CONCLUDING her 1991 memoir, I Put A Spell on You, Nina Simone, “The High Priestess of Soul”, reflected on her life. It was a life, she said, she had no regrets about. “Plenty of mistakes, some bad days, and, most resonant of all, years of joy – hard, but joyous all the same – fighting for the rights of my brothers and sisters everywhere: America, Africa, all over the world, years where pleasure and pain were mixed together.”

She had a remarkable life. Born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, in 1933, she displayed musical gifts at an early age and set out to become the first black concert pianist, but, as her book explains, “the realities of poverty and racial prejudice forced her to reconsider”. She worked as a nightclub singer and this paved the way for her to become internationally renowned.

In the 1960s she was closely associated with the civil rights movement; Mississippi Goddam, her outraged reaction to a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in which four children died, and the murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi, was her first civil rights song; “it erupted out of me quicker than I could write it down”.

The song sold well across America, apart from the South. One record dealer in South Carolina, she wrote, “sent a whole crate of copies back to our office with each one snapped in half. I laughed, because it meant we were getting through”.

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Her music fell out of fashion in America in the 1970s, as one obituary, in 2003, relates; she also had a series of personal difficulties. In the 1980s she regularly performed at Ronnie Scott’s in London, which kept her in the public eye. In 1987 a re-released version of one of her best-known hits, My Baby Just Cares for Me, was used in a TV commercial for a perfume, which brought her back into vogue.

She could still pull in the crowds whenever she toured. In May 1990 she played Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. Our critic noted the turbulence that had marked much of Simone’s recent life and career, but admired her “impassive, stately, other-worldly” presence, and her voice: “Some standards got a seeing to. Everything got a reprise. Don’t Smoke In Bed was both triumphant and regretful, My Way ironic. Mississippi Goddam and [Bob] Marley’s No Woman, No Cry made you think of times long gone. A barrelling encore of My Baby Just Cares For Me hinted at what once was. Take care of yourself, Nina. You have already given us more than we deserve.”

Four years later, Simone was back in Glasgow, this time at the Beck’s Tent on Glasgow Green. The Herald critic at that show said that if Simone’s demeanour had been taciturn at the Theatre Royal, here it was markedly different: she was “smiling; hip-shimmying with her arms aloft; joyously halloo’ing recent liberational events in South Africa . .” She made a number of unexplained disappearances into the wings, but balanced these by asking for requests from the audience, and even invited a dancing partner up from the stalls.