- Released: August 2, 1994
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
Personnel includes: Nina Simone (vocals).
Producers: A.C.F.N.S. Productions, Stroud Productions, Danny Davis.
Compilation producer: Paul Williams.
Recorded between 1968 and 1971. Includes liner notes by David Nathan.
The legendary and ever-eclectic Nina Simone had already recorded a number of albums for Bethlehem, Colpix, and Philips before moving on to RCA in 1967. THE ESSENTIAL NINA SIMONE VOL.2 mainly focuses on two albums from her RCA period. Included are six tracks from her 1969 release, NINA SIMONE AND PIANO.
The album is by turns intimate, human, rough, emotional, and avant-garde. Take, for instance, her stunning version of Leonard Bernstein's strange song about reincarnation "Who Am I?" with jarringly atonal piano lines and deeply rich and heartfelt vocals, or her version of "Another Spring," an almost operatic monologue where an old woman looks back and then reflects on life. Nina Simone's emotional sorcery here is compelling. The other album featured on this compilation is the lushly produced HERE COMES THE SUN, with arrangements by Simone and Harold Wheeler, released in 1971 and sounding very much of its time. The six tracks included here are typically eclectic, and feature a moving version of Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman," as well as a rousing bongo-driven take of Frank Sinatra's theme song, "My Way."