Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Lord knows, Gilbert O'Sullivan's 1972 hit Alone Again, Naturally was one of the more depressing songs ever to top the charts around the world.
Although the tune sounded almost jaunty the opening lyrics were, “In a little while from now, if I'm not feeling any less sour, I promise myself to treat myself and visit a nearby tower. And climbing to the top will throw myself off . . .”
That's probably how you do feel when left standing at the altar.
And then later, "Looking back over the years and whatever else that appears, I remember I cried when my father died, never wishing to hide the tears. And at sixty-five years old, my mother, God rest her soul couldn't understand why the only man she had ever loved had been taken. Leaving her to start with a heart so badly broken. Despite encouragement from me, no words were ever spoken. And when she passed away, I cried and cried all day . . .”
Yes, the outlook is bleak.
But at least O'Sullivan – Ireland's Raymond O'Sullivan – put a flicker of humanity into his emotions.
Quite what Nina Simone does in this later version about her late father is something much darker and venomous.
She makes very clear she hated him but then gets to an even more melancholy and existential place.
This appeared as one of three extra tracks on the recent reissue of her somewhat strange Fodder on my Wings album (reviewed here) which had largely languished in obscurity.
It was far from her best album but caught her at a strange time in her troubled life, which she let out in her music.
Some could say this one might have been best left inside.
For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.
For more on NIna Simone at Elsewhere start here.