Ayissi Chantal / Nina Simone

The Diva Series

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Nina Simone spent time recording with Verve or the associated Philips during the mid-'60s, so her entry in the label's 2003 The Diva Series focuses on that period, when she had an R&B hit with "I Put a Spell on You" and recorded many live albums. Though it is much longer than Verve's previous attempts, it certainly doesn't qualify as a solid compilation of Simone's career. A few career-defining songs like "I Loves You, Porgy" are presented in live versions which, fine as they are, don't rate with the studio recordings. For what it is, The Diva Series is a solid label wrap-up, including rarer material like "Wild Is the Wind" as well as a few classics like "Mississippi Goddam" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood."

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