Sean’s music 35 … Nina Simone

Sean loved Nina Simone’s epic ‘Sinnerman’ track, and used to play it a lot. He may have heard it first in Scrubs … I know that it features in various movies as well, and that he made a point of tracking it down when he first heard it on television.

There are other versions of the song, including, according to Wikipedia, several by the Wailers. I’m not sure whether Sean ever heard those – if so, he would probably have shown them to me, as he liked to do.

The other Simone track he liked was ‘Ain’t Got No, I Got Life’, part of which featured in an advertisement to which we were heavily exposed a few years ago.



Filed under Death, Ireland, Music

5 responses to “Sean’s music 35 … Nina Simone

  1. Aedindarmody

    Hey – Sean’s taste in music can really surprise me – so eclectic and mature – thanks I really enjoyed these tracks a lot – hope youre keeping well and we see ye soon x

  2. Brendano, Nina Simone is someone who I greatly respect. I’m pretty sure I never saw her live though she did Ronnie Scott’s Club in London from time to time. At my previous school, working with a class of autistic children, we did “Ain’t Got No – I Got Life” which the kids really bought into. (We did change some of the words to make the song more appropriate to the children.)

    It was always my wish to follow that up in another term with “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free.” (That’s the theme tune from the old BBC programme ‘Film 84 etc with Barry Norman as presenter.) To me, the lyrics and tune stood as an anthem for autistic kids, the words being so pertinent to guys who sometimes feel trapped in their own world, unable to show or read emotion, or even communicate effectively. Interestingly I changed the first line to “I wish that I knew how I’d feel to be free” as my alteration allowed the strong beat to fall on the word ‘knew’ rather than ‘how’ and I reasoned the guys would understand that better!

    Another Simone song that always gets my blood ticking is “My Baby Just Loves Me” – the one with the rolling piano accompaniment. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like this song! I remember being in a bar in Holborn, Fetter Lane I think, where the Club bar ran the length of the building. This record came on and someone (was it me?) began pretending to play the piano on the bar. Within seconds one or two more did the same, both men and girls, and by the time we had got into the song, so everyone the length of the bar was ‘playing the piano’, the song uniting all drinkers in joyous abandon.

    Finally I have to reveal my puckish or black humour on the Nina Simone version of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” This was/is a party piece I did, mimicking the Nina Simone version of this song, which is a very slow and sedate bluesy version. Yes, I sing and play piano wearing black gloves on my hands and wearing a hang-dog, world-weary expression.

    There is one line of the song that I mis-heard but have adopted to good effect causing riotous laughter. Its the line that goes “He’s got the little bitsy baby, in his hands” which to my ears sounded “little bits of baby, in his hands” (Well actually, God would have everyone’s DNA in his hands, so it’s not that irreverent.) But I followed that verse with “He’s got the feathers of the owl, in his hands!” And here I really give the Simone hang-dog look and exaggerate the vowel in owl, ending up whining like a dog. I normally stop at this point as I start to laugh with everyone else. (God I should be on the stage ha ha.) I am going to e-mail the Simone version of that song to you. In truth I can get tears in my eyes when I hear her sing this song – so beautiful and raw.

  3. Thanks for sending me this video, PapaG … great stuff.

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