California Shoeshine Boys - Laura Nyro, Nyro, Laura
2008 release, a reissue of the album which introduced the wonderful talent of Laura Nyro to the world! More Than A New Discovery (AKA The First Songs) is informed by the styles of Laura's youth. She had just turned 19 when... more » she recorded the album in early 1966, and the songs retain a youthful exuberance and glisten with beautiful Pop melodies and then-fashionable, sturdy '60s NY arrangements. Laura's lyrics are as poetically-charged and mature as at her peak, from the wise 'And When I Die' to the observational approach of 'Buy and Sell'. Musically, the album was obviously tailored to fit the prevailing landscape of '60s female Pop singers and it often has the same soulful atmosphere of Dusty Springfield and Evie Sands or the brash, bravura Pop of Barbra Streisand, who was to take 'Stoney End' to the charts three years later. Rev-Ola.« less
2008 release, a reissue of the album which introduced the wonderful talent of Laura Nyro to the world! More Than A New Discovery (AKA The First Songs) is informed by the styles of Laura's youth. She had just turned 19 when she recorded the album in early 1966, and the songs retain a youthful exuberance and glisten with beautiful Pop melodies and then-fashionable, sturdy '60s NY arrangements. Laura's lyrics are as poetically-charged and mature as at her peak, from the wise 'And When I Die' to the observational approach of 'Buy and Sell'. Musically, the album was obviously tailored to fit the prevailing landscape of '60s female Pop singers and it often has the same soulful atmosphere of Dusty Springfield and Evie Sands or the brash, bravura Pop of Barbra Streisand, who was to take 'Stoney End' to the charts three years later. Rev-Ola.
RevOla did indeed mess up
Victor Pullano | Chicago | 02/21/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a huge Laura Nyro fan, and love this album, so this review address the CD and it's problems, not the content.
Where to begin? RevOla did screw up here, but not quite to the extent that the previous reviewer has stated.
Let's start with the positives -- 1)The restoration of the original packaging is top notch. No complaints there. 2) The sound quality is significantly different from "The First Songs" CD. When "More Than A New Discovery" was re-issued as "The First Songs" in 1973, I vaguely remember reading that it had been subjected to not only a title and cover change, but a remix. There is a credit on "The First Songs" for Production Supervision: Rich Chiaro that isn't on any other version of the album. I think that he might have supervised the remix. The RevOla CD seems to confirm that memory: the distortion that plagued Laura's vocals on "The First Songs" CD has been significantly diminished (thank God), but the sound quality itself is also quite changed. There is a lot more reverb and echo on the both voice and instruments, and it really now sounds like the early stereo recordings of the `60's with a great deal of separation between instruments. Not much seems to be placed into the center of the sound spectrum. There is also a slight, though not upsetting amount of hiss back - but with it comes more dynamic range on the instruments. It's a fair trade off. This is what RevOla probably means by the Sound Restoration credit. It's a matter of taste to what you prefer, but I like the less distorted, more narrow sound spectrum of this release.
The screw up - Although they promote a restoration to the original running order starting with Goodbye Joe and ending with California Shoeshine Boys, the disc itself adheres to "The First Songs" running order, starting with Wedding Bell Blues and ending with And When I Die. Whoops!
I'm going to write to RevOla to see what they plan to do about rectifying this issue. If I send this disc back to Amazon UK (where I purchased it), I'll only get back a disc with the same problem. This is a manufacturing defect, not a shipping problem. I'll let you all know how they respond. I also notice a new listing for what looks to be a non-import version with a March street date. Now I'm confused.
I hope this information is helpful to people considering purchasing this CD. "
Donald S. Handy | Motor City, Michigan | 09/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the seventies, when I had a cheap stereo, the Columbia issue of these songs ("The First Songs") was adequate. However, when I obtained a better stereo system the songs sounded tinny - even after I purchased a new copy of the album. About 10 yeras ago I found a mint, mono copy of "More Than A New Discovery" on Verve and was astounded by how much better it sounded.
Alas, my turntable hasn't worked for the past several years. I had hoped that Columbia would remaster "The First Songs" the same way that they did for "Eli & The First Confession," "New York Tendaberry" and "Gonna Take A Miracle," but they disappointed me in that regard.
If, like me, you had held-off purchasing "The First Songs" due to the poor production values on it, then you need wait no longer. This release captures the full warmth of the original Verve release on vinyl. If you're unaware of the sonic distinction between the two releases, then you're in for a wonderful surprise.
Originally I was disappointed that it is in stereo, rather than mono, but it does define the separation of the instruments very well.
I highy recommend this release for anyone who doesn't have either collection, as well as for any die-hard fan who wants to upgrade their collection. I also wish to thank Rock Ola for answering my prayer in this regard.
A sublime debut
California Greg | USA | 07/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered Laura Nyro in the late 80s after seeing a clip of her on some TV compilation show and I knew I need to have more...to know more. She didn't disappoint. I was lucky enough, too, to live in Los Angeles during that time and saw her on two occasions -- in Santa Monica and at the Wiltern Theatre -- when she went back out on the road. (She attributed her late 80s live performances at that time to having quit smoking and regaining enough of her vocal register to sing in public again.)
She was a unique and talented writer/performer. Her work can be haunting -- how could a 17-year-old write a song like "And When I Die?," which sadly enough turned out to be so prophetic.
Her melodies were intricate and as her career progressed grew more sophisticated. Lyrically, the same is true.
Her first album was a joyous mix of youthful exuberance and heartfelt emotions and thoughts. She'd go on to more great stuff and write lots of songs which other people turned into Top 100 hits. But her versions of her own songs are the gold standard for me.
It's already more than 10 years since she's been gone and that just seems unbelievable to me now. Hers was a voice that was taken far too soon."
Laura Nyro - One of the Most Overlooked Songwriter/Singers o
Daniel L. Coughlin | Austin, Texas | 04/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am elated that this, Laura Nyro's first album, has been issued on CD with the original cover and song order. One caveat - I havent received my copy yet and haven't heard how well the transfer is. If it's a disappointment, at least I have the album version that's been in print, "First Songs," which was a Columbia reissue of this album first released by the Verve label. This album is easily the most accessible of Laura's songs, not only because of her performance, but because so many of the songs were made hits by other recording artists of the day.
I have to say this about all Laura Nyro and her albums, especially the early ones with which I am most familiar. Laura is one of the most overlooked and greatest of the female "confessional, "poetic" and hit making songwriter/singers of that generation. She belongs up there among the best, with Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Judy Collins, Phoebe Snow, Janis Ian, Roberta Flack and Rickie Lee Jones. I was shocked that Sheila Weller's book "Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--and the Journey of a Generation" included Carly Simon and not Laura Nyro. No offense to Carly Simon, but Simon didn't come anywhere close to the talent of Laura Nyro in songwriting ability, or in Laura's searing, idiocratic, distinct, unique and heartbraking, haunting and unforgettable singing voice. As Nick Drake rightfully has been, Laura should be rediscovered and listened to intently for anyone who likes these other singers. She'll have you listening intently with your eyes closed, or about to get up sing, shout and dance along with her."