“Nina At The Village Gate” by Nina Simone - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1962Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

Recorded live in April 1961 at the Village Gate, New York. As Nina warms up in the opening bars of “Just in Time”, it strikes me that she really was a slightly mad ol’ bird. She’s in a world of her own with all that grunting and moaning. Alternatively, it might just be that she was actually hyper-intelligent. It was a sure-fire way to get everyone to shut up, sit up straight, and PAY ATTENTION. It’s quite a common trick in her live sets – and it seems to work. I always wonder if the inevitable first round of enthusiastic applause is based on respect or terror. Best on Side 1 is an extremely moody reading of “House Of The Rising Sun” which goes down well with both the audience and myself. Alas, it’s followed by a somewhat hellish hard-bop rendition of “Bye Bye Blackbird”. Such are the trials and tribulations of a Nina Simone album for an anti-jassist. Opening up Side 2, the piano-vocal piece “Brown Baby” is right-on but amazingly boring. Be better off with a pamphlet in my opinion. MUCH better is “Zungo” as Nina directly revels in her African roots; I’m crying out for more this level of exotica but I know I’m not going to get it. “Children Go Where I Send You”, which got its first outing in 1959 on “The Amazing Nina Simone”, gets a reworking to close the LP, as Nina tries to whip ‘em up into a frenzied state. “You ever been to revival meetings? I bet you don’t even know what I’m talking about.” she mocks. “Well, you’re in one right now” Nina’s behaviour and patter is always a mini-highlight in its own right : – ) Overall, this set is pretty good in places, but it leaves me cold more often than not…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [06:15] 5.0.png Nina Simone - Just In Time [live ny ’61] (Jule Styne, Adolph Green, Betty Comden) Jazz
A2 [04:58] 3.9.png Nina Simone - He Was Too Good To Me [live ny ’61] (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) Moodcore
A3 [04:34] 5.4.png Nina Simone - House Of The Rising Sun [live ny ’61] (Traditional) Songwriter
A4 [08:26] 2.5.png Nina Simone - Bye Bye Blackbird [live ny ’61] (Ray Henderson, Mort Dixon) Jazz
B1 [05:50] 4.2.png Nina Simone - Brown Baby [live ny ’61] (Oscar Brown Jr.) Songwriter
B2 [02:53] 6.7.png Nina Simone - Zungo [live ny ’61] (Michael Olatunji) Africana
B3 [04:04] 3.4.png Nina Simone - If He Changed My Name [live ny ’61] (Robert MacGimsey) Moodcore
B4 [07:56] 4.3.png Nina Simone - Children Go Where I Send You [live ny ’61] (Traditional) Soul

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