Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 44
Wed, Mar 13, 2013
“Do I Move You?”
you/ are you
you/ is it
Last year, The Quietus asked Beth Orton to select her fourteen favorite albums of all time. One of the surprises, and a glorious one at that, was Beth’s choosing Nina Simone Sings The Blues. Orton described why she chose Nina Simone when she said, “I came across this on the way out to Hoboken to play Maxwell’s, and my manager, Geoff Travis, gave it to me as a gift. I knew Nina Simone obviously, but I’d never heard her sing like this. It just turned my head – I’m not sure how it’s influenced me as a songwriter or as a musician, but again, another album of just classic songs, one after the other, and so much attitude, so much fucking fire. I think, for me, her questions, her lyrics, were just fantastic – from ‘Do I Move You?’ all the way through. It was a real learning curve of growing up – there’s a lot of wisdom in these songs and also a lot of diversity. The music’s also pretty hard-hitting: a lot of groove in there, a lot of amazing rhythm. Just an unusual, really surprising record.”
When experiencing a Nina song, the first thing you realize instantly is that simply Simone’s voice is queen but her backing band of guitarists Eric Gale and Rudy Stevenson and harmonica & tenor sax player Buddy Lucas, turn this Nina Simone bonafide original “Do I Move You?” into this sultry seduction classic. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger would approve of this harmonica blues layered treasure. I would have loved to have heard The Rolling Stones back her with Mick on harp with “Do I Move You?” Can you imagine The Stones & Simone together on stage? That would be equally mind-blowing as this vintage RCA Victor recording.
When it comes to the legacy of Nina Simone, The Guardian UK’s Libby Brooks said it best in her “Soul Survivor” interview in 2001, when she eloquently wrote, “Like the Alice Walker poem, Nina Simone has always contrived to be nobody’s darling. She is a self-contained phenomenon, though arguably it is circumstance that made her so. Her voice is probably the closest we have to the sound that blood would make were it to sing. It’s the kind of sound that, once heard, makes everything else seem flimsy.” Nina actually makes everything, especially— life worth living. Just to experience what Nina Simone described as, “The structure, the cleanliness, the tone, the – nuances, the implications, the silences, the dynamics, the pianissimos, the fortissimos, all have to do with sound and music, and it’s, it’s as close to God as I know;” is a gift from the Music Gods. Nina Simone once said, “God gave me a gift and I have used it all over the world. And I have never changed.” Thankfully she never did. Nina Simone remains our lyrical Goddess and her song psalms will live on eternally.
Thank You Beth Orton for guiding me to my latest Eunice Kathleen Waymon rediscovery. If you listen to one Nina Simone song in your life, “Do I Move You?” should be the one? It’s so sinisterly salaciously Simone, you would swear that the Rolling Stones were providing the backing blues beat… but you’re be wrong. I bet Keef and Mick would approved. The reason I love Nina is that she doesn’t just sing songs like “Do I Move You?-” Simone lives it. Just read my favorite Nina Simone quote from this exchange with writer Allison Powell in 1997 Interview Magazine:
Q: Do you have a lover at the moment?
Nina: No, but I had a very intensive love affair from 1994 to 1995. It was like a volcano, so I don’t want that anymore for a while.
Q: Too much lava?
Simone: Yes, too much lava.