Larry Blumenfeld
August 01, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Nina Simone Anthology

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Nina Simone
Producers
RCA

We gave it an A-

These 31 tracks from six labels begin with Simone’s 1959 hit (Gershwin’s ”I Loves You Porgy”) and end with 1993’s return-from-exile ”A Single Woman.” The singer and pianist’s unclassifiable allure is evidenced by 1957’s definitively swinging ”My Baby Just Cares for Me”; 1964’s politically charged ”Mississippi Goddam”; a gut-wrenching ”Strange Fruit” (1965); and a tender 1971 take on George Harrison’s ”Here Comes the Sun.” Even the final cut’s schmaltzy strings can’t dim Simone’s star.

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