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The Songs of Nina Simone
1 Exactly Like You
2 Gin House Blues
3 The Gal From Joe's
4 I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel
5 Feeling Good
6 African Mailman Medley
7 Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
8 Ain't No Use
9 My Baby Just Cares
10 Love Me Or Leave Me
11 Lonesome Cities
12 L'll Liza Jane
"Finding Nina has been a labour of love for me. The 12 songs I have chosen have, for many years, been a part of my live set and have evolved to what you hear on this disc. I saw Nina Simone only once, quite by chance, in a small club in Paris when I was just 18. The memory of such an amazing performer has stayed with me."
Two seconds into track one and it's welcome to a quality production from Stephen Dunwoody in this wonderful homage to Nina Simone. Man, he does her proud! But it is not a straightforward covers album. This is a Dunwoody album. Not that the actual songs needed it but he breathes new life into them. He performs beautifully throughout. The arrangements are superb. He has a quirky vocal style but it more than suits the material and he delivers every time.
(Here's a little sampler from YouTube, a rehearsal version of My Baby Just Cares https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77haTy8Bq5Q )
Nina Simone once said of herself: "Sometimes I sound like gravel, and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream." She also described her music as black classical. And those ingredients and more are right here, Dunwoody-style.
In an odd way, the album is both vintage and modern, not an easy chemistry, but it works perfectly. It is impossible to pick out a favourite because I love all of the songs. I'll mention Exactly Like You, excellent choice to rope us in. Stephen excels on Gin House Blues and he reinvents Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood. My Baby Just Cares For Me is as cool as cool can be.
And cool is not a bad word to use for Finding Nina. This is an album that should be dominating radio playlists for the foreseeable future. It deserves attention. It is so good.
I urge you all to seek it out and, just to get a bit jazzy for a moment, dig it, man. Dig Dunwoody.