March 6, 2011

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Laura Nyro - reluctant icon.


The name Laura Nyro probably doesn't ring that many bells with people today. Not like it did say, twenty or thirty years ago when she was riding the crest of a very big wave of singer-songwriters who had established careers on both sides of the fence; that of the performer and that of the writer for other performers. Nyro's work probably did as much to enhance the careers of others as it did her own. Her death in 1997 at the age of 49 robbed the music world of a unique and insightful voice that has remained for the most part timeless.

Here is a rare program originally run on NET from November, 1968 which features a short interview with Nyro as well as her manager David Geffen as well as Nyro performing solo while others remark on her work. The host is former CBS Newsman and host of the TV Game Show "What's My Line?" John Daly, who seems a bit mystified with popular culture of the time, and for all intents and purposes seems rather proud of that fact.

The remarks by the "critics" are annoying, tending to portray Nyro as something of a wounded bird or Savant - but this was the state of music criticism at the time, particularly with regards to women. Can't get around the misogyny, even though the music itself was bigger than the pigeon hole.

That's just the way it was and small wonder the Women's Movement came about a short time later.

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