Saturday, February 04, 2012

Nina ... Champale?

Recently there were musings in the blogosphere about the possible connections between acquiring a taste for a certain singer and the gustatory sensation created by high-quality (and, incidentally, high percentage) brewings (read more here). I've been thinking a little bit further along these lines and was hit, while doing so, by the following ad, published in the December 1967 issue of Ebony magazine:

At first, I tried to submit the message of this ad to the ongoing state of my reflec- tions about the subject outlined above ... but I didn't find it helpful after all. While the first note and you know it's Nina is most certainly true (and the first sip and you know it's Champale might be as well, even in the negative and not intended sense!), I can't bring myself to see any connection between Nina and the advertised bever- age except one of complete antagonism: Champale is sort of a beer made to look like wine and tasting like neither of them; to dazzle the customer it is sold in a champagne-like bottle. Nina, on the contrary, is the original songstress of the 20th century, not a mixture of anything, never appearing differently from what she is, and certainly not sold in a deceiving package. I guess she's the very opposite of everything Champale evokes in my mind. (I can add, for the sake of pedantry, that the ad shown above is missing from the Champale advertisement webpage.)

So this thread leads nowhere, really. At least not as long as I don't switch to thinking about which beverage makes for the most unlikely comparison with a singer's art and being. Which maybe, only maybe, could be the winning strategy in the case of Nina, for she can't be compared with anyone or anything! So like in modern theologi- cal reflection about God, which for want of applicable affirmative terms ended up as a negative theology (being only able to say what God is not), we might, in Nina's (less than divine but still out-of-this-world) case appreciate the idea of a wholly negative admiration by affirming what she is not. To conclude this, she certainly isn't anything like Champale.

But of course Nina had her own negative theology! And this is brought out in perfection by Nina's medley of George Harrison's (well, sort of) »My Sweet Lord« and her adaption of David Nelson's poem »Today (Is A Killer)«. The piece fills the entire side 1 of her LP Emer- gency Ward! (RCA # LSP-4757, out in Oct. '72). It was recorded live in concert, the exact locality and date are unknown (at least to me); the choir you hear in the recording is the Bethany Baptist Church Junior Choir of South Jamaica, New York. The entire medley being too long to be played here in full, you can hear an extract of about half its length, basically the centre piece:

Nina Simone: »My Sweet Lord« / »Today Is A Killer« (extract !) from the RCA LP # 4757 (1972):

No comments:

Post a Comment