Today I was informed by the kind folks at The Orchard that a new compilation of unreleased live performances and video interviews by Nina Simone, Protest Anthology, will be coming out on Tuesday, April 8. Although I’ve featured the eclectic Simone on the blog in the past, I’ll let The Orchard’s blurb do the talking here:
Nina Simone is widely regarded as one of the most important jazz and blues revolutionaries of all time. Not only was she a Grammy Award-nominated American singer, songwriter, pianist, and arranger, but she was also a staunch civil rights activist and voice for black America. On April 8th, a new collection of never before seen video and live tracks dubbed Protest Anthology will offer fans a look at the “High Priestess of Soul” as she really was both on and off stage.
Protest Anthology collects eight previously unreleased video interviews and 11 unheard live tracks of hit songs “Mississippi Goddamn,” “Backlash Blues,” “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” and more in one package. These very rare interviews and recordings are finally being unearthed, under exclusive license from her ex-husband Andy Stroud. The first volume of a five-release series, these tracks contain some of Nina Simone’s most political statements ever captured, and truly sum up her strong viewpoints on being black in America during the 1960s, viewpoints that surely would have been controversial in her time.
In her lifetime, Nina Simone recorded over 40 live and studio albums, spanning the genres of jazz, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop music, and setting the stage for future generations of artists including Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, and many more.
Today’s selection is one of the tracks from the anthology. “Revolution” finds Simone and backing singers making it clear that it’s time for a change over a swinging groove featuring some stinging guitar work that dissolves into chaotic dissonance at the end. “Talking about a revolution, because I’m talking about a change,” Nina exhorts. “It’s more than just air pollution … you got to clean your brain.” Amen, sister!
In addition to the audio file above, you can preview more of Protest Anthology by clicking the album image above to go to one of the featured heretofore-unreleased video interviews.