Even if you don’t like performers like Elvis, Prince, Mariah Carey or any number of major stars, you know who they are and you get the chance to judge them by your own preference.
Did you ever get the feeling that you really missed something musically though? The sad part is that you weren’t aware of a really talented performer. The good news is that you get to dive in and appreciate a great career that’s perhaps under appreciated.
We were watching a video of a guy hearing a Van Morrison song for the first time - into the Mystic - and he seemed genuinely moved by it.
That’s kind of how we felt after we came across Laura Nyro.
That’s a name we’ve been aware of for a long time but without knowing any of her music...or so it seemed.
As it turns out, she wrote a lot of songs that are very well known but recorded by other people. Active mostly in the late ‘60s and intermittently after that, this woman was a phenomenal talent. She wrote in American genres but her voice and her lyrics are what set her apart. Her lyrics are brilliant and her voice is powerful.
We’re going to link one of her original songs which you may or may not have heard before called Stone Soul Picnic, and also a cover of Jimmy Mack, the classic by Martha and the Vandellas, which is a superb cover.
These two songs really show her brilliance as a composer and singer. On Jimmy Mack, incidentally, she is backed up by LaBelle.
We were sorry to learn that for much of her life she found little happiness and certainly not professionally, where she was chronically under appreciated, and that she died of ovarian cancer at 47, the same age that the disease claimed her mother’s life.
She left a deep legacy though. Very few songwriters have matched, much less surpassed her. Stone cold brilliant more like. If you like this, find a quiet spot and listen to a few more. You’ll be glad you did. Oh heck, here’s one more.