Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 11/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Time & Love: the Music of Laura Nyro" has been somewhat unfairly maligned as a throwaway disc. Published in the year she passed away, the music is somewhat of a grab bag of different styles. But some of it works exquisitely. Of my two very favorites is the amazing version of "Time & Love" by Phoebe Snow that creates a new percussion part with the drums mixed loud as a modern march that makes you feel that time keeps ticking on. Phoebe's voice is so lovely that she embodies the lyric and flies into the high range to squeal added emotional value, "Now a woman is a fighter, gathered white or African; A woman is a woman inside, Has miracles for her man." The other track in which I delight is Leni Stern's instrumental take on "Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp." I always thought this was one of Nyro's most lovely melodies. Stern's languid guitar improvises but never violates the melody; it is like a soft gentle kiss. Jill Sobule does an excellent version of "Stoned Soul Picnic" giving energy and punch to the melody with Nyro's glorious lyric, "And from the sky comes the Lord and the lightnin'." Beth Nielsen Chapman has one of the clearest voices in pop with excellent phrasing that makes her an ideal interpreter of others' music. On "Stoney End," she moves into the lyric like a new residence backed by a band with Benmont Tench's keyboards, "I can still remember him with lovelight in his eyes, but the light flickered out and parted as the sun began to rise." The Roches should win a Quirky Award with their blend that sounds off-center and yet perfectly right. They deliver a unique take on "Wedding Bell Blues" that sounds as if they've got one toe on the planet. Some of the tracks are more experimental without a strong payoff. Holly Cole's version of "Sweet Blindness" has maximum reverb that has potential. However, the slower rhythm mutes the urgency of Laura's version in which she sounds like a girl breathlessly chasing love to Cole who sounds more like a girl who really wants a bottle. The one track that does not work for me is the closing "Woman's Blues" by Dana Bryant who talk-sings the track into drudgery. There are enough gems here to show how well Laura's music lends itself to interpretation. Now 10 years since Laura's been gone, her music continues to reach and inspire me. Enjoy!"
raybee | 08/16/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Most of these covers do not "get" Laura Nyro's music. They are boring deconstructions which miss the essence, the structure and the ambience of Nyro. Her artistry as a composer is dismissed and her artistry as a performer is glaringly unapproachable by these performers. Laura's music is so personal maybe it never was meant for anyone else to perform, or to put it another way, maybe I am such a major Nyro fan I will never accept anyone else doing her songs, although many have made her songs famous in the past. On the other hand, they are great songs, and if only there was an original cast album of the show "Eli's Comin" which played briefly in New York a few years back Laura's songs would shine anew. An update - the new cd by Judy Kuhn is a much much better appreciation of Laura Nyro's songs - beautifully conceived, performed and realized. Thank you Judy!"