“Buck” is a strange entry into Nina Simone’s oeuvre, a booming beat floors a cyclical riff that dances around Simone’s trance-like vocal and wraps things up in a hasty 1:50. The whole album is worth tracking down, a gritty affair with simple accompaniment. That’s Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, session drummer extraordinaire, with the drum credits on this one. Andy Stroud, Nina’s then husband, has the sole writing credit.
Big Inner is by far one of the more intriguing debut albums to come out this year: it’s equal parts experimental Beck, cynical Randy Newman, brooding The National and Big Easy celebrating Allen Toussaint. "Big Love" grooves with a percolating bass line and a fantastic jazzy piano hook that could have found a home on a Nina Simone album. It’s an arrangement that you want to stick around for as it bounces from “Tomorrow Never Knows” territory to a loose gospel-influenced call and response. Surely one of the better cuts of the year and coming from a man who looks like he could have been a cult leader. Check out the beautiful brass/string arrangement on the epic “Brazos”, one of the more enjoyable nearly 10:00 songs perhaps ever and surely a call to inherit Harry Nilsson’s long lost throne.