Nina Simone’s lost set at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival released as an album

NEW YORK (AP) — Nina Simone fans have reason to feel good: An unreleased recording of the legendary artist’s set at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1966 is being released.

Verve Records and UMe release “You’ve Got to Learn” on Friday, a six-song set that includes a different version of Simone’s famous protest song “Mississippi Goddam.”

Songs also include ‘You’ve Got to Learn’, ‘I Loves You, Porgy’, ‘Blues For Mama’, ‘Be My Husband’ and ‘Music for Lovers’. Simone, who also plays piano, is joined by guitar, bass and drums.

There are sound issues throughout – as they’re sorted before the last song, the encore “Music for Lovers”, she shouts “Shut Up!” “Shut up!” to a rowdy – but Simone’s power and mastery are clearly strong.

“Her performance is not so much fiery as it is impassioned, not so much critical as cajoling,” writes Simone scholar Shana L. Redmond in the liner notes. “These are love songs and each captured something of the careful combination of intimacy and onstage immediacy that Simone was known for.”

“Mississippi Goddam,” was written by Simone in response to the 1963 Alabama church bombing that killed four little girls and the assassination of Medgar Evers in Mississippi that same year. The version Simone sang that day swings differently than previous versions, less nagging and includes the line “Watts made me lose my rest”, a reference to the Los Angeles riots of August 11, 1965.

This year marks Simone’s 90th birthday. The so-called “High Priestess of Soul” and a civil rights icon recorded nearly 40 albums between 1958 and 1973, with songs as beloved as “I Put a Spell on You”, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “Feeling Good”.


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