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  Listen Up! 6/19/02 Listen Up!

Wednesday, June 19

Laura Nyro, “Eli and the Thirteenth Confession,” Columbia Legacy. Nyro’s first album, released some 35 years ago, remains an astonishing example of breadth, ambition, exuberance, pizzaz, and panache. She was in great voice in those days – I was listening to live recordings from late in her life last week, and she was missing a lot of notes – and writing songs that challenged her chops all the time. Yeah, the arrangements are kind of dated, but they work; the chord voicings are always beautifully connected to the rich melodies of the songs. I’ve gone through periods of liking her more or less, but these days, I’m very, very much impressed with the talents of the late great Laura Nyro.

B Rich, “80 Dimes,” Atlantic Records. I’ve only heard a few cuts, and they’re all enjoyable commercial hip-hop, with solid grooves and repeated assertions of masculinity. But, “Showtime” is a work of genius, taking the Meters classic track “Hey Pocky Way,”, looping part of it, adding New Orleans-based drum machine rhythms, and turning out as infectious a hip-hop cut as you’ll find this side of Eminem.

--Steve Pick



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