Musicians certainly don’t have it easy with record companies. First of all they must struggle to even get a contract. Then, when their debut release has proved a success, they are bandied around from one arranger to another in all the recording studios imaginable. But having been ‘treated’ with such sounds as a snappy combo, meaty bigband, and smoochy string orchestra, there at last comes an opportunity for some artists to be themselves again.
This album wholly concentrates on Nina Simone and demonstrates that she does not need help from anyone else in order to bring her strikingly expressive voice into the limelight. Accompanying her in her songs about loneliness, identity crises, and desires is her faithful friend, the piano, which she masters equally as well as her voice. The piano parts are far more than just casual accompaniments. Varying from number to number, they range from a classical, bluesy sound, to late-Romantic fervour, right up to avantgarde aggression. And yet all these pieces have something in common: filled with bizarre beauty, they portray a complex personality with all its ups and downs.
"Nina Simone And Piano!" is a great combination of the standards of the first stage of her career with more experimental and modern references from her later recordings. The song selection is fabulous and includes selections by both younger writers such as Randy Newman and old legends like Hoagy Carmichael. Simone sees to it that soul and feeling come before aesthetic appeal or instrumental perfection.
Her own best accompanist (especially during the crossover-happy '60s), Nina Simone sings and plays on this 1970 LP. With strident vocals and a thoughtful piano backing, Simone makes her own a pair of radically different (though similarly fatalistic) compositions, Blind Willie Johnson's "Nobody's Fault But Mine" and Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today." Her version of "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" leans dangerously close to avant-garde overkill, but she returns with good performances on "Compensation" and "Who Am I?" A great moment comes when a tambourine finally joins her midway through "Another Spring," and the lone jazz standard ("I Get Along Without You Very Well") is given a touching performance. In an era when Simone often veered from crossover to experimental, Nina Simone and Piano! is undeniably difficult, but frequently rewarding.
Engineer – Ray Hall
Piano, Vocals, Organ, Tambourine – Nina Simone
1. Seems I'm Never Tired Lovin' You
2. Nobody's Fault But Mine
3. I Think It's Going to Rain Today
4. Everyone's gone to the moon
6. Who Am I
7. Another Spring
8. The Human Touch
9. I Get Along Without You Very Well
10. The Desperate Ones
AAA 100% Analogue This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the master tapes through to the cutting head 25 Years pure Analogue
MADE FROM THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES
AAA 100% ANALOGUE - PURE ANALOGUE AUDIOPHILE MASTERING
We use the Original Tapes and work with only the Best Mastering Studios Worldwide
180 GRAM VIRGIN VINYL PLATED & PRESSED AT PALLAS GERMANY
Faithful Reproduction of the Original Artwork and Labels
LIMITED EDITION Released in Limited Quantities
All Licences and Mechanical Rights Paid
Are your records completely analogue?
Yes! This we guarantee!
As a matter of principle, only analogue masters are used, and the necessary cutting delay is also analogue. All our cutting engineers use only Neumann cutting consoles, and these too are analogue. The only exception is where a recording has been made – either partly or entirely – using digital technology, but we do not have such items in our catalogue at the present time
Are your records cut from the original masters?
In our re-releases it is our aim to faithfully reproduce the original intentions of the musicians and recording engineers which, however, could not be realised at the time due to technical limitations. Faithfulness to the original is our top priority, not the interpretation of the original: there is no such thing as a “Speakers Corner Sound”. Naturally, the best results are obtained when the original master is used. Therefore we always try to locate these and use them for cutting. Should this not be possible, – because the original tape is defective or has disappeared, for example – we do accept a first-generation copy. But this remains an absolute exception for us.
Who cuts the records?
In order to obtain the most faithful reproduction of the original, we have the lacquers cut on the spot, by engineers who, on the whole, have been dealing with such tapes for many years. Some are even cut by the very same engineer who cut the original lacquers of the first release. Over the years the following engineers have been and still are working for us: Tony Hawkins, Willem Makkee, Kevin Gray, Maarten de Boer, Scott Hull, and Ray Staff, to name but a few.
At the beginning of the ‘90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the reissue policy was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC Compact Classics, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and others, including of course Speakers Corner, all maintained a mutual, unwritten code of ethics: we would manufacture records sourced only from analogue tapes.
Vinyl’s newfound popularity has led many other companies to jump on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source from which to master: CDs, LPs, digital files and even MP3s.
Even some who do use an analogue tape source employ a digital delay line, a misguided ’80s and ‘90s digital technology that replaces the analogue preview head originally used to “tell” the cutter head in advance what was about to happen musically, so it could adjust the groove “pitch” (the distance between the grooves) to make room for wide dynamic swings and large low frequency excursions. Over time analogue preview heads became more rare and thus expensive.
So while the low bit rate (less resolution than a 16 bit CD) digital delay line is less expensive and easier to use than an analogue “preview head”, its use, ironically, results in lacquers cut from the low bit rate digital signal instead of from the analogue source!
Speakers Corner wishes to make clear that it produces lacquers using only original master tapes and an entirely analogue cutting system. New metal stampers used to press records are produced from that lacquer. The only exceptions are when existing metal parts are superior to new ones that might be cut, which includes our release of “Elvis is Back”, which was cut by Stan Ricker or several titles from our Philips Classics series, where were cut in the 1990s using original master tapes by Willem Makkee at the Emil Berliner Studios. In those cases we used only the original “mother” to produce new stampers.
In addition, we admit to having one digital recording in our catalogue: Alan Parsons’ “Eye in the Sky”, which was recorded digitally but mixed to analogue tape that we used to cut lacquers.
In closing, we want to insure our loyal customers that, with but a few exceptions as noted, our releases are “AAA”— analogue tape, an all analogue cutting system, and newly cut lacquers.
60 Years Pallas
Audiophile Vinyl - Made in Germany For over 60 years the family business in the third generation of the special personal service and quality "Made by Pallas" is known worldwide. Our custom PVC formulation produces consistently high pressing quality with the lowest surface noise in the industry. Our PVC complies with 2015 European environmental standards and does not contain toxic materials such as Lead, Cadmium or Toluene. Our vinyl is both audiophile and eco-grade!