March 14th, 2009

upstairs by a chinese lamp

" i was raised on the good book jesus/ 'til i read between the lines"

laura nyro is one of the greatest american song writers ever. she's best known for providing the 5th dimension with some of their biggest hits( wedding bell blues- you know it even though you don't think you do-" i love you bill/ i always will..."-, save the country, stoned soul picnic), blood sweat and tears biggest hit(" and when i die), 'eli's coming' for 3 dog night. her song construction is a marvel and like with joni mitchell you know a nyro chord progression when you hear it. she was an impeccable mix of the best of girl groups, motown, jazz, show tunes and gospel synthesized into some of the best written, most intelligent and moving pop songs ever recorded. her songs manage to be fascinatingly self contained- complex yet highly accessible. an entire generation of sensitive, arty girls and gay boys spent their difficult teen years locked in their rooms listening to a record everyone should own-' eli and the thirteenth confession'- perhaps one of the most significant albums released in the 1960's- influencing a significant portion of the popular music output of the early 70s.

she was also one of our proto goth grandmothers- described as looking like 'morticia addams' in the 60s for her black clothing and spider web jewelry and dark painted nails.those stupid filthy fucking hippies booed her off the stage at monteray for her widow weeds meets the then future of music( the singer song writer of the 70s laced with good old fashioned old skool pop top 40 singles) style which scared her, sadly, off performing live for decades. she's often raked over for what happened to her and blamed but there's nothing wrong with her performance at monteray. it was a classic case of pearls before swine. laura nyro was a musical genius and it's only now after her death that her greatness has been recognized by everyone from elton john and elvis costello to todd rundgren,bob fucking dylan,the goddess-like joni mitchell,sandra bernard- even frank sinatra covered her songs.

she also bravely wrote and recorded what might be one of the first lesbian love songs('emmie'- and a good one not the horrible mess associated with the genre) for a major american record label. she spent the last years of her life with a female partner.

laura nyro died from ovarian cancer april 1997. i was driving to work in my car when i heard and broke down crying. when i finally got to to j-o-b, my boss was in tears too- she recalled seeing laura at the berkley theatre and they were both pregnant and it was just magical. her music had a profound impact upon me and once again it was my gay uncle who introduced me to this amazing artist.

5th dimension( that's marilyn mccoo singing)

upstairs by a chinese lamp