chrono about
The Nina Simone Database

In Concert
Original discography

Philips BL 7678 (1964 UK)

See all releases of this album.
Tracks sorted by number (sort by session or by title)
 1 [2:30] I Loves You Porgy   George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward

 2 [6:17] Plain Gold Ring   Earl S. Burroughs

 3 [6:36] Pirate Jenny   Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill piano played by Atkinson

 4 [2:38] Old Jim Crow   Jackie Alper, Nina Simone, Ron Vander Groef

 5 [5:25] Don't Smoke in Bed   Willard Robison

 6 [6:58] Go Limp   Alex Comfort, Nina Simone

 7 [4:52] Mississippi Goddam   Nina Simone standard studio version

Liner Notes by Nick Biro
Nina Simone in concert is Nina in her natural element. She can talk, hum, croon, take her time – tell a few stories – pick her audience up with her and in short make her performances a very real and personal thing.
What ordinarily is not possible on a commercial record is captured here because this is a complete and authentic recreation of a live concert. That Philips were able to get it on wax and not lose any of the original pulse and feel is a tribute to the recording art.
To describe this record is to describe love, sorrow, pride, conscience – emotions that are all too difficult to put into words. But at the risk of sounding trite or perhaps commercial, this reviewer can honestly say that listening to both sides leaves one emotionally drained.
'I loves you, Porgy' is a plaintive, sad, haunting tune which incidentally was one of Nina's first records – done back in 1959. It sets the mood.
'Plain gold ring' has a wailing introduction that almost takes one back to African tribal ritual. The song has a strong Afrospiritual feeling, heightened all the more by the pounding congo-drum background. 'Pirate Jenny' is an old Southern "story song", earthy, powerful, about an old scrub woman working in a café who tells of seeing pirate ships in the dark. Black ships. It's more than music – it's great theatre. 'Old Jim Crow' carries the traditional message. Nina sings, "You've been around too long, don't you know it's all over now, when you hurt my brother, you hurt me too." It's got great beat – and a message.
'Don't smoke in bed' is a love song, done beautifully, sung by a woman leaving her husband. She leaves her wedding ring and this advice: "Don't look for me, I'll get ahead. Remember darling, smoke in bed." 'Go limp' is a "folk" song about a girl who goes on a freedom march and returns, "with a brick in my handbag, and a smile on my face, and barbed wire in my underwear to shut out disgrace." It's humour with a message. In the end the girl finds a young man who teaches her "not to resist." 'Mississippi goddam' has it all in the title. And, as Nina says, she "means every word." It starts, "Alabama's got me so upset; Tennessee made me lose my rest; And everybody knows about Mississippi goddam." Nina might be prophetic when she says "This is a show tune but the show hasn't been written for it yet."

Nina was born Eunice Waymon, the sixth of eight children in the North Carolina town of Tryon (population 1,985). Her father was a handyman. Her mother worked as a housekeeper during the day, donning the robes of an ordained Methodist minister at night.
At the age of seven, Nina played piano and organ and sang with the choir in her mother's church. Later, she and two of her sisters formed a group and performed not only in church but at outside functions.
Nina studied classical piano for several years, attending the Julliard School of Music and the Curtis Institute. She financed her education by giving piano lessons to other students. Her vocal career started almost by accident. In 1954, she found herself low on work and tried to get a job in a Philadelphia night club as a pianist. The only opening was for a singer at $90 a week. Nina decided to try.
She dropped Eunice Waymon and changed her name to Nina Simone. It was partly to keep the venture from her piano students, partly to keep it from her parents.
Her career, however, steam-rollered. She performed with her own trio at the New Hope Playhouse Inn, Bucks Country, Pa. A demonstration record led to her first recording contract and her first album, "Little Girl Blue." It was the start of an astonishing career in which she progressed from the top clubs in Chicago and Washington to the Philadelphia, Detroit, and Newport Jazz Festivals, to New York's Village Gate, to Carnegie Hall, and on to the concert-halls of Europe where she has now won her rightful place as one of the great entertainers of the post-1950's.