It seemed fitting to do an mp3 collection that included both Nina Simone & Odetta. Both were fiercely independent black, female folk/blues singers who paved the way for Aretha to Beyonce. Their voices are similarly husky, strong & emotional. Nina followed a somewhat more ‘pop’ route once she was established. Both left the USA for a time to free themselves from both civil rights issues & to find opportunity to create careers.
Nina Simone (1933 – 2003): an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, folk, gospel, blues, jazz, R&B, and pop. On this mp3 cd I have Four Women: The Nina Simone: Philips Recordings (1964 – 1966). On another mp3 collection is: ‘Nuff Said live (1968), To Love Somebody (1969), It Is Finished live (1974).
The Philips are her 7 lps for that label which includes her blistering Mississippi Goddam. She does originals & folk standards (Black Is The Color of My True Love’s Hair) & classics (Strange Fruit). The other three lps reflect her love for the BeeGees (!) & even includes some Broadway show tunes. My first Nina lp was the live ‘Nuff Said – I was reading the poetry of Langston Hughes & did a search for recordings of his songs, some of which are on this lp.
Odetta (1930 – 2008): an American singer, actress, guitarist, lyricist, and civil rights activist, often referred to as “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement.” On this mp3 cd I have the hits collection Traditional Masters. She was a more traditional in her choice of material fold/spiritual & eventually feminist/political. Her voice is powerful & there is nothing understated in her lyrics even when traditional folk.
Over the past few years there have been excellent documentary biographies of each them that are worth tracking down. They were both fearless women who forced men to listen to them, to respect them. Both had creative career blocked by US fear of such voices but these women persisted & in doing so produced some fine music.