'The Metropolitan Museum Journal' is issued annually by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Its purpose is to publish original research on works in the Museum’s collection. Articles are contributed by members of the Museum staff and other art historians and specialists.
If this is blues, it's blues in the Billie Holiday sense, not the Muddy Waters one. This is one of Nina Simone's more subdued mid-'60s LPs, putting the emphasis on her piano rather than band arrangements. It's rather slanted toward torch-blues ballads like "Strange Fruit," "Trouble in Mind," Billie Holiday's own composition "Tell Me More and More and Then Some," and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." Simone's then-husband, Andy Stroud, wrote "Be My Husband," an effective adaptation of a traditional blues chant. By far the most impressive track is her frantic ten-minute rendition of the traditional "Sinnerman," an explosive tour de force that dwarfs everything else on the album.
Having previously only heard their hit single "Cinnamon Cinder" and it's instro B-side "Bandito," I had little to base an understanding of the band on, and even less to justify their reported extreme popularity as house band at Bob Eubanks' "Cinnamon Cinder" club. After listening to this whole CD, it becomes clear that they were one fun band, unpretentious, and utterly silly. They embraced the pure fun or rock 'n' roll without any pretext of art - just good fun. From this new view, I can easily see how they were the party band of choice on weekend nights at the CC. This is the sort of band that creates a perfect backdrop for your party, not the sort of band you'd sit listening to, mesmerized by the artistry. Too too fun. Oh, yeah, besides the handful of totally fun pop vocals, there are a bunch of really cool instros as well.