Nina Simone- Sinnerman is one of Nina Simone‘s most famous songs and she recorded her definitive 10-minute-plus version on her 1965 album Pastel Blues. Simone learned the lyrics of this song in her childhood when it was used at revival meetings by her mother, a Methodist minister, to help people confess their sins. In the early days of her career during the early sixties, when she was heavily involved in the Greenwich Village scene, Simone often used the long piece to end her live performances. An earlier version of the song exists, recorded live at The Village Gate, but was never used on the 1962 Colpix album Nina at the Village Gate.
Simone’s version of Sinnerman has been sampled by Kanye West for the Talib Kweli song “Get By“, by Timbaland for the song “Oh Timbaland“, and by Felix da Housecat for Verve Record’s “Verve Remixed” series (1rst posthume music video directed by J.G Biggs). It has also been covered by 16 Horsepower on their album Folklore, and by Zegota on their self-titled 7″. French rapper Abd al-Malik sampled Simone’s version for the title track of his 2006 album “Gibraltar”. He also sampled Simone’s version of “See Line Woman” for the track “Le grand frère” from the same album.
“Sinner Man” has also been recorded as a reggae interpretation several times by the Wailers. It was first recorded by the group at Studio One in Kingston, Jamaica in early 1966; Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer shared lead vocals.
A different version entitled “Downpressor Man” was recorded by Peter Tosh & The Wailers in 1971 (“downpressor” meaning “oppressor” in Rastafarian vocabulary). The song featured Tosh on lead vocals and Bunny Wailer on background. An instrumental version was also released. Songwriting credit for this version is sometimes given to Tosh.
Nina Simone – Sinner Man (Original & Uncut)
Peter Tosh – Downpressor Man (1975)
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