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Pastel Blues [Remaster]: Release Notes:
Personnel: Nina Simone (vocals, piano); Rudy Stevenson (guitar, flute); Al Schackman (guitar, harmonica); Lisle Atkinson (upright bass); Bobby Hamilton (drums).If this is blues, it's blues in the Billie Holiday sense, not the Muddy Waters one. This is one of Nina Simone's more subdued mid-'60s LPs, putting the emphasis on her piano rather than band arrangements. It's rather slanted toward torch-blues ballads like "Strange Fruit," "Trouble In Mind," Billie Holiday's own composition "Tell Me More and More and Then Some," and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." Simone's then-husband, Andy Stroud, wrote "Be My Husband," an effective adaptation of a traditional blues chant. 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. Pastel Blues has been combined with the 1966 LP Let It Out onto a single-disc CD reissue. ~ Richie Unterberger