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Sassafras & Moonshine
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Album: Sassafras & Moonshine: The Songs of Laura Nyro
# Song Title   Time
1)    Sweet Blindness - the 5th Dimension More Info...
2)    Stoned Soul Picnic - the Staple Singers More Info...
3)    Save the Country - Thelma Houston More Info...
4)    Captain St Lucifer - Melba Moore More Info...
5)    Stoney End - the Blossoms More Info...
6)    Wedding Bell Blues - Bobbie Gentry More Info...
7)    Goodbye Joe - Carmen McRae with the Dixie Flyers More Info...
8)    Time and Love - the Supremes More Info...
9)    And When I Die - Esther Marrow More Info...
10)    I Never Meant to Hurt You - Chris Connor More Info...
11)    Lu - Peggy Lipton More Info...
12)    Lazy Susan - Liane Carroll More Info...
13)    He's a Runner - Mama Cass More Info...
14)    Buy and Sell - Nnenna Freelon More Info...
15)    Captain for Dark Mornings - Tuck & Patti (Cleared As Patti Cathcart) More Info...
16)    Billy's Blues - Laura Zakian More Info...
17)    Emmie - Ronnie Dyson More Info...
18)    Eli's Comin' - the Friends of Distinction More Info...
19)    Lonely Women - Linda Hoyle More Info...
20)    Blackpatch - Judy Kuhn More Info...
 
Album: Sassafras & Moonshine: The Songs of Laura Nyro
# Song Title   Time
1)    Sweet Blindness - the 5th Dimension More Info...
2)    Stoned Soul Picnic - the Staple Singers More Info...
3)    Save the Country - Thelma Houston More Info...
4)    Captain St Lucifer - Melba Moore More Info...
5)    Stoney End - the Blossoms More Info...
6)    Wedding Bell Blues - Bobbie Gentry More Info...
7)    Goodbye Joe - Carmen McRae with the Dixie Flyers More Info...
8)    Time and Love - the Supremes More Info...
9)    And When I Die - Esther Marrow More Info...
10)    I Never Meant to Hurt You - Chris Connor More Info...
11)    Lu - Peggy Lipton More Info...
12)    Lazy Susan - Liane Carroll More Info...
13)    He's a Runner - Mama Cass More Info...
14)    Buy and Sell - Nnenna Freelon More Info...
15)    Captain for Dark Mornings - Tuck & Patti (Cleared As Patti Cathcart) More Info...
16)    Billy's Blues - Laura Zakian More Info...
17)    Emmie - Ronnie Dyson More Info...
18)    Eli's Comin' - the Friends of Distinction More Info...
19)    Lonely Women - Linda Hoyle More Info...
20)    Blackpatch - Judy Kuhn More Info...
 
Product Description
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Tributee: Laura Nyro.
  • Liner Note Authors: Malcolm Baumgart; Michele Kort; Mick Patrick.
  • Photographers: Eric Charge; Malcolm Baumgart; Mick Patrick.
  • Laura Nyro was justly regarded as one of the finest songwriters of the 1960s and `70s, a tunesmith whose melodic fusion of pop, soul, jazz, and folk dovetailed brilliantly with her passionate, distinctly literate lyrics. But the great paradox of Nyro's career was that her albums were widely thought to be too personal and esoteric to appeal to a mass audience, while the same songs were often major successes when covered by other artists -- Three Dog Night scored a big hit with "Eli's Coming," Blood, Sweat & Tears charted high with "And When I Die," Barbra Streisand enjoyed what was both a hit single and her most credible stab at rock & roll with "Stoney End," and the 5th Dimension practically made a career out of covering Nyro, hitting the charts with "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Wedding Bell Blues," "Blowin' Away," and "Save the Country." Nyro fared so well at the hands of other artists that Ace Records has compiled 20 worthy interpretations of her songs on the collection Sassafras & Moonshine: The Songs of Laura Nyro. One could easily assemble a very enjoyable album out of the many covers of Nyro's songs that were hits in her heyday, but the expense of licensing those recordings prevented them from appearing on this disc (the one selection by the 5th Dimension included here was their lowest-charting Nyro cover, "Sweet Blindness"). This drawback, however, has resulted in an album that ultimately offers a broader picture of Nyro's influence and the stylistic diversity of her work. While most of these performers focus on the pop and R&B facets of Nyro's music, Sassafras & Moonshine features several selections where the jazz subtext of her songs is drawn to the surface, and Chris Connor's "I Never Meant to Hurt You," Tuck & Patti's "Captain for Dark Mornings," and Laura Zakian's "Billy's Blues" all bring a subtle but telling sensuality to the deep moods of Nyro's songs about love. And as is often the case with Ace's songwriter-focused compilations, they've uncovered some fine overlooked sides, particularly the Staple Singers' rich version of "Stoned Soul Picnic," Carmen McRae's Southern soul remake of "Goodbye Joe," a sexy take on "Wedding Bell Blues" from Bobbie Gentry, and Esther Marrow's ferocious workout on "And When I Die." Sassafras & Moonshine is hardly the last word on the work of Laura Nyro as seen through the eyes of other musicians, but it's a splendid reminder of just how powerful her songs were (and still are), and how well they adapt to the voices and attitudes of others. ~ Mark Deming
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