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Baker's Dozen

No Borders, No Boundaries: Eugene Robinson On His Favourite Albums
John Doran , January 14th, 2019 07:40

The Oxbow frontman, MMA prize fighter and occasional guest writer for tQ, presents a stunning 13 LPs for your perusal, ranging from baritone vocal jazz and noise rock to ecstatic easy listening. John Doran takes notes


Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue

My first introduction to Nina Simone was via my father who had been a jazz bassist who was working for US Air Force intelligence. He was a bass playing spy essentially. He spoke four languages and the Air Force made him form a jazz trio so they could tour Eastern Bloc countries at a time when nobody would expect three black guys to be speaking any other languages than English. So I stole his Nina Simone records. What I get from Little Girl Blue is what the Brazilians call saudade: you know, this kind of incipient sorrow connected to the fleetingness of life. And the sense of saudade from this record resonated with me even when I was seven or eight when I first heard it. My favourite song off the album is ‘Don’t Smoke In Bed’ which I understood as a child. It was rare, this kind of sentiment. At that time in the late 60s you had a lot of shit on the radio like ‘Light My Fire’ (The Doors) and ‘Brown Sugar’ (Rolling Stones) but to hear the wounded sexuality thing was rare; and of course this would go on to be very important to Oxbow.