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echigonagaoka> Music of Laura Nyro

Songs of Laura Nyro.....and me

(a personal history from 2002 t0 2009)

New York Tenderberry

The following is just random essays about my personal history with the songs of Laura Nyro. It started in 2002. I am sorry to say, but even if you read through the lengthy essay below, you will probably not find any useful information. This is just a personal history. I just want to wirte what I experienced with Laura's songs, because I think I can say that the encounter with her songs is one of the greatest things happened to me.

The reason why I am going to write is that; in 2009, I strongly realized that my "music travel of Laura Nyro" had reached the ended. Before the year 2009, I had already listened to all Laura's albums except "Mother's Spiritual". And the spring of 2009 was when I finaly started listening to that album. And from March to June, I had been listening so many times to the songs in the album, feeling that my experience with Laura songs was going to end. Of course Mother's Spiritual is not the last album cholonologically, but for me, it was the very last Laura Nyro album. So let me start and write in the order that I listened to her songs, not the order of release of the albums.

If my memory is correct, it was Saturday afternoon in Octorber, 2002. At that time, I lived on a hill where I was able to look down the inland sea of Japan. So it was on Saturday. Being tired from weekdays' work, I was lying down on the wooden floor in my room. Lying my body on a hard floor is not pleasant, but there was no soft tatami mat in my small apartment. I was turning on a small Sony shortwave radio, I was half awaken and half sleeping. Voices from the radio with much noise was a program of the BBC world. Frequency might have been 17825kHz or 21660kHz. Actually I could not understand spoken English (even now), but I liked to listen to the radio program of BBC world.

All of a sudden, I heard a striking female vocal that I had never listened to . I felt that the recording was a little old, but the style of singing was quite new to me. I tried my best to listen to the name of the singer because it was really difficult for me to tell what was being said in English. I barely listened to the name of the singer and wrote down it on small sheet of paper in Japanese Katakana, "Ro-ra Ni-ro". Please don't point out that the first letter should not be R but L. Japanese don't tell the difference between L and R. Actually, I don't remember what songs were aired on that BBC program. Since the male commentator recommended listening to songs of "The First Songs", so some of the songs were from that album. And perhaps I might have heard "Gibsom Street", although I am not sure.

When the program was over, soon I decided to go buy the CD of Ro-ra Ni-ro. Although it was already a little late afternoon, I put my cloth to be proper to go to the town (A single Japanese guy in his 30's lying down on the floor, his clothing cannot be good to go to a town by any means), put my shoes, and got out of my small apartment. I walked about a half mile to get to the nearest bus stop, and got on a bus to go to the town. It should be a tiny encounter with Laura Nyro songs if you compared to what was dipicted in the first page of "Soul Picnic" by Ms. Michele Kort. But it was the beginning.

The bus was going down the hill and heading to a town where there are a railway station and a small port. When the bus got to the city, I threw 230 yen into the box next to the driver, and got off. There was the so-called "Station building (Eki-biru)" in which many tenant shops were doing their business. I climbed up the stairway and went into a CD shop in that station building. Fortunately, the katakana charactors "Ro-ra Ni-ro" didn't make any problem to find her CD, because the shelves for compact discs were tagged not by alphabet but by Katakana. The only Laura Nyro's CD on the shelves was "New York Tenderberry" with black cover photo. There was no other CDs. Of course I bought it.

It has nothing to do with Laura Nyro, but that CD shop in the Eki-Biru was closed several years later. It seemed very difficult to keep running CD shops these days, you know, because internet shopping has become very common and easy to buy CDs. In addition to that, since Japan has been long suffered from economic recession, I remember that no new shops of any kind opened at the space of the closed CD stop for a long time. I don't know at all whether the space is now used for other store or still empty, because now I live very far, hundreds miles away from that town.

