First off, I apologize for the video. Scroll down and ignore its terrible flashing.
Secondly: Holy crap. This is Nina channeling Ray Charles, isn’t it? The call-and-response, the freak-out at 0:59, the arrangement that sees horns and electric guitars in the background, the vamping in the background at 1:51, the breathless vocal in general… It’s all weirdly Ray Charles-esque, whether intentional or not.
Not that that’s a bad thing, and yet… There’s something weirdly off about Simone doing this; she was enough of an individual that such imitation seems beneath her, somehow. It’s like when you hear her “Revolution” from 1969 and feeling as if it’s just ripping off the Beatles song of the same name the year before:
I feel like a bad pop fan, thinking such things. One of the things I genuinely love about pop music is that everyone steals, and then twists things and turns them into something else, and so seeing Nina obviously take on some influence or another should feel like something to approve of. Maybe my problem is that I can see the original all too clearly in each of these two cases…?