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Strange Fruit

 
 

Philips BE 12589 (1965 UK)

Tracks sorted by number (sort by session or by title)
 1 Ain't No Use   Rudy Stevenson

 2 Strange Fruit   Lewis Allan, Sonny White piano and vocal only

 3 End of the Line   John Edmondson, Cynthia Medley

 4 Tell Me More and More and Then Some   Billie Holiday

Liner Notes
This EP is a dynamic introduction to the blues. Nina Simone evokes all the windswept grandeur of classic Greek tragedy in these four pieces which, in the startlingly dramatic Simone interpretation, reverberate against the rock of memory long after their sound stills. For Nina Simone is more than just a singer, more than just a pianist. more than just a musician, even. She is a painter of moods, emotions, more often than not dark moods and emotions, the kind that give dimension to a human being and the depth and wisdom of the ages to a recording.
Sometimes her moods are shocking, as in the title song, Strange fruit, a most overwhelming example of Nina's dramatic as well as musical gifts. Singing, or moaning, or wailing, or crying out about the horrors perpetrated in the Modern South, Nina starts out as a woman numb with what she has seen. and smelled — "Blood on the leaves and blood at the roots," "black bodies swinging from the trees," "burning flesh" — and finishes with a chilling, stirring emotionalism that etches all the injustices of man to man, leaves them indelibly written on the wind. It is a tour de force performance.
On Ain't no use Nina smartly handles a contemporary blues offering and makes vinegary use of such popular catch-phrases as "leavin' the scene," “putting you down," to delineate the age-old problem of an an ill-treated lover who has the feeling she wants to go, but can't.
The girl of End of the line is a sensitive, almost gloomy soul, and her moroseness is no passing mood. As Nina movingly paints her, it is truly the end of the line for this lady and the listener knows it and empathizes.
Finally, Tell me more. Extremely sensual, and, as Nina performs it, with a kind of languid, dream-like quality as she tells about her man troubles — all worth the trouble, she decides.