Nina Simone – Wild is the Wind

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  • Off the charts “Triple Triple” (A+++) sound for this classic Nina Simone album – both sides earned our top grade of A+++
  • There are a lot of bad sounding Nina Simone albums out there in the bins, but fortunately this is not one of them – it’s rich, smooth and tubey, just the way we like our Female Vocal records to sound
  • This is a very rare title, and unfortunately most of the copies we played had condition issues, so quiet vinyl just does not seem to be in the cards this time around
  • A Billboard magazine “special merit pick” on release, with the reviewer commenting: “Simone… sets up an exceptional romantic mood that offers top listening delight.” It was included in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and rated the 5th best album of the 1960s by Pitchfork (!).

NOTE: *On side one, a mark make 8 to 10 light to medium ticks in the middle of track 3, followed by 5 light ticks near the end of the same track.

On side two, a mark makes 9 medium to light ticks at the start of track one. A mark on the last third of track two makes 20 mostly light ticks.

Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing Nina Simone music with top quality sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.


This ’60s LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Nina Simone singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 54 years old), I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.

What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1966
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on Wild Is the Wind

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

I Love Your Lovin’ Ways
Four Women
What More Can I Say
Lilac Wine (From “Dance Me A Song”)
That’s All I Ask
Break Down And Let It All Out

Side Two

Why Keep On Breakin My Heart
Wild Is The Wind
Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair
If I Should Lose You
Either Way I Lose

AMG User Review

Regarded by many as Simone’s greatest artistic triumph, Wild is the Wind is a collection of very different songs that work together on multiple levels. They work as social commentary, the singer voicing her frustration with the limited opportunities of African American women in ways both overt and subtle.

They also work as a showcase for the artist’s versatility, as she tackles everything from sexy soul to soothing pop, from traditional folk to angry blues. Simone was not just capable of playing in these varied mediums; she could turn each into mesmerizing performance art, powerful self-expression composed of elegance and drama simultaneously.

Wikipedia

Simone first recorded “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” in 1955, in Philadelphia with a strings arrangement and was not intended for release at the time. (In 1970 that version appeared on the album Gifted & Black.) In April 1964 she went into a New York Studio with her band, and on the second day in the studio, she recorded the version of “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” that would appear on Wild Is The Wind.

For the song, Simone only wanted a minimal accompaniment with her playing the piano and a bass drone. Lisle Atkinson [describes] what he was asked to do during his time in Nina Simone’s band: “She wanted the least amount of complication as possible—roots and 5’s, nothing too slick. I have to give Nina credit for being aware that I could bow, and she utilized it a lot. She had me playing a lot of arco [bowing] in performances.”

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