How It Feels to be Free

The Troubadour Cafe in West Hollywood was one place you could go in Southern California to see/hear the performers of the mid sixties often characterized as “folk.”  That and the Ash Grove were two places I went (when I could scrape up the 2 drink minimum and cover when there was one) to catch the likes of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, Judy Henske, Barbara Dane, Jack Elliot, and then there was the special night at the Troubadour with Nina Simone gliding out to the piano, much like she does in the you tube video attached from about 10 years later.

I don’t remember what she played and sang that night.  I just remember how she played, how intensely she sang.  The last two years I played “How It Feels”  in my history courses.  I am still amazed at the varying and yet consistent moods of “Mississippi Goddam,” “Four Women,” and how she transposes to America Kurt Weill’s “Pirate Jenny.”

Go on the you tube site, take the opportunity to look at some of the other Nina Simone performances.  Then think how appropriate they still are, perhaps even moreso today.


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