Nina Simone

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

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Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood is a compilation assembling songs from a fruitful period in Simone's career (the mid-'60s, when she recorded for Mercury and Phillips). The exceptional track selection helps Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood stand out from the many repackages of material from this era and amply demonstrates the range of Simone's artistry. The title track and "I Put a Spell on You" were pop hits; "The Last Rose of Summer" is a traditional Irish ballad adapted by Simone; "Ne Me Quitte Pas" finds her tackling French pop; and on "Strange Fruit" and "Don't Explain," Simone reaches back to the Billie Holiday songbook, offering distinctive and moving interpretations of these well-worn standards. "I Loves You Porgy" and "Mississippi Goddam" are heard in spirited live versions from 1964's Nina Simone in Concert, and lesser-heard cuts like the stunning "Come Ye" (sounding remarkably contemporary, with instrumentation consisting only of hand percussion) and "Little Girl Blue" add further depth. A fine single-disc introduction to the work of one of pop's true visionaries.

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