Silk & Soul
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2006, Volume 13, #2
Written by John Metzger
On Silk & Soul, her aptly titled sophomore effort for RCA, Nina Simone retreated considerably from the raw, earthy purity of Sings the Blues, and although she employed nearly the same cast of session musicians to accompany her, she also draped many of the tracks with an array of polished production flourishes that included horns, woodwinds, and strings. As a result, she sounded constrained on her interpretation of The Association’s Cherish, and despite her stunning vocal performance, her rendition of Burt Bacharach’s The Look of Love suffered from its light and airy, bossa-nova treatment, which just didn’t suit her style. On the other hand, both It Be’s That Way and Some Say were solidly delivered stabs at shimmering soul-pop. Even better, the sheer tonality of her vocals lent an ominous aura to the cautionary (You’ll) Go to Hell, while I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free was a slice of gloriously uplifting gospel. Even so, the absolute highlight of Silk & Soul undoubtedly was Love O’ Love, where, accompanying herself on piano, Simone transformed the tune into an anguished cry of solitude. Initially, she exuded a fragile emotional state, but by the song’s conclusion, she conveyed the strength and conviction necessary for accepting one’s fate. The recently reissued version of the outing adds a pair of bonus tunes — Motown-infused covers of Why Must Your Love Well Be So Dry and Save Me — but in the end, Silk & Soul remains an uneven set that only on occasion captures Simone’s spellbinding charm.
Sings the Blues/Silk & Soul is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box