On February 23rd 2018, $tateside Records will release a 2 CD box set and ‘Highlights’ LP, showcasing Nina Simone’s musical journey at Columbia Pictures Records during her time with them from 1959 to 1964.The release marks the 80th anniversary of Nina Simone’s birthday, and includes seven singles in their original edits, made available for the first time since the 1960s
A comprehensive track listing of 27 songs, The Colpix Singles trace Nina Simone’s various musical transformations from jazz and folk singer to critically acclaimed songwriter, featuring tracks such as ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’ from her debut solo album for the label: The Amazing Nina Simone, through to her most well-known work such as ‘Summertime’ from the live-recorded album Nina Simone At The Town Hall and finishes with ‘Blackbird’; a song which shows how far she had matured artistically during her time at Colpix, revealing a glimpse of her future as a civil rights activist, and songs to come like ‘Mississippi Goddam’ and ‘Young, Gifted And Black’.
Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, the Grammy Award-winner started her musical career as a classically trained child virtuoso, whose piano recitals were local events. Strongly rooted in the works of Bach, the musician became a singer almost by accident: and the rest is history. Over the next five decades, her recordings, which reached the top of the charts on many occasions, earned her cult status and critical acclaim.
Nina Simone came to life in 1954 when she took up a residency in a bar in Atlantic City to pay for her music lessons. It was here where her unique blend of jazz, classical music, and blues soon won her an audience, and in 1958 she signed to Bethlehem Records. Her version of George and Ira Gershwin’s ‘I Loves You Porgy’ went Top 20 on the Billboard pop chart, and her debut album Little Girl Blue followed soon afterwards. It was a bold artistic statement, especially notable for ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’, which incorporated a touch of Bach. The contract Simone signed with Bethlehem reverberated years later when ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ went to number one all over Europe and yet, having previously signed them away, she received no royalties.
In 1959 she moved to New York City. “New Year 1959 found me in a creepy marriage stuck in a tiny room with a hit record, a rising reputation, and no idea of how to make the money I needed to finish my classical training,” said Nina. However, the success of ‘I Loves You Porgy’ meant she was in demand, and Joyce O’Selznick, the talent scout for Columbia Pictures Records, Colpix, offered her a long-term deal. It was an unusual label that released soundtracks, records by actors under contract to the studio, and some jazz, rhythm and blues.
“I played what I wanted and nothing else,” said Nina of her Colpix days in her autobiography, I Put A Spell On You. “Hell, they weren’t paying me well enough to tell me what to play. There was no proper producer on my records – just an engineer to set everything up, an orchestrator to write out the arrangements, and the rest I did myself.”
1 Chilly Winds Don’t Blow
2 Solitaire – (CD Only)
3 Children Go Where I Send You
4 Willow Weep For Me – (CD Only)
5 The Other Woman (Mono)
6 It Might As Well Be Spring – (CD Only)
8 Fine And Mellow – (CD Only)
9 Since My Love Has Gone
10 Tomorrow (We Will Meet Once More) – (CD Only)
11 Under The Lowest (Short Version) – (CD Only)
12 If Only For Tonight
13 Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
14 Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair – (CD Only)
1 Trouble In Mind (Single Version)
2 Cotton Eyed Joe – (CD Only)
3 Work Song
4 Memphis In – (CD Only)
5 You Can Have Him – (CD Only)
6 Gin House Blues
7 Come On Back Jack
8 You’ve Been Gone Too Long – (CD Only)
9 In The Evening By The Moonlight
10 I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl – (CD Only)
11 I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)
12 Little Liza Jane
13 Blackbird – (CD Only)
Warner Music’s global catalogue division relaunched $tateside Records in 2017 as a marketing imprint to focus on classic jazz, soul and R&B.
The label’s story began in 1962 when EMI formed it to release licensed American recordings to the UK and Europe to provide competition for Decca London’s American Recordings and Pye’s Pye International labels. It scored its first of many hits in 1962 with Freddy Cannon’s Palisades Park.
$tateside became one of the most widely collected UK record labels in the 1960s, helping to develop a strong European fanbase as the label released classics by Marvin Gaye, The Miracles and The Supremes and many Northern Soul classics.
The label was retired in 1973, only to be revived for a brief period in the 1980s as a reissue label under the guidance of Tony Wadsworth at EMI Records and then again in the late 90s when it specialized in compilation brands such as Testify, Talcum Soul and What’s Happening $tateside, as well as artist releases by Tina Turner, Bobby Womack, David Axelrod, Cannonball Adderley, Minnie Riperton and more.
More information on the $tateside Records website.
Last modified: July 15, 2018