The band comes in with a vengeance and the tension becomes nearly unbearable until the track explodes with a chorus of male backing singers chanting back to Simone, pushing the tune into the red. There are instrumental solos in the center, though the tautness of the track never loses its power. It is a finish that is utterly dramatic and even stunning.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/14/2006
Label: Verve
UPC: 0602498887004
catalogNumber: 000600902

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nina Simone   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Schackman   Guitar,Harmonica
Rudy Stevenson   Flute,Guitar
Lisle Atkinson   Bass,Upright Bass
Bobby Hamilton   Drums

Technical Credits

Nina Simone   Arranger
Hal Mooney   Producer,Audio Production
Richard M. Jones   Composer
Billie Holiday   Composer
Rudy Stevenson   Composer
Hollis King   Art Direction
Maurice Seymour   Cover Photo
Andy Stroud   Composer
L. Allen   Composer
Bryan Koniarz   Producer
Traditional   Composer
Ken Druker   Executive Producer
William Lovelock   Composer
John Edmondson   Composer

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