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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sublime & poetic
Nina has the ability to transform any lyric into a poem. Here again she proves her worth as a highly skilled interpreter of many different styles of music: ballads, gospel, folk, pop and soul. My favorites include the funky but heartbreaking The Family, the rousing Balm in Gilead and the uplifting ballad That’s All I Want From You with its haunting lyrics: “A...
Published on 10 Sep 2002 by Pieter Uys

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nina swamped with strings
Nina Simone was displaced by the mid-1970's,both as an artist and a poltical activist: Rejecting the USA, and living in Liberia, then Europe, spending years without management or agent, sometimes without a record deal, 1977 -1978 saw Nina at her lowest ebb. Then Jazz label CTI agreed a one off deal: Prime studio musicians, backing singers were drafted in. The result was...
Published on 4 May 2008 by M. Shankland


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sublime & poetic, 10 Sep 2002
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
Nina has the ability to transform any lyric into a poem. Here again she proves her worth as a highly skilled interpreter of many different styles of music: ballads, gospel, folk, pop and soul. My favorites include the funky but heartbreaking The Family, the rousing Balm in Gilead and the uplifting ballad That’s All I Want From You with its haunting lyrics: “A sunny day/with hopes up to the sky/Not a day that comes and dies/That’s all I want from you”. Her version of My Father is elegant and atmospheric, with a particularly brilliant arrangement. The varied material permits her unique voice to reveal more of its subtle hues. Baltimore is a gripping album of beautiful songs that will richly reward the listener.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An album containing some of Simone's best vocals, 6 Oct 2001
By 
BROWN (Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
This critically acclaimed album contains some of the best singing of Simone's career - hence the four star rating. There are some beautiful songs here, too: "Everything Must Change" is a clear highlight in my eyes and the CD is a must-have for that track alone. "My Father" is also beautifully delivered - seven years after Simone's aborted first attempt, eventually released on "Sugar In My Bowl" 2CD set by RCA.
If these are highlights, then what of the rest? Well, the last two numbers on the album are gospel tinged, but Simone has done better. They are not bad, but just important in comparison the two songs I have already described. Of the remaing six numbers, three are reggae influenced, and Simone's voice fits this material like a glove. They are remarkably well sung, although anyone used to hearing Simone's earlier recordings may bawk at the sudden change in style. In fact, nothing that Nina Simone had previously recorded prepares us for this album. It leads her into new directions, it's just a pity that there was no follow-up.
The whole is not a masterpiece, but some of the tracks are when standing alone from the more minor elements of the album.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Achingly beautiful, 28 Nov 2004
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
With her mellifluous voice, Nina had the ability to transform any lyric into a moving poem. Here again she proves her worth as a highly skilled interpreter of many different styles of music: ballads, gospel, folk, pop and soul. The title track is fairly lightweight compared to what follows, like the brooding Everything Must Change. There is a funky beat to the heartbreaking The Family, a tale of tragedy and hope. My favourites include the rousing Balm in Gilead and the uplifting ballad That's All I Want From You with its simple and haunting lyrics. Her version of My Father is elegant and atmospheric, with a particularly brilliant arrangement, whilst Music For Lovers is dreamy and romantic. The album concludes with the buoyant gospel sounds of If You Pray Right. The varied material permits her unique voice to reveal more of its subtle hues. Baltimore is a gripping album of beautiful songs that will richly reward the listener.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nina swamped with strings, 4 May 2008
This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
Nina Simone was displaced by the mid-1970's,both as an artist and a poltical activist: Rejecting the USA, and living in Liberia, then Europe, spending years without management or agent, sometimes without a record deal, 1977 -1978 saw Nina at her lowest ebb. Then Jazz label CTI agreed a one off deal: Prime studio musicians, backing singers were drafted in. The result was this 1978 album 'Baltimore'. Even the CD sleeve notes concede that Nina didn't like the final result and later she claimed to have had no choice of the songs that were selected. Some fans however rate this release highly. Sadly the over-production -particularly the orchestral overdubs added later to the original work- nearly stifles the whole release.
Randy Newman's `Baltimore' opens the set, a fine version, with a slight reggae beat ; Nina's voice is great, draws out Newman's sharp lyrics, but string arrangements begin to dangerously encroach. `Everything Must Change' follows, Nina sounds on tip top form, and the orchestra has been kept at bay so one can hear Nina's intricate piano arrangement and poignant interpretation of this track. But sadly the lush string arrangements return with a vengeance to suffocate her version of Judy Collins' `My Father' and the old standard `Music for Lovers', and 'That's All I Want From You'. There a couple of quirky upbeat cuts ` The Family' and `Rich Girl' ( the Hall/Oates hit) which are a little odd. `Forget' is a Soul ballad with a subtle reggae tinge, then two uplifting Gospel numbers `Balm in Gilead' and `If You Pray Right' which really are charming. `Baltimore' has its moments but hardly ranks along side classic Nina. Its tracks haven't found their way on to the countless Nina Simone compilations, so worth checking out if you are after some lesser known material.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graceful and moving, 1 April 2010
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
This elegantly orchestrated album was recorded in Brussels in 1978. The legendary singer is supported by inter alia piano, bass, drums, guitars, violins, violas, cellos, string bass and eight backing vocalists. Her delivery is sublime as are the arrangements, four of which were done by her. Those who love Simone's voice but aren't particularly fond of jazz will probably treasure Baltimore as her most appealing recording.

