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Laura Nyro: Christmas and the Beads of Sweat

Album Notes

Some fans may push for NEW YORK TENDABERRY or ELI AND THE 13TH CONFESSION, but in many ways, 1970's CHRISTMAS AND THE BEADS OF SWEAT is the archetypal Laura Nyro album. It doesn't contain any of the songs other artists made famous for her, but like the two aforementioned albums, its combination of piano-based folk-jazz-pop melodies and idiosyncratic lyrics firmly rooted in Nyro's New York upbringing--note the iconic "When I Was a Freeport and You Were the Main Drag"--pretty much summarizes the appeal of Nyro, possibly the most cultily-adored of the late '60s/early '70s singer-songwriters. The album's centerpiece is the harrowing anti-drug screed "Been On A Train," which uses Nyro's piercing gospel-influenced soprano to its best effect. That segues beautifully into a laid-back, almost sleepy version of the Drifters' "Up on the Roof," and this combination of passion and mellowness sums up the album beautifully.


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