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Nina Van Horn Sings... Nina Simone


Artist: Nina Van Horn Sings
Label: Plaza Mayor Company Ltd
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 31 March 2017

Nina Van Horn brings us a loving tribute to Nina Simone. In this album, Van Horn puts her unique twist on some of Simone's most interesting songs, giving us a mix of soul, blues and jazz...

The biggest issue I normally have with "tribute" acts is that they tend to go one of two ways. They either try to recreate as authentic a copy of the artist they are paying tribute to or they give the songs their own slight twist - which I always think spoils the whole point of a tribute act, but does mean if they don't actually sound 100% like the original act, this can mask some of their imperfections.

NIna Van Horn Sings... Nina Simone is of the later variety. But it's done with such passion and attention to detail that you can almost imagine that you're listening to a modern Nina Simone. Van Horn is an incredible singer, and does indeed sound like Simone... up to a point. More importantly this is an act that has to be seen live. Part of the experience is to see Van Horn in full flow, belting out the numbers live. While this CD is powerful and well polished, it can never hope to catch the energy of a live performance.

The first track, I didn't feel, was the strongest of openers. Her vocals have a slight, but noticeable French accent - something that rears its head briefly from time to time throughout the album. It's not a huge issue, as for the most part Simone comes through loud and clear.

It's a bit of a niche release. Nina Simone's hardcore fans will be horrified that her songs have been "butchered", those with English as their first language will find the French accent a little too much to bear, but if you're a casual fan of the genre you should get quite a lot out of this release.

The album contains 14 tracks (58 min, 26 sec) and while I enjoyed it I can see why this won't be embraced by everyone.

Track listing:

01 - Revolution
02 - Old Jim Crow
03 - Mississippi Goddam
04 - House of the Rising Sun
05 - Blacklash Blues
06 - Save Me
07 - He Needs Me
08 - Love Me or Leave Me
09 - Ain't Got No
10 - Feeling Good
11 - My Baby Just Cares for Me
12 - Sinnerman
13 - Be My Husband
14 - I Put a Spell on You


Nick Smithson

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