Could Laura Nyro have bested Bacharach???

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Could Laura Nyro have bested Bacharach???

Post by geoff85 »

Could she have been the the Emperess of NY pop hitmaking had she been committed to writing and composing in a more commercial style? I actually say yes and here is why(hold your stones while I make my case). Laura's music spanned alot of genres and she did so authentically. Laura could compose in the motown style(Lu, Luckie....cant you just see Diana and the girls shuffling left to right) , she could do soul wrenching gospel soul as my ears hear theses as quasi negro spirituals (Brown Earth, Elis coming, save the countryand when i die ). Ironically some of her songs belong in different genres you wouldn't associate with each other and when i die has a bluegrass tinge to it while still sounded like something you would hear at an African American homegoing minus a few lyrics.

Of course what Laura Nyro is revered for is her extensive collection of Avante Garde masterpieces that have yet to be approached in quality by anyone before or after her with the exception of Todd Rundgren at his ultimate best. Songs like December Boudoir, Captain St Lucifer and Tomcat Goodbye to name a few. Her scenic portraits through lyric and sound are unmatched Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp is so rich with imagery it would leave even Jimmy Webb saying I wish I thought of that. She wasn't without contribution to mainstream popular music. It just seems that wasnt her intent. She could have written numerous Stoney Ends, Wedding Bell Blues, and Stoned Soul Picnics if she wanted. Laura Nyro was often said to have 20 takes and variations of the same song showing she was never lacking in ideas but may have felt too constrained by formulas record labels and managers might try to keep the typical factory line songwriters to. It might have been an issue of will vs ability.

What do you guys think?

Blair N. Cummings
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Re: Could Laura Nyro have bested Bacharach???

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

In a word, no.
She had an unquestionable gift for melody that actually strengthened with the decline of her verbal inventiveness. Of course, it was that very personal lyric style that limited her number of commercial successes. Face it, "Timer" (always a favorite of mine) was never going to get airplay. No one knew what it meant and its time signature changes would have driven AM programmers crazy. Ditto for a lot of the tracks on the first side of Christmas and the Beads of Sweat. (Blackpatch was a neighborhood in Brooklyn but no one in Iowa - or LA - would have known that).
Primarily, `though, she just stubbornly followed her muse - even after it had run dry in the `70s.
She had zero interest in writing for others and never did. If you think her Brill Bldg status is still "unclear", read her biography. She undoubtedly knew where and what it was but she was nearly a generation too young to have been involved with its heyday and is never known to have set foot in the place.

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