Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing
Up on the Roof
Editors’ Notes As a young teen, Laura Nyro honed her musical skills singing in street-corner harmony groups around her native New York. In 1971, she revisited those days on Gonna Take A Miracle, a loving tribute to her roots recorded with the group Labelle. This inspired effort is no mere nostalgia trip; Nyro and company infuse these tunes with passion and immediacy. A throb of schoolgirl yearning (tempered with mature musical ability) runs through their renditions of the title tune, “I Met Him On A Monday,””Spanish Harlem,” and similar ‘50s/’60s R&B classics. When Nyro submerges herself in the sensuous longing of “Desiree” and “Wind,” the effect is mesmerizing, and her high-energy interpretations of “Monkey Time,””Dancing In The Street” and especially “Jimmy Mack” deliver pure finger-snapping, body-grabbing pleasure. Nyro’s unfettered performances are more than matched by Patti LaBelle’s gospel-steeped vocals. Philly studio legends Gamble and Huff surround them with well-tailored production, letting the vocals and Nyro’s piano remain at the center. Gonna Take A Miracle reveals the sources of inspiration for Nyro’s prodigious songwriting gifts. More importantly, it stands on its own as a vibrantly romantic and rhythmically irresistible slice of Big Apple Soul.