‘Feeling Good’ – Nina Simone

Jules writes:

I have been imbibing the Friday Fix for a year or more now, but I’ve never been able to pinpoint a song that I could share. There are sooooo many!  However, I remembered a song that always inexplicably renders my soul. 

Specifically Nina Simone’s recording of ‘Feeling Good.’ Nina recorded the song in 1965 and it’s subsequently been covered by Muse, Michael Bublé, and many others.

Feelin’ Good” is a song written by English composers Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd. It was first performed on stage in 1964 by Cy Grant on the UK tour and you can hear a rare recording here: 

I first ‘really’ heard it played on a record player as a student in Crewe in the 1990s. I will never forget it filling the house – everything stopped! I think it’s the ‘massive’ background musical composition (it’s simple, but just so BIG!), together with Nina Simone’s performance that is quite phenomenal.

If I may, I would like to suggest listening to music outside of our world’s clutter, and a way that I have found to do this is through BBC Radio 3 in the morning.

Combine music such as Feeling Good with a sunrise, a river, wildlife, a friendly ‘good morning!’ fresh air, cardiovascular exercise, and you have a hint towards life in all its fullness. 

Breeze driftin’ on by,

you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn,

it’s a new day…

In years past, I would never have predicted that I might habitually listen to Radio 3!  But, I have to admit, over recent years, my morning routine has seen me listening to (fellow Cornishman) Petroc Trelawny’s selections on ‘Breakfast‘ on BBC Radio 3.

During my morning commute, just as the day starts, it occasionally (and surprisingly often) seems possible to glimpse something ‘true’, before the business of the day kicks in; before the popular noise takes over.

River running free…

Blossom on the tree…

As I cycle my 45 mins to work, occasionally, endorphins cause the abstract combination of musical compositions accompanying the fresh air, wildlife, seasons, and the things and people I meet, to become more than the sum of their parts.

You know how I feel…

I know very little about the history of music, composers, or the political or social relevance of specific music creations. I can imagine for the creators, there is a lot of loaded significance behind, underneath, and inside many compositions. Perhaps I might dig deeper at some point. But it’s the raw essence of some music that I find wonderfully powerful. 

I have heard it suggested that a definition of ‘classical’ music… is that it transcends cultural, as well as generational barriers… music that’s created through sincere devotion, not through selfish desire, but rather by something greater, which exists beyond time, history or culture. Golly gosh!  When you hear a musicologist say “it’s a ravishingly beautiful piece of music … and we can’t quite understand why…” that’s the kind of thing that makes music special.  

What has struck me over the last few years is the power of music to affect us. 

This old world, is a new world, and a bold world…

Freedom is mine… (and yours)

I truly hope you can occasionally find a way to truly feel good.

Nina’s music and work lives on, and you can find out more at https://www.ninasimone.com/

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