Laura Nyro Allan Jones - Essay

Allan Jones

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

While any new album by Laura Nyro is to be received with thanks and a smart tug at the forelock, it must be said that "Season Of Lights" is one of the most disappointing releases of the year. A live album …, "Season Of Lights" is no honourable successor to last year's memorable (and curiously underestimated) "Smile" and in no way challenges the achievements of Nyro's classic records, especially the epic "New York Tendaberry" or the accomplished versatility of "Christmas And The Beads Of Sweat," both of which stand among the best American records of the last decade (and that's NO overstatement, Bub). The songs she has selected for inclusion here are drawn from each separate stage of her artistic development (with a slight emphasis, perhaps, on her earlier work), and reflect thoughtfully her progression from precocious teenager ("When I Die"), tormented poet of the city ("Captain St. Lucifer"), to the more contented celebrations that marked both "Christmas" and "Smile."… Inexplicably, however, the versions of these various songs are generally perfunctory, with little of the depth or passion of the originals…. Actually, the songs that succeed best on this album are invariably those, like "Freeport" and the introduction to "Captain St. Lucifer," where the musical emphasis is placed on her voice and solo piano accompaniment. Elsewhere there is little to recommend about an album that does scant justice to an extraordinary talent.

Allan Jones, "'Season of Lights'," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), September 3, 1977, p. 46.