All he was buyin’ was rags’n’old iron….’ When Nina Simone waltzes into a song that exudes such bitter-sweet poignancy, her extraordinary singing voice sends chills down the spine and grips the imagination in a way few others can. The Oscar Brown Jnr. composition Rags And Old Iron was a perfect vehicle for Simone, and its inclusion on this 1961 solo album demonstrated her admiration for Brown’s work as a lyricist, as well as his roles as a singer and activist. It is one of a selection of superb performances that helped establish Nina’s reputation as a singer and pianist whose appeal would extend well beyond the realms of jazz and soul. Of course, these musical genres were the cornerstones of her work but, ultimately, she transcended categorisation. Simone was a woman of substance, a powerful personality and a singularly captivating artist.