Since it was sixteen years ago, I don't remember how I felt at the fisrt time when I put the CD onto player and listened to the songs of New York Tenderberry. Probably I couldn't noticed the whispering "Two main streams died" at the beginning of the album. But I remember that "You don't love me when I cry" hit my soul. I think that the tile itself is very impressive. If I could sing a song accompanying with piano by myself, I would really like to sing this song with squeezing my voice at the end of the song "In the hours of my crying days". Although I know that the song is basically for women to sing.

Songs following after "You don't love me" were also quite surprising. I have grown up with hearing 80's pops through my junior high and high school years. When I went to university, I had already been fed up with popular songs. So I had listened to a lot of classical musics like Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and other. After the graduation from university, my music preference went back to popular music, but a little old one, I listened to the most albums of Carole King and James Taylor. When I was hitting my 30's, I became feeling there were no new songs for me to listen further. But I was wrong. Listening to "New York Tenderberry", I changed my mind and thought that I should listen to more songs of Laura Nyro.

I think that New York Tenderberry is quite unique and different from other Laura Nyro's albums. Her singing with her piano accompanyments are simple but very sophisticated. Actually I feel some parts of her vocal are inaccurate in pitch, if I compared to other albums. But it may not be a big problem. I will not say it is a problem, but in order to listen through "New York Tenderberry" from the beginning to the end, much concentration is needed. It cannot be easy-listening. Since I was a company person? in Japan, was always exhausted by day to day life, I have come to avoid listening to that album. For this reason, I think I was lucky to have started with "New York Tenderberry".

That was in autumn of 2002 when I lived on the hill. Everyday I saw the sea from the widow in my small apartment. At that time, I was busy for preparing to move to a place very far from there. It was not sure that what organization would accept me, because my English was very poor to get my project done. Undecided future made me worry, and I was alone on the hill, I listened to New York Tenderberry on my CD player like zillion times.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Eli and Thirteenth Confession

It was late autumn in 2002 that I bought "Eli and Thirteenth Confession". I don't remember in what city in Kansai Region I bought it. The CD I bought was for sales in Japan, so there was Japanese booklet inside. The opening of the album was enough to blow me away. That was strong vocal of "Yes I'm Ready, So Come on Luckie". Instantly I noticed that the album was a different kind from "New York Tenderberry".

Still I was living on a hill and I liked to walk down the road to get to the sea shore on weekends. Some people were doing fishing; some were just walking like me. The wind from the sea was smelling and salty, but I didn't care about that. There are waves on the sea and small and big ships slipping on the surface of water. Looking at them made me feel better, although I have to walk two miles from my apartment to get there. And since I didn't have mp3 music player kind of things at that time, I couldn't bring her music all the time. But without "walkman" or mp3 player, Laura's songs sounded in my brain over and over and over again. Probably the most refrained in my head was "Poverty train".

I was still working on the preparation to go abroad. Since I was so busy for the preparation that I could not get back to my hometown in the year-end and new-year holidays. When I was very young, people went to their hometowns for new year celebration, drank a lot, and ate a lot of special foods like rice cakes with sweet beans' paste and Ozouni soup to cerebrate new year with relatives. In my case, after my grandmother passed away, such big party had not been held. Only my parents were waiting for me in the cold region in Japan. Antway I couldn't go to my hometown for new year cerebration of 2003. I was alone, but as a small cerebration, I bought a small but whole of sea bream grilled with salt, which costed 2000 yen. I ate it and drank a little bit of sake in the small apartment on the hill.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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The First Songs

It may be a little funny that "The First Songs" was the third album for me after listening to "New York Tenda" and "Eli". I am not sure when I bought this album exactly; maybe it was the end of 2002 or the beginning of 2003. I bought it in a department store which was located in the southern part of Osaka. Maybe it was near "Kintetsu Abeno", but I'm not sure.

Although I didn't know much about Osaka, I often went to the city to spend weekends in that winter. Of course I was alone, there was no girl friend whatsoever. Every time I went to Osaka, I felt very lonely. Becasue I am a stranger in that big city and there is no one who knows me. I didn't know why I visited often the city that made me feel so sad.

