Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Babies Know More Than We Think They Do

"My Baby Just Cares For Me" as performed by Nina Simone
This song was recorded long ago, during my childhood, but I don't remember ever hearing it back then (it was written in 1930, minus this 1958 version's lyrical variations). Liz Taylor, Lana Turner, Liberace, the latter two smiling, all put in glamourous appearances (that's a lot of glamour); from my more recent years, so do shows and clothes and cars and races and high-tone places (I have only second-hand reports on the last of those). And then the song gives you the most charming, lyrical line of self-mockery you'll ever hear inside or outside a popular song: listen to Ms. Simone's voice soar on the word "wrong" as she finally begins to wonder about her man (me? he only cares for me?), and to how her grateful, laughing heart abandons the possessive before "baby". That's love, baby (my baby, your baby, anyone's baby), and it's perfect because it comes near the conclusion of some of the niftiest, tuneful jazz trio playing you're ever likely to hear. The soft insistent caress of brushes on snare drum (more love!) and the gently tweaked bass (ditto!) sustain the pulse while the piano becomes whatever Ms. Simone wants it to: big, small, brash, shy, all grown-up and child-like. But in the end, the hero in this performance is the wondrous instrument of her voice, which makes this beautiful song a thing you will want to experience again and again and again. And again -- it's impossible to get sick of.
(That video is absolutely delightful, too, isn't it?) 

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