Home Read Classic Album Reviews: Laura Nyro | Eli and the Thirteenth Confession /...

Classic Album Reviews: Laura Nyro | Eli and the Thirteenth Confession / New York Tendaberry / Gonna Take A Miracle / Live: The Loom’s Desire Reissues

Give the underappreciated singer-songwriter's music the attention it deserves.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Old records never die — they just get deleted. Then, a few years or a few decades later, they get reissued. Usually with bonus tracks, remastered sound, expanded liner notes and other goodies because they think that will convince fans to buy them all over again. And it does. This summer, those evil reissue pixies have been working overtime, putting out multiple titles by some of your favourite artists. Here are some of their latest irresistible offerings. Damn them all to hell.

Laura Nyro
Eli and the Thirteenth Confession / New York Tendaberry / Gonna Take A Miracle / Live: The Loom’s Desire Reissues

WHO? Who, indeed. Nyro was a truly gifted New York pop songwriter who penned distinctive and timeless ’60s and ’70s hits such as Wedding Bell Blues, Sweet Blindness, And When I Die and Stoned Soul Picnic. Sadly, her own albums never reached the same heights, although they deservedly garnered much critical acclaim.

WHAT? Eli And The Thirteenth Confession, New York Tendaberry and Gonna Take A Miracle are three of her first four Columbia records (the other was a Christmas album). The Loom’s Desire on Rounder, meanwhile, is a live album recorded a couple of years before her untimely death from cancer in 1997.

WHICH? 1968’s Eli and ’69’s New York provide a full overview of Nyro’s magnetic personality and idiosyncratic style, which merged Brill Building ’60s pop, boho jazziness and stacks of girl-group harmony. Plus you get her versions of all the hits above, along with others that should have been and a few demos. The lighter-hearted Gonna Take A Miracle from 1971 finds her backed by LaBelle on an irresistible slate of Motown classics like You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me, Jimmy Mack and Nowhere To Run. Finally, the two-CD   — containing a pair of solo New Year’s Eve shows from the mid-’90s — captures the stark beauty and earthy emotions that were the core of her style.

WHY? If you want to know where Rickie Lee Jones, Tori Amos, Chantal Kreviazuk and about a jillion other piano-loving gal singers took their cues, here’s the place to look.