I haven't heard any other versions of this song, although I can't imagine anyone else making it their own to extent Ms Simone does. With just a piano and her voice, it's such a beautiful yet majestic song.
Quite unlike most of Nina Simone’s work the beautifully smooth jazz of ‘please don’t let me be misunderstood’ and sometimes slightly sleazy orchestral numbers ‘feeling good’, ‘I put a spell on you’.
For me, Sinnerman’ is out on its own, a 10+ minute opus, based around a rolling piano and double bass and often frantic cymbal accompanying Nina’s rueful voice tinged with desperation as she recounts the tale. Searching for somewhere to hide, from what is not explained, a man first runs to the rocks, the river, and the Lord, who all refuse him, the music booming louder and with more urgency following each rejection. The Lord even tells him to go to the waiting Devil, and the situation looks bleak, until the rhythm running alongside him suddenly clatters into a tree, and the sinner throws himself before the Lord once more, “Don’t you see me prayin’?” he cries, “Not nearly enough” replies the Lord, until the chasing evil presumably sniffs him out, the drums and bass pick themselves up and we’re off and running again, into the sunset together.
Nina's version of this George Harrison classic is brilliant. She makes this song sound as if it were her own. The emotion in her voice send chills down my spine.
15 Jun 03 ·rooftop_holler: wow, this is hauntingly lovely. thanks for pointing me in it's direction. it's gonna be a refrain on the "summertime tape" (working title only) i'm building right now...a refrain someplace in there to track 2 (the beatles version, following ELO's "mr blue sky")
I went to a funeral today, which is never going to be the most pleasant way of spending time. However, it was a humanist service and, as such, an appropriate and touching way to remember the individual concerned. Music was played, including Why? by The Communards: a great thing. Not neccessarily a brilliant song, but a very unusual choice.
Of course, events like this spark everyone off thinking and talking about their own fitting ends. I nominate this; a bit of Nina would be great at a funeral. I love the black farce of this track, and what a great piece of final gallows humour to play a song about hell as the curtains close around your coffin in the crematorium.
from Silk & Soul (RCA SP-3837) available on CD - Nina Simone And Piano! / Silk & Soul (Camden Deluxe)