Tom Robinson : top 10 favourite albums : number 2 : 1964 NINA SIMONE – In Concert

This was the first time Nina Simone properly cut loose from the stifling constraints of the white US record industry, and her own authentic voice cut through: proud, bold, assertive – and seething with barely-contained rage. At least three of the songs reference the burgeoning American civil rights movement, the most powerful of which closes the album: Mississippi Goddamn. “You don’t have to live next to me – just give me my equality” she snarls, and who could blame her. Stripped of all the saccharin strings and mellow backing vocals she was forced to include in the studio, you just get Nina and her small band blazing with virtuoso musicianship and righteous fury. This record was on good in the UK at the time – I only discovered it many years later, and still love it to pieces.

For number 3 in Tom Robinson’s top 10 favourite albums please go here

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