This ten-track budget-priced collection, excerpted and resequenced from a longer version released in Japan, presents Laura Nyro at the piano along with a female vocal trio, performing a combination of the hit songs she penned, some 1950s and '60s hits of others she loved, and some of her newer material of the early 1990s. Four rock & roll oldies, the Shirelles' "Dedicated to the One I Love," the Miracles' "Ooh Baby Baby," Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By," and the Everly Brothers' "Let It Be Me," are interrupted by three of Nyro's own oldies, "And When I Die," "Save the Country," and "Wedding Bell Blues." This abbreviated version of the set then concludes with three then-recent songs, "Light a Flame (The Animal Rights Song)," "Louise's Church," and "Woman of the World," songs that continue to seem more preachy and less personal than her earlier work.
Recorded just a few years before her tragically early death at age 49, these performances at her annual Christmas Eve concerts at New York's Bottom Line find Laura revisiting her own stunning songs as well as cover songs she held close to her heart. These riveting, spare arrangements feature only voices and piano and include To a Child; And When I Die; Save the Country; Angel in the Dark; Wedding Bell Blues; Broken Rainbow; Wind; Emmie; Let It Be Me; Ooh Baby, Baby; Dedicated to the One I Love 24 impassioned performances on 2 CDs!
This entry into the Japan-only Premium Best series highlights the recordings of composer/performer Laura Nyro. Unlike other single-CD North American compilations, this 16-track disc gives sufficient time to her tragically underappreciated post-Smile recordings. Several of these titles are not even available on CD in the States, which is perhaps correlated to the seeming lack of interest. There are actually numerous advantages to this collection – not the least of which is the artist-sensitive track list. Presumably the Premium Best series is aimed at the casual enthusiast, as the hardcore collector would either already own the contents or buy it anyway if they were a completist. By including seminal album sides such as the imperially haunting "New York Tendaberry" and "Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp," a more accurate overview of Nyro's career is presented here.
These 12 sides represent singer/songwriter Laura Nyro 's earliest professional recordings. More Than a New Discovery was originally issued on the Folkways label in conjunction with Verve Records in early 1967. The contents were subsequently reissued as The First Songs in 1969 after she began to garner national exposure with her first two LPs for Columbia – Eli and the Thirteenth Confession (1968) and New York Tendaberry (1969), respectively. Many of these titles became international hits for some of the early '70s most prominent pop music vocalists and bands. Among them, "Wedding Bell Blues" and "Blowing Away" were covered by the Fifth Dimension . "And When I Die" became one of Blood, Sweat & Tears signature pieces. Likewise, "Stoney End," as well as "I Never Meant to Hurt You," are both arguably best known via Barbra Streisand 's renditions.