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Mississippi Goddam
1963 Nina Simone
When I heard about the bombing of the church in which the four little black girls were killed in Alabama, I shut myself up in a room and that song happened. Medgar Evers had been recently slain in Mississippi. At first I tried to make myself a gun. I gathered some materials. I was going to take one of them out, and I didn't care who it was. Then Andy, my husband at the time, said to me, 'Nina, you can't kill anyone. You are a musician. Do what you do.' When I sat down the whole song happened. I never stopped writing until the thing was finished.
-Nina Simone I Got Thunder

Unlike Simone's earlier work ... "Mississippi Goddam" was a political anthem. The lyrics were filled with anger and despair and stood in stark contrast to the fast-paced and rollicking rhythm. Over the course of several verses Simone vehemently rejected the notions that race relations could change gradually, that the South was unique in terms of discrimination, and that African Americans could or would patiently seek political rights. "Me and my people are just about due," she declared. Simone also challenged principles that are still strongly associated with liberal civil rights activism in that period, especially the viability of a beloved community of whites and blacks.
-Ruth Feldstein "I Don't Trust You Anymore": Nina Simone, Culture, and Black Activism in the 1960s

Nina wrote this song in response to the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi on 11 June 1963, and also to the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed 4 black girls on 15 September 1963 (in the disturbances that followed, two more black people were killed).

Nina has also performed this song as medley with "Moon over Alabama". See
The song was also recorded by Esquerita in 1965 on LP Sock It to Me.

Recording sessions
1964 April 4-6: New York
standard studio version
The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
And I mean every word of it

 
short studio version with "beep"
Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi beep beep
 
 
1965 July 24-25: Antibes (FR) 6th Jazz á Juan Festival
 
1965 December 25: Loenersloot (NL) Mickery Theater
2008 [5:28] DVD 6 Live in '65 & '68 Reelin' in the Years 2.119014 (US)
 
 
1968 April 7: Westbury (US-NY) Music Fair
 
original unedited
 
 
1968 June: London (UK) Granada TV
2002 DVD 7 The Legend Quantum Leap QLDVD 0342 (UK) fragment
 
 
1977 December 4: London (UK) Theatre Royal Drury Lane
 
1980 July 18: Montreal (CA) Place Des Arts Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
Remember Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X
Hejira Brown Quami Touré
Paul Robeson Lorraine Hansberry
Duke Ellington Cannonball Adderley
Sidney Bechet Art Tatum

I beg your pardon
I said Martin Luther King and I said Malcolm X
That's better c'est meilleur more more more more more more
Paul Lawrence Dunbar Benjamin Bennicut
And my wonderful aristocratic uncle Monsieur Président Tubman
Tubman of Liberia his wife Miriam Makeba
Four little girls in Alabama
And the bombing on a Sunday morning in Alabama

Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
Give it to me
Everybody knows about Mississippi
Can't hear you

Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Can't you see it can't you feel it
Everything is retarded now
I can't stand this pressure much longer
Somebody do something now

Oh Alabama's got me so upset
And the whole damned world is make me lose my rest
Everybody's crazy and ashamed
Goddam

Hey now c'est vrai hey vraiment vraiment c'est vrai
Tout le monde se tait
Absolument absolument
C'est terrible mais c'est vrai
Les mêmes mêmes chansons qu'on 1968

Hound dogs on my trail
School children sitting in jail
Black cat crossed my path
I think every day's gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this planet of mine
We're all gonna get it in due time
I don't belong here I don't belong there
I've even stopped believing in prayer
Don't you believe it

Don't tell me I'll tell you
Me and my people just about do
I've been there so I know
They keep on saying go slow
Lentement lentement toujours lentement lentement

That's just the trouble too slow
Washin' the windows too slow
Pickin' the cotton too slow
You're just plain rotten too slow
Do things gradually too slow
will bring more tragedy too slow

Why don't you see it why don't you feel it
I don't know I don't know
Just try to do my very best
Stand up be counted with all the rest
Cos everybody knows about
Mississippi Goddam

Le prochain fois très haute hey Goddam

Picket lines school boycots
They try to say it's a communist plot
All I want is equality
For my sisters my brothers my people and me

You lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine like a lady
You'd stop calling my mother Aunt Sady

This country is but my country
Etats-Unis is full of lies
We're all gonna die and die like flies
Cos I don't trust anybody anymore
Keep on saying go slow
Lentement lentement lentement lentement lentement

Well that's just the trouble too slow
Desegregation too slow
Mass participation too slow
Unification too slow
Do things gradually too slow
Will bring more tragedy too slow

Why don't you see it why don't you feel it
I don't know I don't know
Just try to do my very best
Stand up be counted with all the rest

Everybody knows about Mississippi
Everybody knows about Alabama
Everybody knows about the elections
Everybody knows about Reagan
Everybody knows about Carter
Everybody knows about the whole thing
Goddam Goddam Goddam

(Lyrics transcription by Roger Nupie)
 
 
1985 May 19: London (UK) Savoy Theatre
2002 DVD 13 A Nightingale Sang... Cascade 60008 (DE)
 
 
1985: USA Theatre tour
Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about
 
 
1987: Hollywood (US-CA) Vine Street Bar and Grill
Mississippi Goddam

Alabama's got me so upset
1987 [5:02] CD 11 Let It Be Me Verve 831 437-2 (US) bonus track
 
 
1988 May 6: Hamburg (DE) Fabrik
 
1988 September 20: Barcelona (ES) Mercat del Born
 
1989 October 23: Hamburg (DE) 14th Jazz Festival in der Fabrik
 
1990 April 10: Paris (FR) Olympia
 
1990 July 13: Montreux (CH) 24th Jazz Festival
1990 [4:50] CD 13 Madame Nina Simone TS RRC 019 (NL)
 
 
1992 May 13-16: Pointe-à-Pitre (GLP) Musiques créoles
 
1992 June 4: Reykjavik (IS) Háskólabíó Arts Festival
 
Unknown recording session
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