Record Label: Verve
The Phillips Years is a collection of seven albums released by Nina Simone during her tenure on the label. Simone’s albums covered topics as diverse as romance, politics, Broadway, civil rights and more. Albums included in this package are Nina Simone in Concert, Broadway-Blues- Ballads, I Put a Spell on You, Pastel Blues, Let It All Out, Wild is The Wind and High Priestess of Soul.
In 1964, Nina Simone embarked on new stage of her career. Her rejection by the Philadelphia-based Curtis Institute Of Music; time spent as a pianist in an Atlantic City nightclub; her jazz, gospel, pop and classical influences – all these had fused to make her one of the most complex, fascinating and talented artists of the decade. Simone released her debut album in 1958, but when she signed to Philips, in 1964, her creative output was about to dovetail with the Civil Rights movement – notably coinciding with the Civil Rights Act Of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, colour, gender, religious affiliation or nationality.
It’s fitting, then, that the first album she released on Philips, 1964’s In Concert, captured some of Simone’s most committed Civil Rights-era material, including her explosive rendition of ‘Mississippi Goddam’. But this three-year period also saw her satisfy her relentlessly questing muse, with collections that focused on Broadway showtunes (Broadway-Blues-Ballads, 1964), pop material (I Put A Spell On You, 1965) and more, showing the full range of Simone’s talents.
On 15 July, these seven albums will be released in the gorgeous 7LP box set, The Philips Years. A celebration of Simone’s remarkable talents, the set contains many of the songs that Simone’s legacy is built upon – not only well-known cuts such as ‘I Put A Spell On You’ and ‘Feeling Good’, but also the likes of ‘Wild Is The Wind’, a song that David Bowie would memorably cover, and Simone’s version of ‘Strange Fruit’.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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