With singers of all stylistic stripes mining platinum via proven standards in recent years, the economic incentive for record companies to hawk thematic oldies collections is understandably tempting. The difference here, of course, is that this is no nostalgia trip for an aging artist bereft of new ideas. Nina Simone has been dead for four years, and a skeptic might question whether such a forward-thinking, often radical artist would have entered the studio anew to look so far backward. Thus this posthumously assembled 14-song set of cherry-picked covers isn’t so much Simone singing songs of the ’60s as Simone from the ’60s (and early ’70s). These compositions were relatively contemporary when she cut them and, as she always did, Simone was simply recasting favored, if often unexpected, material in her own image.
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