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thanks Anna, hon, for letting me know this....i was getting a bit concerned.Wink

...i went over to The Versailles Room & check the "R.I.P. VIP" section, but i didn't see anything about Nina(unless there's another "RIP VIP" section elsewhere around the forum....i'm still venturing around here), but i'll take your word for it, hon.

..again, thanks.

...& look at the bitch NOW!
"Wigstock:The Movie"
Nina was phenomenal for a lot of reasons. She was in that American cultural outlaw tradition that eventually found the French much more hospitable, and so her lengthy expat sojourn for the last part of her life. Her music was essentially built on intense emotional expression, wearing songs with her empathies and connecting directly with that lived part of experience. It was hard for anyone, I think, who would have heard her live to not be affected. She was also menacingly fierce, and often seemingly out of control, off the stage. I remember her innumerable calls to Baba Olatunji, the African drummer and choreographer (he also passed recently and THAT was a total blow out of a six hour funeral!), who I did work for for quite a few years, seeking permissions to use a song he wrote that she made part of her repertoir, 'Zungo'. She was immovably uncompromising, terse, adamant, and just plain tough to deal with. Abbey Lincoln carries on a speck of that same energy. And today's queens really owe a lot to Nina.
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I hear the closest Nina Simone ever came to having a hit song was in 1965 when she sang a song called "I Put A Spell On You". This song was written by an eccentric saxaphone player named Jalacy J. Hawkins. This saxaphone player played in the house band of a strip club where my mother danced in when I was a kid. All I can remember was this dude, Jalacy, complaining every time the song came on the jukebox that Nina Simone had ripped him off because he never received a dime in royalties for it...
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I'm just getting up (still drunk). You two are killing me a little too softly a little too early.
Seven, You worked for Olatunji? I'm gagging. And he just died? Such a loss. "Drums of Passion" changed the world!

and Joel:
I lived in Buffalo for 6 months so I know what you say is true. What an incredible place. You go into a bar and there is "Leadbelly" or "Blind Lemon Someone Or Other" just hanging out getting drunk. And your mother was a stripper? And Screamin' J. Hawkins?

I need some more coffee!
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LOL.. no, you don't need more coffee, you need another drink!!!

I've never seen Blind Lemon Jefferson in buffalo (I doubt that if i did he would have seen me anyway). Besides, the only thing they got here in buffalo are rancid tasting chicken wings. As far as Screamin Jay Hawkins goes, I knew him in Paris when I was a little kid and my mother was dancing there. Screamin' Jay used to wear a cape and jump outa a coffin as part of his act. He could have been a great opera singer, but he liked toking up (wacky weed, he called it) and snorting sterno too much. As far as Nina Simon goes, I admit I sometimes get her mixed up with that other big mouth trouble maker who lived in Paris around the same time and never had a hit song either. You know, the one who made purring sounds like a kitten and claimed she was half chinese or something...
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I am sorry for you that you seemed to have missed the true beauty and talent of Miss Simone. What a life. And she had every reason to be hating on everyone after the way the record industry treated her. I am sorry she wasn't able to get over it and learn to enjoy life more. Her bitterness ate her alive. I worshipped her music in the sixties. What promise! I suggest you read her autobigraphy. It reveals a lot more about the person.
Daddy, I ran Baba's business with him for about nine years in the 90's. It really transformed my life in many many ways. I have endless stories about that adventure. He 'went over to the great majority' -as they say- April 6. The cause was terminal stages of diabetes. Drums of Passion was recorded in 1958/9. Everyone from Dylan to Santanna had their musical heads whacked by it. Closer to home, Nina, Coltrane, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Joan Baez, Mickey Hart, Jerry Garcia, -all fell under the spell. Baba and Nina had very similar temperaments when it came to the music business. And, well, Olatunji was a Nigerian, and African businessmen have a TOTALLY different set of business ethics let me tell you. Olatunji fared a little better recognition-wise than Nina, having won a Grammy (with Hart, Airto and Flora for a world music collaboration called Planet Drum. And in '98 he was nominated again for his own release on the Chesky label, Love Drum Talk, which I liked a lot because it was recorded 'live' in a church on 22nd Street with a small ensemble including Della Flack, Roberta's sister. Baba's and Nina's music both went straight for the emotional touchstone. Nina was tied in to the Black Arts movement of the '60's from the beginning and Olatunji was definitely a major flavor in it. I should make you a copy of a totally obscure Olatunji recording that was only ever pressed as 1000 cassettes - amazing traditional meditation music. You can get his whole discography ( sans the usual roster of indies and collaborations ) in a box set produced by Bear Records, a mail-house label in Berlin. It has a book with great photos, and gems like a single written for Jackie-O that was performed at a Democratic fundraiser in the early '60's. Ask Bobby what an Olatunji performance was like, I remember Bobby in the audience for a benefit for the UN Hunger project somewhere around '97.

