A SINGLE WOMAN
With A Single Woman, Nina Simone adds one more dimension to an already multi-faceted musical persona. No single female voice has so furiously assaulted injustice, ranging from racism to adultery, in my lifetime. Yet the songs on this album reflect a life lived with risk and integrity, humor and somber realism. The energies escaping “Mississippi Goddamn” are in these songs shaped and delicately led through primal emotional terrain, interpersonal quagmires and ravines, otherwise known as romance.
Yes, “A Single Woman” is about love, all kinds of love. Especially, a full grown woman in love. A woman in the process of defining her life, deciding her fate, accepting, without shame or guilt, her own needs and desires. With a voice, that unmistakable Simone voice, worldly, yet vulnerable, this album allows us the experiences only a strong woman survives.
Even in the title tune, “A Single Woman,” Nina Simone sings with languorous sensuality: “I’m caught in a world few people understand…I am what I am, a single woman.” Depending on how well we’ve been loved or not loved, these lyrics and the earned authority of Simone’s voice will bring hope, reassurance, or the right to grieve.
No element, no subtlety is lost on these selections. The rights and responsibilities, thrills and dissolutions of love between friends, paramours, parents and children are explored with legendary Simone dexterity and compassion.
Not unlike the mythic Charlie Parker With Strings, this album finds Nina Simone, her deep and sensate voice, nestled among arrangements featuring strings and guitars, allowing the power of her vocals to float and penetrate our realities at will.
The cavalier flirtations of “Lonesome Cities” prepare us for the whimsy of “If I Should Lose You,” just as the trio of “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” “Il N’y A Pas D’Amour Heureux” and “Just Say I Love Him” unequivocally reveal all that is tender, precious and always unprotected when we love.
A Single Woman is evidence that a politically conscious life may not be correct, by may be rich in moments and memories, when as Nina Simone sings, as only she can, “Love’s been good to me.”
- Nina Simone: vocals, piano, arrangements
- John Chiodini: guitar
- Al Schackman: guitar
- John Clayton: bass
- Jim Hughart: bass
- Jeffrey Hamilton: drums
- Larry Bunker: percussion
- Michael Melvin: piano
- Al Schmitt: mixing, recording
- Andre Fischer: producer
- Michael Alago: executive producer
- Carol Friedman: photography
- Ntozake Shange: liner notes
- Label: Elektra, 1959
- Recording session: Oceanway Studios & Mad Hatter Studio – Los Angeles, California – 1993
- Catalog number: 61503