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Eli and the Thirteenth Confession

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iTunes Review

Laura Nyro's insistent rhythms, seductive melodies and sumptuous lyrics bloomed into a fully-realized statement on Eli And The Thirteenth Confession. The 1968 album was a bold departure from Nyro’s more conventional debut release, and her use of abrupt tempo-shifts and volatile arrangements turned it into a dazzling exploration of her interior world. Nyro’s poetic sense was equally adventurous — she fused ‘60s jive-talk, romantic verse and Dylan-esque vision into her own unmistakable language. The songs are sonically rich, yet accessible — “Stoned Soul Picnic” glides into paradise on a simmering groove, “Eli’s Comin’” invokes erotic hysteria with brass-fueled fire, and “Sweet Blindness” embraces intoxication with a dash of Dixieland. Introspective tracks like “December’s Boudoir” and “Emmie” find Nyro painting exquisite word-pictures of love and friendship. Eli’s influence can be heard in the music of everyone from Rickie Lee Jones to Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan; it ranks as both Nyro’s most enduring work and as a genuine landmark in singer/songwriter history.

Customer Reviews

Laura Came First.

Musical light years before Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Phoebe Snow, et al, Laura Nyro was the hottest pop/soul/confessional singer/songwriter on this side of the Atlantic. While Laura, herself, remained largely overlooked, Three Dog Night, Barbara Streisand and Blood Sweat and Tears were taking her songs straight to the bank time and time again. But the idea of Laura as a singles writer had more to do with the image portrayed by her record label than what she was trying to do musically. Unfathomabally, on More Than a New Discovery (1966), Laura was not allowed to play the piano on her own songs. Jazz musicians were brought in, and the album has a torch-like feel to it as a result. But Laura would not remain harnessed. Eli and the 13th Confession, released the following year, broke the mold wide open and remains one of the mose influential records of the 20th century. Not only was Laura given the artisitc freedom she had lacked earlier, her songwriting had become far more ambitious and her lyrics bespoke a poetic depth and conveyance of life experience that was simply unimaginable from a 20 year old girl. Eli is also a concept album of sorts that flows from start to finish, and one which set the groundwork for the female confessional artists of the next decade. This is the zenith of Laura's songwriting, voice and piano playing. While the rest of her records all have admirable qualities, this is the one album that entirely succeeds. Much of this has to do with the way it was produced. Producers from Arif Mardin to Todd Rundgren have never quite known what to do with Laura's pinioning between sparse, hollow major sevenths and full-blown rock n' roll. Felix Cavaliere was the only producer who was ever able to properly match and flesh out Laura's wildly vascillating style, and he spent so much money on Eli and the 13th Confession that he was fired from the record label. Listen to "Farmer Joe" or "Timer" to see how perfectly he is able to take the chaos of Laura's wild songwriting and make it flow. Most of Laura's hits other than "Wedding Bell Blues" are here, and you shouldn't be surprised to learn that her versions are far superior to the artists/supergroups who popularized them. Eli and the 13th Confession is considered to be a formidable pop masterpiece by those who are in the know. It was the first of its kind and nothing, including albums Laura wrote afterwards, has been able to match it.

Thank The Lord There Was A Laura Nyro

I make my living recording music. Together with a handful of my peers, a debt is owed to Laura Nyro, and this album in particular, for stimulating us to follow our musical dreams. There was never one like her before, and never will be again....and there will certainly never be a work of art like this one. It was, and continues to be a stunning work of unparalleled beauty.

You found the hidden treasure!

This was lady Nyro's seminal Album. Tin Pan Alley, Brill Building, Folk, and Gospel influences, it is a brilliant coming-of-age album. With a thick, blues-soprano voice that seems receive power from the gods and arranging that is as uplifting as it is haunting, Nyro takes her listeners on a magic-carpet ride. Unlike, say, Joni Mitchell, Laura's songs aren't specifically confessional, but more like acute glimpses, or landscapes, or kinesthetic ephiphanies of her reality. You can hear the city in this album for sure, this ain't no country girl. Full of sass, grace and glory, this album is closer to my soul than any other. It is so beautiful, it is heartbreaking.


Born: October 18, 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 fusion of gospel, soul, folk, and jazz structures -- remain her definitive artistic legacy. The daughter of a jazz trumpeter, she was born Laura Nigro on October 18, 1947, and composed her first songs...
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Top Albums and Songs by Laura Nyro

Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, Laura Nyro
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Rock, Soft Rock, Singer/Songwriter
  • Released: Mar 03, 1968

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