Nina Simone

Emergency Ward!/It Is Finished/Black Gold

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Gathering three of the four live albums Nina Simone released during her time at RCA, the double-disc package Emergency Ward!/It Is Finished/Black Gold certainly reissues a spate of consistent material. Recorded in 1969 (Black Gold), 1972 (Emergency Ward!), and 1974 (It Is Finished), the set brings back several of her rarest and least-heard LPs. Despite the obscurity of the recordings, there's scattered moments of brilliance here, including loose-groove renditions of "The Pusher," "Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter," and "To Be Young, Gifted and Black." Not every selection works, however; the nearly 20-minute version of "My Sweet Lord" (also encompassing "Today Is a Killer," a piece by David Nelson) opening Emergency Ward! is mantra-like and exhausting.

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