On her 1965 release Pastel Blues Nina Simone covered Abel Meeropol / Lewis Allan’s “Strange Fruit”. After one listen, it would seem that the poem was written for Nina to record. Her distinct voice paints vivid pictures, images that send chills down your spine and deep into your soul. Pain, anger, confusion, despair: so many emotions are conjured up by. Nina embodies them all through the three minutes or so of the track. Stripped down to barely more than a piano, the vocals are made that more poignant. The song has been covered over the years by everyone from Billie Holiday to Dwayne Wiggins of Tony! Toni! Tone!, but this version sits at the apex for me. As do many songs Mrs. Simone covered, maybe I’m biased, I dunno……The song’s author Abel Meeropol has a very interesting story, NPR did an article on him a couple years ago, here it is.