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Sunday Morning Coming Down

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Posted By: Hazymac, 10/18/2020 8:36:23 AM

Today is the anniversary of the birth of singer/songwriter Laura Nyro. I want to take the occasion to revisit a few highlights of her songbook and perhaps acquaint some readers with the joys of her work in another extended lockdown edition of this series. In my high school class those of us who followed pop music obsessively knew we had discovered someone special in Laura Nyro. We prided ourselves in being able to recognize her hand in the covers of her songs on AM radio. We thought that, along with Jimmy Webb, she was a songwriter with something special to say. We were blown away by Eli and The Thirteenth Confession

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For the music fans here is Scott Johnson's tribute to the late Laura Nyro, a great songwriter and performer whose work merits discovery or rediscovery.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Hazymac 10/18/2020 8:55:37 AM (No. 576164)
The Fifth Dimension singing from Nyro's songbook: "Red yellow honey, sassafras and moonshine..." brings me right back to 1968. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYNsiwchfT4 Some of Ms. Nyro's songs were quite intense. "Been on a Train" (1970) tells of a heroin addict perishing. Those of us who have seen the destruction of lives can feel her sadness at the waste. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXmZmAIl600 RIP, Christine.(1980-2019) It didn't have to be this way.
4 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: Jimmy Mack 10/18/2020 8:57:40 AM (No. 576168)
My favorite is her cover of Jimmy Mack
2 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: RU4us 10/18/2020 9:11:52 AM (No. 576182)
Thank you for posting and what a great presentation.
6 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: smcchk 10/18/2020 9:14:25 AM (No. 576187)
“Gonna Take a Miracle” played and I am back in my college dorm room, every late teen emotion remembered, thanks, Scott.
2 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: ramona 10/18/2020 11:58:18 AM (No. 576395)
Wow. This is like taking a graduate course in Nyro's music. His writing is worthy of any top flight literary magazine. Honestly I was too young when her music was topping the charts to appreciate her exquisite voice. What a treat to go through the well-known and hidden gems embedded in this column. Acres of orchids to our beloved OP for his excellent posts and his own cogent comments. Ramona (the Pest)
4 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: columba 10/18/2020 12:08:51 PM (No. 576412)
I was a Top 40 DJ in the '60s and thought at the time that her songs manifested depression.
4 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: ramona 10/18/2020 12:27:04 PM (No. 576432)
a footnote: Here is the video from her R&R Hall of Fame induction, including remarks from her son and a tearful, heartfelt intro from Bette Midler. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9sYxjBQ8tw RtP
3 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: Zarin 10/18/2020 12:29:35 PM (No. 576437)
#6 You are probably right. Many artists seem to struggle with that disorder. True art is a way of exploring the world - it unfolds a pathway which lets us move thru the realms of reality - materially, emotionally & spiritually. Some artists are more insightful & evoke greater emotion maybe because they have seen the depressing & uglier aspects the human condition. Or seen the most beautiful. They take us there into the sadness, chaos & hope - and we don't have to suffer the messiness of reality, but we can see it and understand better.
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Reply 9 - Posted by: SoSensible 10/18/2020 12:53:22 PM (No. 576455)
This was such a lovely walk down memory lane! I saw Laura in concert in Detroit in late 1969, I think, and she was gawky and hit her lip on the microphone and mumbled between songs. But those songs! All so different and intense and singable and evocative. She was a real gift. My children have never heard of her, but I remember.
3 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: JoElla Bee 10/18/2020 12:57:49 PM (No. 576464)
I liked her voice and her music, but her lyrics in “ And When I Die” & Stoney End, although very well written, were so sadly sacrilegious that I couldn’t bear to hear her sing them. “My troubles are many, they're as deep as a well I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell Swear there ain't no heaven and pray there ain't no hell, But I'll never know by living, only my dying will tell, Only my dying will tell, yeah, only my dying will tell.” (The Holy Scriptures say you can know. How sad that so many don’t know, and how sad that lyrics such as these are influential to the beliefs of others.) And “I was raised on the Good Book Jesus Till I read between the lines Now I don't believe.” I did enjoy some of her other songs.
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