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I knew Chi Chi would love the Jackie-O song. So imperial. Probably the only song in existence about American Royalty. I just found out the box set from Bear Records has been discontinued, which means all of that material will once again sink back in to obscurity the way it was since 1964. Someone should do a box for Nina, totally.
I love Nina, now that was one fierce lady, She didn't take shit from no one! Her version of "Pirate Jenny" gives me the chills and "See-line Woman" always makes me shake my ass also check out the Masters at work remix--gorgeous. Sinnerman (the original version) is so good musically but I thought Felix the Housecat did a great job on his remix. and her version of Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" makes me cry. And she was right to live abroad, she was always an American treasure and a true diva in all senses of the word!
I saw this thing on the ovation channel with Nina doing a concert. When she performed "see-line Woman" she started dancing and the crowd cheered her on. So I hope she doesn't mind being remixed for the modern-day dance floor, because some of her originals are funky and the material I've heard remixed, like "see-line" "Little Girl Blue" "Feeling Good", etc., are really good. But she's dead so I can't really speak for Nina.
One of my favorite Nina covers is Bob Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues". Her voice is so pure and broken at the same time. She really was such a great interpreter of music. Like Judy Garland, I found an appreciation for her much later in my life. Nina had such tremendous command over a song, even the most fragile of sad songs. I have days when I just have to put on Nina and work her thru my soul. What a goddess.
My two faves are her 11 Minute version of Isn't It A Pity on the Emergency Ward LP and the live version of Westwind on the Black Gold LP. The early 70's RCA stuff is excellent! Seeing Kabuki Starshine perform Isn't It A Pity at PS122 for (I think) the Marsha P Johnson Story blew my mind. And then there's her Bee Gees covers - don't get me started!

I was lucky enough to see her last performance in NYC at Carnegie Hall - she was frail and while the house was hooting and stomping for an encore, she was helped out to center stage by to able-bodied assistants and merely said into the mic - "Why don't you people go the hell HOME?"

Her autobiography is a must-read, too!
My two faves...

1) "Feeling Good"
The BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT Basil Twist used this song as the theme for "Jackie's Baby".
Picture it:
The "Rosemary's Baby Carriage" on stage. "Feeling Good" starts and out crawls "Jackie's Baby" who does this totally demonic dance number to it. Her eyes light up red, she sprouts devil wings and flys away.
If you can't picture it don't worry, it is highly featured in the Jackie 60 Movie.
Now if we can just get the rights to the song. But hey, how difficult could Nina Simone be? It shouldn't be that hard right?
(Thanks a lot Basil!!!!!)
2) "Everybody's Gone To The Moon"
The MESSY MESSY MESSSY Messy Bonnie Raitt used this Nina Simone song as the music to her stunning "Outer Space Christmas Number" at Cabaret Magique. A sad drunken Bonnie crawls through the stunned crowd as Nina sings, "Everybody's Gone To The Moon".

(It's always "stunning" to see how bad Messy Bonnie is. I know it's suppposed to be bad but...
it really is bad. Actually, it's more sad).


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True, I could see Paul (Opal Tuesday) as Nina-- young and older, with a bit of make up magic for the latter.
But, for a genetic female, I have no ideas. She needs to have those beautiful "negroid" Black features, which are not particularly in vogue now among Black American actresses and singers. Some of the Broadway "Color Purple" actresses could do it, but their voices are all wrong.

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