Nina Simone
Pastel Blues


4.5
superb

Review

by manosg USER (40 Reviews)
September 12th, 2014 | 65 replies


Release Date: 1965 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pastel Blues captures Nina Simone at the peak of her career and it’s a brilliant album that combines jazz, the blues, classical and gospel music.

There are voices in the history of music that simply transcend. They break the boundaries of music itself and speak to the soul of the listener and hit them on a personal level. These voices don’t have to be technically perfect; they have to be sincere and special though. Nina Simone doesn’t possess your typical angelic female voice; she sounds sincerely troubled, heavy and her voice is deep and sometimes rough. Granted, it may take time to grow on you but give her time and this woman will win you over.

This album’s title is a bit misleading as Pastel Blues is not all about the blues in terms of musical direction rather than the blues we all feel at some point. Pastel Blues draws influences from soul, jazz, the blues, classical and gospel music. And if the classical influences surprise you, for Nina Simone they’re quite normal as she was a child prodigy and aspired to be a concert pianist; singing came later in her life as she played in small clubs and was asked to sing as well. For example the piano playing on “End of the Line” has definitely a classical flavor from the very beginning. In addition, the instrumentation on this album although not lush it’s meticulous; even on a track like “Tell Me More and More and Then Some” that follows a more subtle approach with regards to instrumentation, playing is of the highest quality. Of course, the highlight of every Nina Simone LP is her unique voice. On Pastel Blues, Nina howls, moans, mourns and makes full use of her deep voice singing regarding issues such as racism and civil rights (“Strange Fruit”), love, the blues or even religion. Unfortunately, some tend to characterize the album’s first eight tracks as mere introduction to the last song. “Sinnerman”, originally an African American spiritual song, is one of Simone’s most well known tracks and for a good reason. Its deeply religious nature combined with Nina Simone’s excellent performance both lyrically and instrumentally make it the highlight of the album. Nevertheless, focus on this song only and you’ll miss one hell of an album.

Lastly, Pastel Blues is not just a brilliant album for fans of vocal jazz but an opportunity to listen to a uniquely wonderful voice at its peak combined with some serious instrumentation. What’s even more incredible, is the fact that it was released on the same year as I Put a Spell on You, another highlight of Simone’s career. At the same time, both albums are quite accessible for fans of numerous genres and a great opportunity to appreciate on the best female vocalists of the 20th century.



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
September 12th 2014


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Because Sput needs more Nina Simone on the front page.

Full album: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Nina+Simone+Pastel+Blues/23693810

Your comments are appreciated.

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Chrisjon89
September 12th 2014


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yes! awesome dude. I think I might prefer Wild Is The Wind but only just. this rules.

Be My Husband + Strange Fruit + End Of The Line and of course Sinnerman. so much energy.

InfamousGrouse
September 12th 2014


3569 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

OH MY

Chrisjon89
September 12th 2014


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

considering it's one of her more acclaimed albums, 37 votes is so bad.

InfamousGrouse
September 12th 2014


3569 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Seriously happy someone stepped up to the plate and finally covered this masterpiece, props to you sir

manosg
September 12th 2014


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys! More people should check her music and I hope the review helps.

Pheromone
September 12th 2014


3784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This took some time to get a review.

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InfamousGrouse
September 12th 2014


3569 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Get that 3 outta here son

zakalwe
September 12th 2014


8841 Comments


Nina is impeccable.


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InfamousGrouse
September 12th 2014


3569 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

some tend to characterize the album’s first eight tracks as mere introduction to the last song. “Sinnerman"

This is true but somewhat saddening; the rest of the record is pretty much perfect, which I suppose is a testament to Sinnerman. I can't even put into words how good it is.

manosg
September 12th 2014


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, Sinnerman might be the standout track (if we have to choose one) but there are some incredible songs on this album as well. There are moments to love on every song tbh.

RadicalEd
September 12th 2014


2743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Be my husband is great. This whole album is.

danielcardoso
September 12th 2014


2549 Comments


Great review man, short and simple. Pos'd.

manosg
September 12th 2014


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks bud!

InfamousGrouse
September 12th 2014


3569 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

60s musicians were so goddamn prolific with their album output

Xar
September 12th 2014


1652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh fuck yes. goddamn this album.

manosg
September 12th 2014


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Both your comments made me listen to Mississippi Goddamn haha.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 12th 2014


6273 Comments


Excellent review Manos, pos.

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manosg
September 12th 2014


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks man.

TWIGtheWONDERKID
September 12th 2014


904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have a compilation of her hits (great voice). but know nothing about her albums. This sounds like a good place to branch out--nice writing.

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