Nina Simone
I Put a Spell on You



by Guilherme Boldrin USER (15 Reviews)
February 28th, 2013 | 12 replies | 1,949 views

Release Date: 1965 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nina Simone bewitching with her, perharps, most concise record.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

'I put a spell on you' is certainly one of the most famous albums by Nina Simone, American pianist and singer known for her especially emotional interpretations on a varied range of styles going from a more soul touch, through jazz and blues. By Its very diversified nature, this album is one of my favorites by her, it can be harsh and strong on some moments, and then very subtle and soft in others. It's truly a masterpiece in many senses.

Nina Simone is not delivering some virtuous range of screaming vocals, or some epic structured experimental effort, the thing here is more focused in the soft nuances among the notes, the fragile melodies and the singular tone of her voice. Even this way, she can sing very loud and emotional when the song asks for it. It's also very to important to stress her skills on piano as very high point in this album, just hear the final part of 'Tomorrow Is My Turn' or on the instrumental jazzy oriented tune 'Blues On Purpose'. What we got here are truly amazing performances of, I got to say, some of the most inspired tracks I’ve heard in long time.

'I put a spell on you' is a famous song, with many versions, including artists like Diamanda Galas and Marilyn Manson, and composed by the crazy jazz man Screamin' Jay Hawkins. I have, however, no fear to say Nina Simone is the best interpreter of this song, it has very impressive arrangements and beautiful vocal interpretation, giving it a more serious and dramatic sensation than the original, which is some kind of dramatic and sarcastic circus experience.

Another strong version included in this album is 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' a very famous French song wrote by Jacques Brel. Nina Simone interpretation, again here, leads the lyricism included on the song to perfection. It's the saddest song of the album and perhaps again, the best version of an incredible famous music.

I could highlight almost every song in this album, it feels complete with emotional ballads filled with beautiful melodies, strong piano harmonies and Nina Simone famous onomatopoeia improvisation in songs ends. 'July Tree' is the softest and most sensitive song on the album, while songs like 'One September Day' and 'You've Got To Learn' bring love themes as very inspired ballads. At the same time, this has strong blues and jazzy songs, with very inspired lyrics, as the women liberation-like themes on 'Marriage Is For Old Folks' and 'Gimme Some'. Here is a woman that used to suffer from domestic violence, singing wonderfully and with a very sense of fun about living in freedom. I got to enjoy this.

But, there is no way here to not point out some tunes, being 'Feeling Good' the most unforgettable music on the album. What we got here is a perfect song, by its definition, with Nina Simone singing alone in the beginning one of the most inspired lines I ever heard: “Birds flyin' high you know how I feel / Sun in the sky you know how I feel”. After that, the song explodes, with her band doing a close to perfection work, the brass riff is unforgettable so as Nina Simone interpretation. Truly a classic. 'Take Care Of Business', the last of song, is another remarkable moment of inspired beauty and strong vocals. There are castanets, a choir and a flamenco influenced rhythm, like if some pagan Spanish caravan had come inside a church, playing as a rhythm section for Nina Simone's somewhat gospel interpretation.

'I put a spell on you' is truly a masterpiece, and it's very close to be Nina Simone's best record, at least her most concise effort, I found it to be indispensable for any music fan, especially for who are on blues and jazz such as female vocals. C'mon! Just get it!

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user ratings (36)

Comments:Add a Comment 
February 28th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

I like that one song, and I like dat RIYL section so hmm

February 28th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

This woman is enchanting.

February 28th 2013


I spent 3 months in a flat with no internet and nothing but this and 5 Mozart CD's
Fell madly in love with this woman.

February 28th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Nina Simone seems to be kind of underrated here!

February 28th 2013


Looks like you might have a few typos, probably from spell check?

"diversification nature"
"strong on some moments, and them very subtle"
You might want to re-edit real quick sir.

Digging: The Ettes - Shake the Dust

February 28th 2013


Sweet, me and my roomies have been listening to Nina Simone hard recently

February 28th 2013


I like the emotion you're putting into your review but you definitely need to edit it again and reword a few parts.

have an "I hope your going to fix this review" POS

February 28th 2013


nine simone oh man

Digging: Rites of Spring - Rites of Spring

March 1st 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

@omnipanzer hey there, thanks for the criticizing. I improved it a lot now, hope it's better. I'm a portuguese speaker, so i'm trying hard to improve my english... I'll be more careful!

July 9th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

gimme some is so explicit it's too funny

March 9th 2014


its comforting to know that some things never change

Digging: Renaissance - Grandine il Vento

June 24th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

don't leave me

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