Friday, November 2, 2012

#104: Laura Nyro - Eli and the Thirteenth Confession (1968)

I decided to listen to Laura Nyro based upon the fact that she wrote, "Eli's Coming" and "And When I Die". Both of these songs are phenomenally written and if the rest of her albums are anything similar then I will be in for a treat. She's a pianist, a vocalist, and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Sweet Blindness
This is the first track so far where she sings in a range that's a bit more flattering. The first two tracks really focused on very high vocal parts that didn't gel. However, musically this song falls is similar to the first two - but I really dislike the recording. The parts are good but when they all come together, it just doesn't mix right and the transitions can be quite awkward. I appreciate that she's trying to change things up and adjust the tempo, but it's not fluid - it's just a random hit that somehow moves it to the next phrase.

Eli's Coming
I've always been a big fan of this song ever since I heard the cover version by Three Dog Night. It's the best recording on the album by far. If the album was full of tracks like this, I'd go crazy for Nyro. Musically the album throughout is very, very good. However, for the most part the recordings and vocals fall flat for me. The music itself is well written, I just don't enjoy the vehicle behind it.

Stoned Soul Picnic
This track embodies the entire record for me (save for Eli's Coming). I just don't care for the melody and vocals. However, the horns, instrumentation, and piano I really enjoyed. It has enough rhythmic variation, funk, and other components to keep the listener involved.

All in all, I enjoyed the music but not the vocals or melodies. It's a good record and there's plenty of people who would enjoy this music. Another issue was the recording quality, at times parts cut in and out  or vocals switch from mono to stereo. While these issues were small and non-intrusive, they're also very noticeable and considering the amount of talent Nyro has - you'd expect better. She's a good songwriter and not enough can be said for some of the instrumentation, it's no wonder there have been artists throughout the years re-imagining her songs.

Tomorrow's album: John Coltrane's A Love Supreme.

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