To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story [Box]

To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story [Box]


There's no question that Nina Simone is richly deserving of a three-CD (plus one DVD), 51-song box set such as To Be Free. From the late '50s until her death, she was one of the great unclassifiable pop singers of the 20th century, and if her voluminous recording career was erratic, the first 15 years at any rate had many highlights. Any complaint about this particular package has more to do with the balance of eras represented than the quality of the contents, which is generally very good. If one is to criticize, however, it's that it does seem heavily weighted toward her 1967-1973 recordings for RCA, which take up about two-thirds of the three audio discs. Perhaps that's because it's on the RCA/Legacy label, but certainly a good case could be made that her pre-1967 recordings for a variety of other companies (most often Philips) were worthy of greater representation. To focus on the positives, however, most of disc one does include strong pre-RCA tracks from the first decade of her recording career, including some of her best-known classics of the time, like "My Baby Just Cares for Me," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "See-Line Woman," "I Put a Spell on You," and "Four Women." While the RCA era arguably saw her move too much into pop-oriented production on occasion and too many covers of pop/rock hits, the selections from that era are chosen with intelligence, including a good number of live tracks. The two post-1973 cuts -- one from 1978 and one from her final proper album, 1993's A Single Woman -- seem like afterthoughts to ensure that most of her career was covered in some way, but that's justifiable considering that the last three decades of her life saw little in the way of noteworthy recordings.Though there's not much in the way of rarities, the set also does contain half a dozen previously unreleased live tracks of merit; four songs from the hard-to-find album A Very Rare Evening, recorded live in Germany in April 1969; and a couple (a live cover of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" and an alternate version of "Ain't Got No -- I Got Life") that make their first U.S. appearance. The most tantalizing item for serious Simone fans is the DVD of a 1970 television special, though it turns out to be a little less exciting than one might have hoped. Lasting just 23 minutes, it intersperses scenes of her recording in the studio and performing on-stage (most of the songs being fragments, highlighted by a complete live version of "Go to Hell") with interview snippets in which Simone offers basic comments on the rewards and difficulties of being a creative musician. Still, in all this is a very good box set illustrating Simone's facility at jumping between and blending numerous genres, including soul, pop, rock, jazz, Broadway, classical, and even (on the previously unissued 1973 live performance "Nina") world fusion music of sorts with backing by sitar and kalimba. Just don't necessarily take it as a summation of all her greatest work, with much more from the pre-1967 period in particular thankfully available to investigate on other CDs. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi

  • Condition: Used - Good
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: HPB Berkeley
  • Seller rating:
  • Label: Legacy
  • UPC: 886971100921
HPB pick - In stock


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Track listings

  • Disc 1:
  • 1. Mood Indigo
  • 2. I Loves You, Porgy
  • 3. My Baby Just Cares For Me
  • 4. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
  • 5. You Can Have Him (Live)
  • 6. Wild Is The Wind (Live)
  • 7. Trouble In Mind (Live)
  • 8. When Malindy Sings/Swing Low Sweet Chariot (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 9. See Line Woman (Live)
  • 10. Pirate Jenny (Live)
  • 11. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
  • 12. I Put A Spell On You
  • 13. Ne Me Quitte Pas
  • 14. Feeling Good
  • 15. Four Women
  • 16. My Man's Gone Now
  • 17. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
  • 18. To Love Somebody
  • 19. Sunday In Savannah (Live)
  • 20. Backlash Blues (Live)
  • Disc 2:
  • 1. Mississippi Goddam (Live)
  • 2. In The Morning (Previously Unreleased, Alternate Take)
  • 3. Ain't Got No I Got Life
  • 4. Do What You Gotta Do
  • 5. Seems I'm Never Tired Loving You
  • 6. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
  • 7. Times They Are A Changin', The
  • 8. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) (Live)
  • 9. Other Woman, The (Live) (Live)
  • 10. I Think It's Going To Rain Today (Live)
  • 11. Save Me (Live)
  • 12. Revolution (Live)
  • 13. To Be Young, Gifted And Black (Live)
  • 14. Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair (Live)
  • 15. Westwind (Live)
  • 16. Who Knows Where The Time Goes (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 17. Suzanne (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • Disc 3:
  • 1. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed
  • 2. Just Like A Woman (Previously Unreleased)
  • 3. Here Comes The Sun (Live)
  • 4. Tanywey (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 5. Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 6. My Sweet Lord/Today Is A Killer (Live)
  • 7. Let It Be Me (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 8. Poppies (Live)
  • 9. Mr. Bojangles (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 10. I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 11. Nina (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 12. Zungo (Previously Unreleased, Live)
  • 13. Baltimore
  • 14. Single Woman, A
  • Disc 4: Nina: A Historical Perspective Film:
  • 1. Ain't Got No I Got Life (Live)
  • 2. Pirate Jenny (Live)
  • 3. Don't Pay Them No Mind (Live)
  • 4. Milestones (Live)
  • 5. Go To Hell (Live)
  • 6. Backlash Blues (Live)
  • 7. Percussion/Drums/Clapping/Dancing (Live)
  • 8. Precious Lord (Live)
  • 9. How It Would Feel To Be Free (Live)
  • 10. Precious Lord (Live)
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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