Laura Nyro – New York Tendaberry (63510) (1969)

Nyro WolfGod, Lucifer, New York City and someone known only as the Captain. These are the images, filtered through the  prism of Laura Nyro’s imagination, that crop up again and again on New York Tendaberry, the singer-songwriter’s third Lp, making it a concept album of sorts, but one so opaque as to defy clear description. It presages early Bruce Springsteen (et al.) in its obsession with The City as a romantic vehicle for character and dramatic (as well as personal) exploration.

As with Eli and the Thirteen Confession, one is jaw-dropped by the musical and lyrical audacity constantly on display. Therein lies a unique problem. So talented and creative, one gets the feeling that, with fewer histrionics/eccentricities, Nyro could have been a lot more popular than she was. Instead, she swoops and jives, the music slowing down and speeding up as the drama requires it, unconventionally alluding to R&B, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, sometimes within the same song.

Even if Tendaberry is at times more stark (and piano led) than its immediate predecessor, this is not an easy listening record; I get self-conscious and can’t listen to this with other people around, it demands too much attention.

SAM_1445I got this record this morning at Age UK when I was running errands for the family in Folkestone. Well, I had to get something out of the trip.

Published in: on April 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Now we’re talking truly great. I got this album when I was a teenager and it – old cliche coming – changed my life. Truly. I’ve never heard any other musician – before or since – invest so much of themselves in their art. Laura’s music is such an immersive experience for both the artist and listener that I find it impossible to listen to her without breaking down. It affects me that deeply. Laura made a number of superb albums, but this is the masterpiece.

    • As I think I made clear, I’ve been very impressed by this record and the previous one even if some of the idiosyncrasies can be overwhelming. Thus, for me, they are mood specific albums; everything is so intense that, if I’m not prepared to immerse myself, as you say, I’d better not put it on.

  2. That’s true. It takes a special audience in a special frame of mind to truly appreciate and experience the journeys through the City that she portrays. Unbelievable!! I got in to this album when I had “‘drawn blind’ blues, all over me.”I’ve listened to it so many times that I can get in the frame of mind instantly but as said above, alone.

    • *thumbs up*

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