Laura Nyro

Eli & the Thirteenth Confession, New York Tendaberry, Gonna Take a Miracle, and The Loom's Desire (Columbia / Legacy)

Phases and Stages

Laura Nyro

Eli & the Thirteenth Confession (Columbia/Legacy)

Laura Nyro

New York Tendaberry (Columbia/Legacy)

Laura Nyro & Labelle

Gonna Take a Miracle (Columbia/Legacy)

Laura Nyro

The Loom's Desire (Rounder) Three recently expanded and remastered reissues, plus a latter-day 2-CD live album, should keep the cult of Laura Nyro fans happy. Alternately praised and reviled by critics of the day, her ripe, expressive voice was as much her signature as her songs. And no wonder. Eli & the Thirteenth Confession was as perfect an album as had been recorded in 1968. Luminous, lyrical, and loaded with poetic imagery ("Eli's Coming," "December's Boudoir," "Sweet Blindness"), it's as hard as a New York sidewalk and equally gritty. The following year's New York Tendaberry extended that tough but tender vision, waxed and softened by her eloquence ("Captain for Dark Mornings," "Save the Country," "Gibsom Street"). Gonna Take a Miracle, from 1971, was a leap of faith. Fans loved the streams of consciousness in her lyrics, would they also love her singing oldies? Nyro and Labelle (formerly Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles) covered Motown faves and soul classics with a femme doo-wop touch and instrumentation so spare it's almost a cappella ("Nowhere to Run," "Rose in Spanish Harlem," "Jimmy Mack"). The Loom's Desire is Nyro's final live recording, a double disc entailing latter-day material ("Gardenia Talk," "My Innocence/Sophia," "The Descent of Luna Rosé"), some of her best-covered songs, ("And When I Die," "Wedding Bell Blues," "Blowing Away"), and a few oldies ("Dedicated to the One I Love," "Let It Be Me," "Ooh, Baby, Baby"). Some of this material is found on Angel in the Dark, her last studio sessions for Rounder, but the live CD captures as much of her magic as can be held. Without product and touring, Nyro's status in the mid-Seventies waned, as did her audience. That's a shame, because from the Nineties on, her music should have been celebrated as the precursor of the Lilith Fair generation.

(Eli) *****

(Tendaberry) ***.5

(Miracle) ****

(Loom's Desire) ***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle