Newly Discovered Nina Simone Track “Blues Mama” for 90th Birthday Celebration


( ENSPIRE Music ) 2023 Marks the Celebration of Nina Simone’s 90th Birthday With the Release of Three Albums

ENSPIRE Contributor: Cailin Tennis

2023 marks a year-long celebration of Nina Simone’s 90th birthday, which Verve Records and UMe are honoring with the release of three albums. These include unreleased albums, features, and more. The “Happy Birthday, Miss Simone” campaign invites the world to celebrate Simone’s renowned career and lasting impact on music, fashion, culture, politics, and more. Not only is Nina Simone an incredible singer, but she also has been an advocate for Black rights and representation since the 1960s.

The main excitement around this celebration focuses on the three new Nina Simone albums being released. These include a new greatest hits album, ‘Great Women of Song,’ followed by Nina Simone with stunning immersive Dolby Atmos mixes of her entire UMG catalog. Finally, they’re releasing a previously unreleased live album, ‘You’ve Got to Learn,’ recorded at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival. Many more celebratory events and releases will be announced throughout 2023.

Nina Simone and her song "Blues for Mama"

Simone’s words featured in her introduction to “Blues for Mama” encompasses the power and passion behind her music. She says, “And now we’re going to do a gutbucket blues.” She describes the music’s nuances: “It is so because of its background. There’s an old porch, and there’s an old man, and there’s a beat-up guitar and a broken bottle. There are flies all around, there is molasses all around, and he is composing this tune on a hot afternoon. The lyrics are written by Abbey Lincoln, and I wrote the music. It will appeal to a certain type of woman who’s had this kind of experience.”

On July 2, 1966, the Newport Jazz Festival witnessed a legendary six-song set by Nina Simone that has remained etched in the memory of music aficionados for over half a century. Now, a previously unknown and unreleased recording of the unforgettable concert is available for the world to hear. The newly released recording captures the essence of Simone’s performance at the festival. It showcases her incredible vocal range and her unparalleled ability to connect with her audience. 

Listening to this recording, it’s easy to understand why hearing Nina Simone in concert was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The release of this recording is a momentous occasion for music lovers and fans of Nina Simone worldwide. It is a rare opportunity to experience the magic of one of the most exceptional performers of the 20th century. Don’t miss out on listening to “Blues for Mama,” and learning more about Nina Simone.

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