Nina Simone has been well treated in recent years by audiophile reissue labels with Pure Pleasure, Speakers Corner and 4 Men With Beards each having a handful of titles in their catalogues. Original Recordings Group has now entered the fray with a deluxe two LP 45 RPM release of Simone’s 1967 second release for RCA. Recorded at the height of popularity of Aretha Franklin, Simone stuck to her more controlled style. Featuring ‘The Look Of Love’ and sometimes unfavorably compared to Dusty Springfield’s version, the real heart of Silk & Soul is found in Simone’s civil rights songs, which no one did better.
Written by Billy Taylor and first sung by Simone, many other artists have covered ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’, but Nina Simone owned the song and her version on this LP is outstanding. Her “hit” from the LP that won her a Grammy nomination – ‘You’ll Go To Hell’ – is another signature piece that she nails. Originally recorded in RCA’s Studio B by Ray Hall, the album started out with outstanding sound that is made all the more vivid by Bernie Grundman’s 45 RPM mastering and RTI’s flawless pressing. ORG’s fabulous packaging tops off a must-have for Simone fans.