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Princess NoireThe Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone$
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Nadine Cohodas

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807872437

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807882740_cohodas

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. To Be Young, Gifted and Black ç 1969 ç

. To Be Young, Gifted and Black ç 1969 ç

(p.222) 18. To Be Young, Gifted and Black ç 1969 ç
Princess Noire

Nadine Cohodas

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Nina's latest album, released early in February, which featured only her and her piano. The title was direct: Nina Simone and Piano! The jacket copy emphasized that Nina had done everything at the RCA sessions three months earlier, including overdubbing vocals and playing a little tambourine and organ. One of the most affecting tracks, “Compensation,” consisted of Paul Laurence Dunbar's two-stanza poem, which Nina surrounded with the gospel progressions she had played since she was a child. It fit perfectly with Dunbar's meditation on a divine power that first gives the gift of song and later as “the master in infinite mercy, offers the boon of death.” Those spare dramatic words seemed to capture the burdens that so often now accompanied her success.

Keywords:   Nina, latest album, RCA sessions, Compensation, Paul Laurence Dunbar, two-stanza poem, gospel progressions

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