Baltimore (album)

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Baltimore
Baltimore (album).jpg
Studio album by Nina Simone
Released 1978
Recorded January 1978
Studio Van Gelder Studios
Genre reggae, jazz, folk, pop,
Label CTI
Producer Creed Taylor
Nina Simone chronology
The Great Show Live in Paris
(1974)
Baltimore
(1978)
Fodder on My Wings
(1982)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[1]
All About JazzPositive[2]
Robert ChristgauB-[3]

Baltimore is the 1978 album by Nina Simone.

History[edit]

Veteran jazz producer Creed Taylor decided to sign Nina Simone to his record label after seeing her perform live in 1977 at Drury Lane, and together they would record "Baltimore," Simone's first album since 1974's It Is Finished.[4] Sessions for the album were very tense, with Simone disagreeing with Taylor's production choices—particularly his interest in a reggae sound, which first caused Simone to ask "What is this corny stuff?"[5] Simone's difficult behavior delayed production, but she would eventually record her vocals for the album in a single hour-long sitting.[6] The place of recording may have had something to do with Simone's behavior, as she would later call the historic barn where Baltimore was recorded "a basement in Belgium where I was forced to sing songs in order to get out of there."[7]

Simone would later say of the album, "The material was not my personal choice, and I had no say whatsoever in the selection of songs. It was all done before I could make any decisions," leaving it unclear whether Simone—who had notably insisted on creative control in her contracts with previous labels—is referring to the final selection of tracks included on the album or the entire selection of songs ever recorded for it. While she may not have had full control over the song selection, Simone had previously chosen to perform several of the album's songs live, including "Music For Lovers" as early as 1966 (suggesting Simone had some say in the songs recorded for Baltimore, as it's unlikely that Taylor would have chosen this song on his own coincidentally.) [8] Several of the Baltimore's songs were performed for Simone during the concert Taylor attended before signing her to record Baltimore, including "Balm In Gilead," "Rich Girl," "Everything Must Change," and "That's All I Want From You." Additionally, Simone would rerecord "If You Pray Right," retitled "Heaven Belongs To You," on her album Fodder On My Wings and perform "If You Pray Right" and "Baltimore" for her live 1987 album Let It Be Me.

The album failed to do well commercially, although it received substantial press attention. Critical reception was mixed.

Track listing[edit]

Side 1[edit]

  1. "Baltimore" (Randy Newman) – 4:37
  2. "Everything Must Change" (Benard Ighner) – 3:57
  3. "The Family" (John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins) – 4:57
  4. "My Father" (Judy Collins) – 4:54

Side 2[edit]

  1. "Music for Lovers" (Bart Howard) – 3:40
  2. "Rich Girl" (Daryl Hall) – 3:11
  3. "That's All I Want From You" (Fritz Rotter) – 2:53
  4. "Forget" (Rocky "Cole" Coluccio, David Matthews) – 2:54
  5. "Balm in Gilead" (Traditional) – 2:24
  6. "If You Pray Right" (Traditional) – 3:17

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

  • Nina Simone – vocals, piano
  • Eric Gale – guitar
  • Gary King – bass
  • Jim Madison – drums
  • Nicky Marrero – percussion
  • Al Schackman – piano on "Baltimore"
  • Jerry Friedman – guitar on "The Family" and "Rich Girl"
  • Will Lee – bass on "Rich Girl"
  • Andy Newmark – drums on "Rich Girl"
  • David Matthews – string arrangements, piano on "The Family" and "Forget"
  • String section:
  • Barry Finclair, Charles Libove, David Nadien, Harry Glickman, Harry Lookofsky, Herbert Sorkin, Marvin Morgenstern, Max Ellen, Richard Sortomme – violin
  • Alfred Brown, Emanuel Vardi, LaMar Alsop – viola
  • Alan Shulman, Charles McCracken, Jonathan Abramowitz – cello
  • Chuck Israels, Homer Mensch, John Beal – double bass
  • Albertine Robinson, Babi Floyd, Debbie McDuffie, Frank Floyd, Joshie Armstead, Maeretha Stewart, Milt Grayson, Ray Simpson – background vocals

Production[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic Review
  2. ^ Review of Baltimore and Fodder On My Wings on Allaboutjazz.com
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Nina Simone". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  4. ^ Creed Taylor's liner notes for Baltimore
  5. ^ Cohodas, Nadine, Princess of Noire (291)
  6. ^ Princess of Noire (292)
  7. ^ "Princess Noire" (294)
  8. ^ "Princess Noire" (188)