Here's another song I heard first from Nina Simone. And it's also another Multiple Monday inspired by Okkervil River (this link right here has Will Sheff talking about "Do What You Gotta Do" AND "Simon Smith...", plus another version of "Do..."). Have I mentioned I'm seeing Okkervil River live next week? I am. (Expect more songs after the show.)
It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of Roberta Flack. And her version of this song doesn't do anything for me. (On the other hand, it doesn't grate on my nerves like Linda Ronstadt's version, which you'll note I have thoughtfully not included here.)
Which brings us to Ms. Meg Baird. This is a simple, stripped-down version, with just a voice and a guitar, expressing the sweetness and understanding of the lyrics. This is what I imagine Jimmy Webb (possibly the most underrated pop songwriter of the 70s -- "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," "The Worst That Could Happen") had in mind when he wrote this song -- one woman, one instrument, one audience member near tears.
Since there are only four versions of this song that I like, you get a special bonus today: Jimmy Webb talking about "Wichita Lineman", and singing it for "In Their Own Words" from 1994. (Sadly, he's never released a version of "Do What You Gotta Do.")