Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Stoned Soul Picnic: Best of Laura Nyro
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
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Most comprehensive Nyro set available
James E. Bagley | Sanatoga, PA USA | 04/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Laura Nyro was ahead of her time. She wrote numerous hits, most of which appeared on her first two albums MORE THAN A NEW DISCOVERY (1967) and ELI AND THE THIRTEENTH CONFESSION (1968). The female singer-songwriter wasn't yet in vogue though, and it would be others that turned Nyro's songs into hits. Those others included Blood Sweat & Tears with "And When I Die," Barbra Streisand with "Stoney End," Three Dog Night with "Eli's Coming," and most prolifically, the 5th Dimension, who had major hits with "Wedding Bell Blues," "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Sweet Blindness," "Blowing Away," and "Save The Country."Nyro's studio versions of all of the above (except "Sweet Blindness") appear on disc one of this 34-track, two-disc set. They make a strong case for Nyro deserving the massive success which eluded her and came instead to Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon in the early '70s. The originality of these songs in both lyric content and arrangement is stunning. What is even more amazing is that Nyro wrote all of those hit songs before she turned 21. Yet like her male counterpart, Jimmy Webb, Nyro clearly peaked at the beginning of her career. By the '70s, she wasn't even able to write songs that became hits for others. It is telling that the best recordings on disc two of this set were written by others.These two tracks (in collaboration with the group Labelle) come from the remake-packed GONNA TAKW A MIRACLE album from 1971. The harmonies Nyro and Labelle weave on the Shirelle's "I Met Him On A Sunday" and the Originals' "The Bells" are gorgeous and leave the listener wishing for more from that stellar album.Instead, on the remainder of disc two we get a hodgepodge of studio and live recordings made between 1976 and 1993 that are usually pleasant but rarely memorable. And Nyro's unattractive propensity for shrieking seemed to increase over the years as well, particularly on live recordings.STONED SOUL PICNIC will certainly appeal to diehard Nyro fans. The single disc retrospective TIME AND LOVE: THE ESSENTIAL MASTERS (which captures all of the early highlights), plus the GONNA TAKE A MIRACLE reissue, however, are far better suited to the casual fan and the general female singer-songwriter enthusiast. Check them out."
Gone but not forgotten
James E. Bagley | 01/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard the haunting voice of Laura Nyro about 25 years ago when I was growing up on Okinawa, an Air Force "brat." My older brother, an amateur musician at the time, had albums from an assortment of artists that I might not have otherwise been exposed to as an African-American teen. When no one was home (and that wasn't often with eight of us) I'd sit in the living room for hours listening to Stoned Soul Pinic, Stoney End and Eli (although I must confess I didn't really understand Eli until several years -- and several relationships later.) Laura's music touched my soul like few artists have. It's a shame that she was called away so soon, and that she did not get the recognition she deserved...I heard that wonderful voice again a few years ago in my car scanning the radio by chance. I was surprised that she was being played. Then I understood... Laura, the annoucer said, had died. Her music was being played as a tribute...I cried as I was carried back to my living room on Okinawa. I had lost a childhood friend."
Long-overdue collection for an eccentric, masterful artist.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 01/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nobody captures either the feminine spirit or the feeling of New York better than Laura Nyro: Themes of love, self-doubt, spirituality and sexuality blend seamlessly with politics, racial amalgamation and urban poetry on this collection.While most listeners are familiar with Nyro because of her slew of '60s hits covered by others -- "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Stoney End", "And When I Die", "Blowin' Away" and the #1 hit "Wedding Bell Blues" -- her less well known work is faithfully represented here. "Captain St. Lucifer" and "Lu" from the ambitious New York Tendaberry album (1969); "Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp", Nyro's most openly sensual and romantic song, from the underrated Christmas and the Beads of Sweat album (1970); her later, more mature work on Walk the Dog and Light the Light (1993) including songs like "Broken Rainbow" and "A Woman of the World". Nyro's gift was mixing tricky jazz structures with soul stylings; arrangements that combine R&B, country and blues, among other things; lyrics as deep, poetic and laden with meaning as any folk songwriter's; and an edge of darkness that prevents her best work from ever being cheaply sentimental or whimsical.Though Stoned Soul Picnic is just a two-CD set and doesn't quite match up to a complete Nyro library (at least two of her releases, 1978's Nested and 1989's Live at the Bottom Line, are not available on CD), it's the best sampler for an initiate who wishes to enter the rich imaginative landscape of "The Bronx Bronte". There's a reason why women ranging from Suzanne Vega to The Roches, from Rosanne Cash to Nina Simone, feel that they owe Laura Nyro an artistic debt -- for giving music a voice for the eternal feminine which, despite its firm trenching in the female psyche, remains curiously and intoxicatingly universal."