Soul collectors will be most aware of the work of LAURA NYRO via the recordings of THE FIFTH DIMENSION. Those sweet ‘n’ sophisticated soulsters recorded a number of LAURA’S songs – most notably ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ which gave them a US #1 pop hit. New York born and bred, LAURA NYRO was a prolific writer and a tremendous performer in her own right. (Check out her own albums, especially the one she recorded with LABELLE in Philadelphia).
Steeped in soul, jazz, doo-wop and metaphysical poetry, her songs were at once idiosyncratic and oblique but also hugely accessible and catchy.
In tribute to LAURA (who passed in 1997 aged just 49), ACE RECORDS have just issued an album of the very best of her songs performed by a tremendous cross section of artists. Soul people will be delighted to have THE STAPLE SINGERS’ version of ‘Stoned Soul Picnic’, MELBA MOORE’S ‘Captain St Lucifer’ and THE FRIENDS OF DISTINCTION’S epic version of ‘Eli’s Coming’. Anyone with half an ear though will relish stuff like BOBBIE GENTRY’S heart-wrenching version of ‘Wedding Bell Blues’, MAMA CASS’S take on ‘He’s A Runner’ and LAURA ZAKIAN’S look at ‘Billy’s Blues’. Other featured artists on the 20 tracker include THELMA HOUSTON, THE BLOSSOMS, THE SUPREMES, ESTHER MARROW, LIANE CARROLL, NNENA FREELON, JUDY KHUN and LINDA HOYLE.
SASSAFRAS & MOONSHINE – THE SONGS OF LAURA NYRO is out now on Ace Records.