New York Tendaberry – Laura Nyro (1969)


“Late into that night, I listened to Laura Nyro music; thought about her, remembered her and loved her. Apart from Dylan, the 60s strongest singer-songwriters were Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell. Twins in eminence and talent, they were different in every other way, (Using past tense here since Mitchell seems retired.) Mitchell made a silvery sound, a spacious but shy voice plain as prairie rain. Nobody sounded or sang like her; like a lone violin, sighing in the doorway of an empty schoolhouse, far from everything on a moonlit plain. Her writing felt universal, touching every life; carried to the heart with a vivid, vulnerable delivery. But if Mitchell was emphatically just one, Nyro was multitudes. Mitchell was a mirror, Nyro a movie screen. Mitchell ’s music hid its complexity in homespun folkie charm while Nyro flaunted her sophistication as a precocious genius of soul music, post-bop jazz and Broadway drama. Nyro’s sound was juicy as red sauce, multi-colored as a shop selling dive bars’ bright neon signs. Her voice echoed among tall buildings, making fire escapes hum. She could whisper in soft desolation, or brass out defiance like a trumpet, her father’s instrument. She populated the streets of her big-city myths with characters in vivid film noirs with people and places animated by the power of stories. … The only time I met her, one of a handful of times we were in the same room, I was too star-struck, too awed, to tell her how she and I go way back; how I saw her at Monterey in 1967, sent her a group fan-letter from Japan after a dream that came true in 1969, how we spent two hours on the phone once, decades later. At Monterey, I couldn’t afford a $6 ticket, so I climbed a tree outside the fairgrounds arena where the first festival of pop music brought her to a stage full of stars. …”
Nippertown (Video)
Bill MacKay on New York Tendaberry (Video)
W – New York Tendaberry
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: New York Tendaberry (1969) [Full Album]

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