Eunice Kathleen Waymon aka. Nina Simone was the sixth of eight children, she grew up in poverty in Tryon, North Carolina. Her family wished for her was that she should be the world’s finest classical pianist. She did not get into the schools she wanted and always blamed racism.
Born the sixth child of a preacher’s family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist. Her musical path changed direction after she was denied a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, despite a well-received audition. Simone was later told by someone working at Curtis that she was rejected because she was black. When she began playing in a small club in Philadelphia to fund her continuing musical education and become a classical pianist she was required to sing as well. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and her rendering of “I Loves You, Porgy” was a hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career Simone recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958—when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue—and 1974.
Simone has dug deep into the american song tradition and it comes as no surprise that she has done several of Bob Dylan’s songs. She is an incredible interpreter of Dylan.
The first song is a contender for best Bob Dylan cover ever done (yes, I am aware of Hendrix’ Watchtower).
The Ballad of Hollis Brown(live,Mickery Theatre, The Netherlands in 1965):
We like cover versions here at Borntolisten.com, and here are some really great examples. They are not better than the originals, but they are different and they are good.
Rachael Sage & Judy Collins perform Neil Young’s Helpless. As appearing on Rachael Sage’s album Blue Roses and Judy Collins’ collection The Very Best of Judy Collins . Filmed at Steinway Hall in New York City:
It’s four in the morning, the end of December
I’m writing you now just to see if you’re better
New York is cold, but I like where I’m living
There’s music on Clinton Street all through the evening.
The problem with that song is that I’ve forgotten the actual triangle. Whether it was my own – of course, I always felt that there was an invisible male seducing the woman I was with, now whether this one was incarnate or merely imaginary I don’t remember, I’ve always had the sense that either I’ve been that figure in relation to another couple or there’d been a figure like that in relation to my marriage. I don’t quite remember but I did have this feeling that there was always a third party, sometimes me, sometimes another man, sometimes another woman. It was a song I’ve never been satisfied with. It’s not that I’ve resisted an impressionistic approach to songwriting, but I’ve never felt that this one, that I really nailed the lyric. I’m ready to concede something to the mystery, but secretly I’ve always felt that there was something about the song that was unclear. So I’ve been very happy with some of the imagery, but a lot of the imagery.
~Leonard Cohen (BBC Radio Interview 1994)
Sometime in the early 1970s, a thief stole Leonard Cohen’s old raincoat from Marianne Ihlen’s New York apartment. God only know what happened to it, but the thief almost certainly had no idea he was stealing an object that belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, if not the Smithsonian. It was that very coat that inspired Cohen to write one of his most beloved and mysterious songs. It’s written in the form of a letter, possibly to the narrator’s brother, who stole his lover, Jane.
Famous Blue Raincoat (from the album – Songs of Love and Hate)