Nina Simone: Backlash Blues (1967)

 |   |  <1 min read

Nina Simone: Backlash Blues (1967)

Nina Simone was a rare one: she was classically trained, a political activist, furiously intolerant and increasingly strange and self-serving as her life rolled on. And that's just the broad strokes.

She was also something of a genius when it came to marrying blues, politics, soul, gospel and jazz. It is hard to think of anyone who has followed in her footsteps.

This song from the late Sixties has lyrics by her friend, the poet Langston Hughes. It was one of the last poems of his life.

He never lived to see the backlash which came as the protests against American involvement in Vietnam became more strident, the ghettos exploded, MLK and RFK were assassinated in that extraordinary year '68, black politics became increasingly militant . . .

When the backlash came it wasn't blue . . . but red with rage. 

For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting back-story see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Maurice Rocco: Darktown Strutters Ball (1945)

Maurice Rocco: Darktown Strutters Ball (1945)

No matter how innovative a musician can appear to be, you can almost always track down a predecessor. There usually seems to be someone who was doing something similar a little earlier, most often... > Read more

Ozzie Waters: A Rodeo Down in Tokyo and a Round-Up in Old Berlin (1943)

Ozzie Waters: A Rodeo Down in Tokyo and a Round-Up in Old Berlin (1943)

While we might agree that war brings out the best and worst in people, it undeniably brings out the utterly atrocious when it comes to patriotic songs. Most are sentimental, stridently... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DROPKICK MURPHYS INTERVIEWED (2011): Putting the bagpipes into punk

DROPKICK MURPHYS INTERVIEWED (2011): Putting the bagpipes into punk

From the first enjoyably rowdy bars of the new Dropkick Murphys album Going Out in Style you can sense that here is a band whose time has come. With the rollicking outlaw roar of Hang 'Em High... > Read more

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

Further proof -- if any more were needed -- that "world music" is a very slippery and loose term. These Womad visitors deliver a heady brew of Afro-Colombian grooves, soul-funk, hip-hop... > Read more