Nina Simone included a version of “Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl” in her 1967 album, Nina Simone Sings the Blues. This was a Tin Pan Alley song, originally popularized by legendary blueswoman Bessie Smith in the ’20s. Here, Simone quite literally made the song her own. She listed herself as the composer, altering the original version considerably, and even changed the title to “I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl.” Her gentle arrangement places her vocals and low-key piano front-and-center. Romantic, intimate and cheeky, the song can also be viewed as a first-person representation of empowered female sexuality.
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