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Live from Mountain Stage: Laura Nyro

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Album Review

Laura Nyro's career became difficult to follow in the late '80s and early '90s. In 1984, she emerged with Mother's Spiritual, her first album in six years, on Columbia Records, the label she had joined in 1968. She returned to occasional performances a few years later, and in 1989, Cypress Records, a short-lived label, issued Live at the Bottom Line, which featured several new songs, even though Columbia continued to claim her as an exclusive recording artist. She returned to Columbia four years later with what turned out to be her final studio album, Walk the Dog & Light the Light. The archival Live From Mountain Stage, drawn from a performance recorded for the radio series on November 11, 1990, and released a decade later, comes from in the midst of this period. Nyro repeats "Roll of the Ocean" and "Japanese Restaurant" (aka "The Japanese Restaurant Song"), two of the new songs from Live at the Bottom Line, and she previews three numbers that will appear on Walk the Dog & Light the Light: the covers "Oh Yeah Maybe Baby (The Heebie Jeebies)" and "I'm So Proud/Dedicated to the One I Love," and the new original "Lite the Flame," an animal rights song. She also plays her seasonal medley "Let It Be Me/The Christmas Song," then just-released on the various artists album Acoustic Christmas, and selects four songs from her catalog: "And When I Die" from More Than a New Discovery, "Emmie" from Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, "My Innocence" from Nested, and "To a Child" from Mother's Spiritual. She accompanies herself on electric piano and sings powerfully, if without the dramatic style of her early work. The disc runs less than 30 minutes, but it provides a well-rounded sampling of Nyro's career, and the performances have an intimate directness.

Biography

Born: 18 October 1947 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Laura Nyro was one of pop music's true originals: A brilliant and innovative composer, her songs found greater commercial success in the hands of other performers, but her own records — intricate, haunting works highlighting her singularly powerful vocal phrasing, evocative lyrics, and alchemical...
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