Album no. 116/1001
Laura Nyro initially made a name for herself more as a songwriter than as an artist – selling one of her songs ‘And When I Die’ to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5,000. I don’t know how much that equates to today – maybe it was a good deal?
She recorded this – her second album – when she was only 21 years old and went on to retire from the music business only a few years later in 1971, fed-up with being marketed as a ‘celebrity’. You go, girl.
Having said that, she came back to the music biz later that decade, so make of that what you will. Fun fact: she had a relationship with fellow musician Jackson Browne!
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: No idea what’s about to happen here.
CL: Never. The album cover looks pretty modern though – maybe the music will be too?
NK: ‘Sweet Blindness’ is my pick. I like the initial ‘ba, ba ba bah’ and then the weird tempo change at the start. I am having a hard time picking anything else though. All the songs are fine, but none of them are that great.
CL: ‘Lu’ is great! ‘Eli’s Comin’ is awesome as well – even though it sort of sounds like it belongs in Jesus Christ Superstar. Her voice is really good though. This is such a weird mix of pop and jazzy lounge stuff, but I really like it! ‘Luckie’ sounds like something a less eccentric Kate Bush would do.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: I am not sure. It’s pretty easy-going, that’s for sure. I don’t know what this music is for.
CL: It’s a very theatrical album. You could chuck this on and pretend you’re just belting out a banger on stage. I wonder if someone has thought about making a musical about her life using the songs from this album? It would definitely work.
NK: I don’t know about that, none of the songs really strike me as all that theatrical. Maybe the instrumentation? I don’t know, I struggled to get enthusiastic about this.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I am not completely sure.
CL: I think Laura has clearly paved the way for female vocalists in the years since. Everyone from Kate Bush to Chrissie Hynde would have definitely taken some inspiration from this album. I don’t think this album sounds like it’s from the 60s either – it has that sort of timeless woman/piano vibe.
Will you be listening again?
NK: I will not. This was fine, but nothing leapt out at me. Her voice is pretty good, the arrangements are nice, the production is decent. None of the songs really stood out though. Sorry Laura.
CL: I think yes because there’s a lot too grab onto here. Admittedly, towards the end her voice did start getting on my nerves a LITTLE bit, but there’s easily some tracks I’ll listen to again.
Listen to Eli and the Thirteenth Confession on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.