Stoned Soul Picnic
Once It Was Alright Now (Farmer Joe)
Laura Nyro's insistent rhythms, seductive melodies and sumptuous lyrics bloomed into a fully-realized statement on Eli And The Thirteenth Confession. The 1968 album was a bold departure from Nyro’s more conventional debut release, and her use of abrupt tempo-shifts and volatile arrangements turned it into a dazzling exploration of her interior world. Nyro’s poetic sense was equally adventurous — she fused ‘60s jive-talk, romantic verse and Dylan-esque vision into her own unmistakable language. The songs are sonically rich, yet accessible — “Stoned Soul Picnic” glides into paradise on a simmering groove, “Eli’s Comin’” invokes erotic hysteria with brass-fueled fire, and “Sweet Blindness” embraces intoxication with a dash of Dixieland. Introspective tracks like “December’s Boudoir” and “Emmie” find Nyro painting exquisite word-pictures of love and friendship. Eli’s influence can be heard in the music of everyone from Rickie Lee Jones to Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan; it ranks as both Nyro’s most enduring work and as a genuine landmark in singer/songwriter history.