Laura Nyro ‘Live in Japan’: Previously Unreleased Concert Set Reviewed

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The late Laura Nyro was a fine songwriter whose creations produced hits for artists like the 5th Dimension, Barbra Streisand, and Blood, Sweat & Tears, but she was also a first-rate singer, pianist and interpreter of others’ material.

For evidence of both her compositional and performing abilities, check out this album, Trees of the Ages: Laura Nyro Live in Japan, which was originally released only in that country in 2003.

Featuring well-restored sound and new liner notes by musician/author John Kruth, the live set culls 16 of its tracks from a February 1994 concert in that country and the other five from a Tokyo radio set that same month. It embraces some of Nyro’s best-known compositions, including “Wedding Bell Blues,” “And When I Die” and “Save the Country.”

Listen to “And When I Die” from the performance

There are also terrific covers of such 1960s hits as the Shirelles’ “Dedicated to the One I Love,” Smokey Robinson’s “Ooh Baby Baby” and Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By.” Even the widely recorded “Let It Be Me” sounds fresh in Nyro’s interpretation.

Related: Nyro’s “Eli’s Coming” was a hit by Three Dog Night

If you’re a fan, you probably already own Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best of Laura Nyro, if not her 10 studio albums. Complete the picture with this excellent live set.

The concert recording is one of two new Nyro sets issued by the Omnivore label, the other being Go Find the Moon: The Audition Tape.

Jeff Burger

2 Comments so far

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  1. Mark Leviton
    #1 Mark Leviton 21 July, 2021, 17:40

    About half of “Live in Japan” was released in the United States by EMI Special Products in 2007 — here’s the Amazon link FYI —

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  2. Mark Leviton
    #2 Mark Leviton 21 July, 2021, 17:46

    Further to my previous comment — discogs shows the release as 2003

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