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Old 05-05-2009, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Springfield VA
4,036 posts, read 8,450,675 times
Reputation: 1506

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Anyone ever heard of the song "Baltimore" by Nina Simone?

I discovered it about a month ago and have fallen in love with it. It came out about 30 or so years ago. Definitely has that 70s vibe to it. I've always said that if I had to live in another decade I'd pick the 70s. Anywho wonder what do others think of the song?

I think it's a sad song that tells an interesting story. When I hear I picture riding through the challenged but nameless neighborhood that was once a good place to be. It even has an end to the story in the last verse. "Get my sister Sandy and my little brother Ray/Buy a big ol' wagon to haul us away/Live out in the country where the mountains high/Never gon' come back here 'til the day I die"

I think it's interesting that I discovered this song when I keep hearing that Baltimore has improved so much and is experiencing a sort of rebirth. When I went I was impressed. The harbor is awesome and Mount Vernon seemed like an alright neighborhood. I loved the unbelievably tall skyscrapers, so many of them something you dont' get in the DC area well maybe a little bit in VA but still not a real skyline like Baltimore and definitely not in little Columbus, Georgia. But once upon a time the sentiment was "And the city's dying and they dont' know why."

In a way, just replace Baltimore with the name of any dying city or even just a bad neighborhood and I'm sure it reflects the sentiment and reality of plenty of folks thirty years later. I certainly felt that way just a little when I moved out of my old neighborhood but since my mother still lives there can't say "Never gon' come back here 'til the day I die" just yet.

Anybody else have any thoughts? Especially from the Baltimorians. Does the song still reflect parts of Baltimore or is outdated and should just remain a reminder of a very different past?



YouTube - Nina SImone-Baltimore
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:17 PM
 
Location: NYC
7,312 posts, read 11,954,272 times
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There is an updated reggae version of this song too - I heard it on a mixtape once. Don't know the artist.
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Springfield VA
4,036 posts, read 8,450,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
There is an updated reggae version of this song too - I heard it on a mixtape once. Don't know the artist.
You're right. Sly and Robbie. It's interesting. I think I still like Nina Simone's version. However I do like it. A little more modern and it's not as sad because it has a faster more upbeat tempo.
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Portland, Maine
4,180 posts, read 13,507,344 times
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I actually got the chance to see Nina Simone in a small club in Chicago: a great experience. Does the song still reflect the city? Definitely parts of it, yes. Baltimore has some neighborhoods that have horrible living standards with poverty that is ripe. It could reflect parts of any city though as our country has a long way to go to improve living standards of the general populace. Doesn't look like it's happening anytime soon either.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:44 PM
 
15 posts, read 60,408 times
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I love this song too.

Randy Newman originally did it on his "Little Criminals" record. Good version, but not as good as Nina's.

A lot of what is sung about in the song is def. still true. However, I don't think we're having the mass migration out of the city <"never gonna come back">, as was perhaps the case when this song was written, in the early-mid 70s, after the race riots.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:53 AM
 
5,720 posts, read 5,909,425 times
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While the song itself didn't particularly do much for me one way or another, I liked it for the reaction it generated amongst the "City Fathers". Hyman Pressman even wrote one of his goofy "poems" about Randy Newman ("Randy Newman, Isn't human"). It was even better when Newman explained that he wasn't even thinking about Baltimore when he wrote it and only used Baltimore in the title and lyrics because, to fit the meter of the song, he needed a city name with three syllables, with the accent on the first syllable.
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Portland, Maine
4,180 posts, read 13,507,344 times
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One of my favorite songs:

Baltimore Oriole
Took one look at that mercury, forty below
No life for a lady
To be draggin' her feathers around in the snow
Leaving me blue, off she flew
To the Tangipaho - down in Louisiana
Where a two - timin' Jaybird
Met the divine Miss O

I'd like to ruffle his plumage
That Baltimore Oriole
Messed around with that big guy
Till he singed her wings
Forgivin' is easy - it's a woman like, now and then
Could happen to thing
Send her back home
Home ain't home without her warbling
How she can sing
Make a lonely man happy, Baltimore Oriole
Come down from that bough
Fly to your daddy now.

GEORGE HARRISON - BALTIMORE ORIOLE LYRICS
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