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March 13, 1990 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-03-13

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily -Tuesday, March 13, 1990


Laura Nyro sings again
by Peter Shapiro

IF you can envision a hybrid of
three parts Roberta Flack, one part
Nina Simone, one part Janis Joplin,
one part Free to Be You and Me- era
Marlo Thomas, and one part Joni
Mitchell, then you know what Laura
Nyro sounds like. Her bizarre amal-
gam of easy listening styles with a
tinge of gospel and blues caused her
to become one of the most hyped
performers of the post-Dylan singer/
songwriter boom. Unfortunately, the
media blitz forced her to shy away
from both public performances and
recordings, finally settling down to a
semi-retirement of infrequent club
gigs for a small but enthusiastic
But one can imagine that even if
she wasn't so adversely affected by
the praise she would still have little
more than a cult audience. In refer-
ence to Leonard Cohen, critic Robert
Christgau once said that he admired
his songs more than he listened to
them. The same could be said for
Laura Nyro. Her imagistic lyrics of
decay and betrayal in human rela-
tionships are ironic and insightful
while retaining a certain pop catchi-
ness, but her arrangements are often
less than mediocre.
She is most effective when the
instrumentation is limited to her del-
icate piano and poignant soprano.
More often than not, however, her
music is an ill-fated meeting of a
childish save-the-world optimism
with poor imitations of Blood,
Sweat and Tears horn charts. This
style contrasts garishly with her
songs of despair and make her an-
noyingly idealistic win-this-one-for-
the-children anthems even more so.
Continued from page 7



The University Activities Center

Laura Nyro is on tour now, reviving a career that first peaked in the mid-
'70s. Why is she back singing? "I did not even realize the full timbre of my
instrument until I quit smoking," she has said.


This is the reason that makes this
extremely rare appearance even more
important to catch. It is doubtful
that she will have more than two or
three musicians with her, if any, so
she will be at her most effective.
Hopefully, she will be able to play
songs like "Tom Cat Goodbye" and

"Captain Saint Lucifer" from her
New York Tendaberry album with-
out the cumbersome and saccharine
accompaniment of a large band.
LAURA NYRO will perform tonight
at 7:30 and 10 p.m. at the Ark, 637
1/2 S. Main. Tickets are $17.50,
available at the Union.




Jump records
Anatomy of a disappointing
record buy:
1) Oh boy oh boy oh boy this is
great. What a totally dope name for a
funk artist - Menace. Maybe
there's hope for the funk after all.
2) The place: Schoolkids
Salesman #1 stares at the
provocative cover of Doghouse,
transfixed by the images within. The
back reads: produced by Bill Laswell,
bass by Bootsy Collins, keyboards
by Bernie Worrell, sax by Maceo
Parker and guitar solos by Mike
Hampton - how can I go wrong
with Menace? Salesman #1 asks
salesman #2 about the record. He
replies, "it tears."
3) Well, the first song isn't quite

what I expected, but that's a great
line, "doghouse, ain't nothin' but a
bassline/ a canine kickin' in the be-
hind." Besides, there are no se-
quencers on this record.
4) "Just Say Yes" - Okay, this
is really good, I'm positive of it
Different choruses echo the strains of
classic Parliament, the bassline
moves like a meteorite... but in the
end Menace's mental inertia leaves
his best ideas trapped in a modest;
easily accessible 4/4. If he'd just free
his mind, maybe the rear end would
5) "Give It Up" - okay, this
makes it obvious. The man does
NOT live up to his name. This is
not the stomper that I expected...
6) Well, I'm tossing my copy of
Doghouse down East University. It's
an awesome waste of incredible tal-
ents and overall rather disappointing$-
-Forrest Green Ill


12:00 NOON
Interviews Limited to
the first 100 Students
Student ID a must!
Interviews take
Approximately 2.5

Jamie Balousek

You can also catch Pontiac on Fri-
day at the Student Initiative benefit
at the Performance Network at
10:30 p.m. and after midnight at The
Hive, 341 E. Jefferson.

I See news happen? Call the Daily at 764-0552
. r f Y
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