Although many tracks portray impermanence or tragedy, the album never becomes oppressive or gloomy as the music's spirituality of hope inspires and uplifts the soul. The first four fall into this category, from the uptempo Randy Newman-composed title track that deals with hard times in the city through a slow and somber lament about the inevitability of change to a tale of rural tragedy and finally wistful yearning on My Father, the Judy Collins composition.

On the third, a harrowing tale of family disintegrating is counteracted by one character's determination to cling to hope and the affirmative intonations of the gospel choir. The tone changes on Music For Lovers, a ballad with a spacious arrangement, and again on the uptempo piece of wise advice titled Rich Girl. The exquisite That's All I Want From You is a highlight; this must be one of the most graceful and tender love songs of all time.

This gem of an album concludes with two traditionals, the soulful and comforting Balm In Gilead which is followed by the uptempo devotional If You Pray Right. Those who appreciate Baltimore will most likely also enjoy the Best Of album which contains her rendition of Leonard Cohen's Suzanne and the heart-rending Compensation, her musical setting of the poem Compassion by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baltimore magnificently engineered, 25 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. P. Nash (CARLISLE UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
Baltimore
Originalyl one of the best recordings ever Creed Taylor "Sunday Times" great singing expressive declamation emotional message Nina Simone possibly the very best jazz soul singer ever in fine form
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baltimore, 28 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
This is Nina Simone without being too freaky! The songs, lyrics and production are perfect for her voice. It's not a dance or smoochy CD but great as laid back/chilling time or as background music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovers rock?, 8 July 2010
By 
R. Poole "baby boomer" (london uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
this is nina in a sort of "lovers rock mode".some beautiful songs ,the highlight for me being "my father".this is not ,like her very early stuff ,jazzy nor like her "heavy" political period but still a damn fine record
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album - can we have a stripped down version?, 18 May 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (North London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
I have really enjoyed this album since its release in 1978, however Nina was not too enamoured of it.

Can I suggest that CTI records offer her fans a stripped down version minus the CTI makeover; this could be in the same vein as the stripped down version of John Lennon's Double Fantasy.

Let her fans decide.

BTW to all new to Nina - you will love the profound song selection as well as the unique interpretations.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great, 30 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Baltimore (Audio CD)
recording not amazing but a great album - only bought it really for the title track - never heard her do reggae before!!
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Baltimore
Baltimore by Nina Simone (Audio CD - 2003)
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