Pastel Blues

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Pastel Blues
Studio album by Nina Simone
Released October 1965
Recorded March 1964 – May 1965
Studio New York City
Length 36:00
Label Philips
Producer Hal Mooney
Nina Simone chronology
I Put a Spell on You
(1965)I Put a Spell on You1965
Pastel Blues
Let It All Out
(1966)Let It All Out1966
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork 8.7/10[2]

Pastel Blues is a studio album by American jazz singer, songwriter, and pianist Nina Simone. Recorded in 1964 and 1965 in New York City, it was released by Philips Records in 1965. It peaked at number 139 on the Billboard 200 chart,[3] as well as number 8 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Richie Unterberger of AllMusic gave the album 3.5 stars out of 5 and called it "one of Nina Simone's more subdued mid-'60s LPs, putting the emphasis on her piano rather than band arrangements."[1] He added, "By far the most impressive track is her frantic ten-minute rendition of the traditional 'Sinnerman,' an explosive tour de force that dwarfs everything else on the album."[1]

Joe Muggs of Noisey said, "This is the blues as both urban and urbane, delivered with full knowledge of and passion for its history, and with all the guts and power that white rockers could ever muster, but with all the finesse, sophistication and abstraction that her Juilliard classical training could bring to bear on it."[5]

In 2008, Cokemachineglow listed it as the "30 'Other' Albums of the 1960s".[6] In 2012, Alicia Keys listed it on her "25 Favorite Albums".[7] In 2017, it was rated the 21st best album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.[8]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Be My Husband" Andy Stroud 3:20
2. "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" Jimmy Cox 2:38
3. "End of the Line" John Edmondson, Cynthia Medley 2:54
4. "Trouble in Mind" Richard Jones 2:40
5. "Tell Me More and More and Then Some" Billie Holiday 3:08
6. "Chilly Winds Don't Blow" Hermann Krasnow, William Lovelock 4:01
7. "Ain't No Use" Rudy Stevenson 3:00
8. "Strange Fruit" Lewis Allan 3:29
9. "Sinnerman" Traditional; arranged by Nina Simone 10:19


Credits adapted from liner notes.

  • Nina Simone – piano, vocals, arrangement
  • Al Schackman – guitar, harmonica
  • Rudy Stevenson – guitar, flute
  • Lisle Atkinson – double bass
  • Bobby Hamilton – drums


Chart Peak
US Billboard 200[3][9] 139
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[4][9] 8


  1. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie. "Pastel Blues - Nina Simone". AllMusic. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  2. ^ Wallace, Carvell (July 30, 2016). "Nina Simone: Pastel Blues". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 30, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Nina Simone - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b "Nina Simone - Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  5. ^ Muggs, Joe (July 21, 2014). "An In-Depth Look at Nina Simone's 'Pastel Blues'". Noisey. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  6. ^ "30 "Other" Albums of the 1960s (page 1 of 3)". Cokemachineglow. July 5, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  7. ^ Kenner, Rob (November 14, 2012). "Alicia Keys' 25 Favorite Albums". Complex. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  8. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 1960s (page 9 of 10)". Pitchfork. August 22, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Nina Simone - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 23, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 

External links[edit]