I liked "Lazy Suzan" and "Stoney End" in the album. "And when I die" is an unbelievable song to be sung by such young age girl. One of my frineds since my university days bought this album because he read this web site, and he said he liked it. And you might have noticed that background color of this site comes from "The first songs" and "Smile" record jackets. When it comes to a color of Laura Nyro, I guess it is often thought to be black because of image of New York Tenderberry. "Walk the Dog" and "Angel in the Dark" also use black and white jackets. But I would like to make this web site have warm color image.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Christmas and the Beads of Sweat

Having listened to three albums of Laura's, I just decided to buy other albums as many as I could get. So I ordered "Christmas and the beads of sweat", "Gonna take a miracle", and "Smile" at the same time through amazon.co.jp. Of cource I started listening to "Christmas" first of the three.

I like "Brown Earth" very much. And bass on "Beads of sweat" is quite wonderful. But I don't like "Up on the Roof" so much. Maybe I like Carole King's in "Writer" better.

It was the early spring of 2003 that I listened to "Christmas". Still I often visit Osaka on weekends. At that time, Korean love comedy "My sassy girl" was on the screen. I went to see that movie twice. It is funny but image of the movie and "Brown Earth" were connected in my brain.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Gonna take a miracle

Since the songs in the album are all cover, I didn't expect so much for this album. Not bad, I felt when I listened to it first. I had heard another singer's version of "Gonna take a miracle" when I was in a junior high school. I recorded it on a cassete tape by Rajikase which means Radio and cassete player. The radio program was American top 40 broadcasted on shortwave by Far East Network (FEN). I had not expect to lesten to the same song after 20 years.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Smile

After listened "Gonna Take a Miracle", I was reluctant to start listening to "Smile" because I was not sure if I could get other Laura Nyro albums or not, especially later her albums, at that time. So spring of 2003 had passed without listening to "Smile". I just started listening to Smile at the early summer of 2003. But soon I became very busy to go abroad again. I felt that all the songs in the album were fascinating, but didn't have time to liesten to the songs with concentration.

After I moved to foreign country, my task became more busier. There was no time to spend for music. But I loved to listen Smile songs from my computer hard disc on weekends.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Walk the dog, light the light

I was living in the country that English was spoken, but I was not confident to use Amazon in English. So I made an order on Amazon.co.jp for "Walk the dog, light the light", "Angel in the dark", "season of lights", and the book of Michelle Cort's "Soul Picnic". And I imported these from Japan.

Actually, I haven't listened to this album much. With several covers, and her original compositions are not so fascinating, I am sorry to say that I am not so intrigued by this album. Maybe it was a time that trend of popular music was changing. It is not to be listened, but to be drifted in the air.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Angel in the Dark

It was summer of 2004. I was working hard in the room well air-conditioned. It was scorching heat outside, but cool inside. In that summer, I cooked by myself every weekend. It seemed nothing had to do with "Angel in the Dark", but for me, it is the memory of the album.

Title tune is the best of Nyro compositions in the album. Quite beautiful is "La-la means I love you". la-la part is very difficult to sing, even Laura's pitch is inaccurate in some parts.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Spread your Wings and Fly

After I got back to Japan, I found this live album in a CD shop, in a city of Kansai region. It was in 2005, if my memory is correct.

I didn't know what I should do in Japan. However, my job had becoming togher and tougher gradually from that time. Soon I had lost my spare time to listen to music 2006 end of 2008, went to shanghai 2009,

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Nested

Although I was quite busy for my job, I sometimes checked the official site of Laura Nyro. One day in 2007, I found that Icono Music reissued "Nested" that was long used CD shop in shinjuku

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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Mother's Spiritual

Maybe it was 2008 that Sony reissued the long disappeared Laura album. I ordered Amazon.co.jp but there was no time to receive the package in my apartment. So I asked amazon to deliver it to nearby convinience store. I just thought that Laura in jacket photographs were very beautiful. And since I know that it was the last Nyro album for me, so I left the album unlistened for a while. but in spring of 2009, I just started listening to the album by copying songs into my MP3 player.

I haven't finished proofreading yet.
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