For most true soul lovers, the pairing of the genre-defying MeShell Ndegeocello and Mr. “Look Good In Leather” himself Cody ChesnuTT in any musical capacity is bound to be something to put in the “Must-Hear” folder, but to have their respective talents be merged together on a Civil Rights anthem/ soul classic…now that’s something a little extra special.
Ndegeocello’s tenth (!!) set, tribute album Pour une Âme Souveraine (For A Sovereign Soul), A Dedication to Nina Simone is due October 9th (via French indie Naive Records), and to tease the release, she’s opted to give out this gem for free, a remake of the late, great Simone’s powerful 1970 statement of uplift “To Be Young, Gifted and Black”, previously memorably tackled by R&B icons Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin.
The affiliation of all that soul royalty–not to mention the subject matter of the song itself–would make “Young” an intimidating one to take on for anyone, but none of that pressure can be felt here, the combination of Cody’s velvety croon and Ndegeocello’s gorgeously pared down arrangement carrying an effortless elegance that serves the timeless tune’s message beautifully. (via)