Nina Simone’s ‘Mississippi Goddam’ Previews Newly-Discovered Newport Set

Verve will release the newly-discovered recording of the groundbreaking artist’s performance at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival.

Published on

Nina Simone 'You've Got To Learn' artwork - Courtesy: Verve/UMe

There’s exciting news for Nina Simone’s legions of admirers worldwide with the announcement that You’ve Got To Learn, a newly-discovered recording of the groundbreaking artist’s performance at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival, will be released via Verve Records on July 21.

The new release is part of the ongoing, year-long celebration of what would have been Simone’s 90th birthday, and is previewed by the release of the lead track, her performance at Newport of one of her most-recognized songs, “Mississippi Goddam.” It arrives with a striking, stylized lyric video.

Nina Simone: Mississippi Goddam — Lyric Video (Live at Newport, 1966)

Click to load video

Simone’s six-song performance at the festival, on July 2, 1966, was so forceful that it has held a place in the memory of music fans ever since. The previously unknown recording of the event now makes it available to be heard all over the world, capturing the vitality of her stage presence, her musical brilliance, remarkable vocal range, the magnetism of her performance and interaction with the audience.

She opened with a mesmerizing “You’ve Got To Learn,” in a set also featuring the electrifying, swinging rendition of “Mississippi Goddam.” Simone wrote the track, which she would call her “first civil rights song,” about the infamous murders of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing, which became central to the fight for racial justice in which Simone was so prominent.

She first performed “Mississippi Goddam” at the Village Gate nightclub in New York’s Greenwich Village, and it was released it on the Nina Simone In Concert LP of 1964, recorded at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The passionate standing ovation she received in the Newport show prompted a stunning encore of “Music For Lovers.”

Liner notes for You’ve Got To Learn are by the respected scholar and author Shana L. Redmond, who has written extensively about Simone’s life and legacy. Her notes set the context for the performance and provide great insight into the historical significance of Simone’s music in general.

Pre-order You’ve Got To Learn, which is released on July 21.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

uDiscover Music - Back To Top
uDiscover Music - Back To Top