Nina Simone

I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl

Song Review by

A gently bawdy Tin Pan Alley song originally popularized in the '20s by Bessie Smith, "I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl" was adapted by Nina Simone in 1967 into more of a statement of romantic longing than sexual lust. ("I need a little hot dog on my roll" was Smith's barely-a-double-entendre second line.) Simone boldly rearranged the song, dropping the introductory verse in favor of a brief piano introduction and reducing the rest of the song to a few variations on the chorus, some with new lyrics. Buddy Lucas adds a brief and somewhat perfunctory tenor solo between the two choruses, and Eric Gale finishes the track with a small guitar flourish, but the heart of the song rests entirely on Simone's longing vocals and low-key piano. It's one of her most romantic and intimate performances.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Nina Simone Sings the Blues 1967 RCA / Legacy 2:32
The Best of Nina Simone [RCA] 1970 Novus / RCA 2:31
It Is Finished 1974 BMG / RCA 5:53
Songs of the Poets 1976 Edsel
No Image 1982 RCA
The Blues 1991 Novus 2:30
The Collection [BMG 1991] 1991 BMG 2:34
Point of No Return 1993 Milan / RCA 2:31
The Essential Nina Simone 1993 RCA 2:27
No Image 1994
Original Soundtrack
Tomato Collection 1994 Rhino 2:21
House of Blues: Essential Women in Blues 1997
Various Artists
A&M 2:32
Nina Simone [Eagle] 1997 Cleopatra 2:33
Released 1997 BMG / Balboa Recording Corporation 2:33
The Very Best of Nina Simone: Sugar in My Bowl 1967-1972 1998 RCA 2:30
My Baby Just Cares for Me [Import] 2000 Jazz Time Records 3:38
Platinum Series 2000 D-3 3:40
Bittersweet: The Very Best of Nina Simone 2000 7-N 2:32
My Baby Just Cares for Me [Jazz Time] 2003 Jazz Time Records
Anthology 2003 RCA 2:32
The Lady Has the Blues 2003 Tomato 2:21
Young, Gifted and Black 2003 Dynamic 3:28
The Nina Simone Story 2003 Snapper 3:24
No Image 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:31
Love Songs [BMG] 2004 MSI Music Distribution / BMG 2:33
No Image 2006 Sony Music Distribution 2:34
No Image 2007 Tomato 2:21