Laura Nyro

Angel In The Dark

BY Eric ThomPublished Sep 1, 2001

I first fell head-over-heels with this female voice in 1968 to the entirety of Laura Nyro's Eli & The Thirteenth Confession. This was a voice like no other and, as I followed her outstanding solo career, there was always something to be learned about the power of music: from the intimate perspective of singer-songwriter with solo piano to full-fledged, intricate arrangements attracting the best session players in the business. She removed the lines between genres, mixing jazz with R&B, soul with blues. She died far too early, of ovarian cancer in 1997. The good news is that Angel In The Dark allows for a farewell of sorts and a final reminder of the degree of our loss. Culled from final recording sessions in '94 and '95, this disc samples the ever-passionate songstress in some of her many forms - from the reworking of Goffin-King's "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and Rogers-Hart's "He Was Too Good To Me" to the Bacharach-David standard "Walk On By." Yet her heartbeat songs comprise the essence of Laura Nyro: upbeat R&B-driven numbers ("Ooh Baby Baby," "La La Means I Love You" and her own finger-snapping "Angel In The Dark") that conjure images of a teenage girl glued to her AM radio, alone in her room. Nyro's legacy is and will always be her uniquely powerful voice, her undeniably impressive body of timeless songs and her ability to create soulful, street smart compositions that remain in a class by themselves. Sadly, she is better known as a songwriter of such songs as "Eli's Coming," "Sweet Blindness" and "And When I Die," which are only the tip of this iceberg.

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