Few albums have been as aptly titled, as Laura Nyro's fans will receive these final studio recordings like an angel's gift from heaven.
Few albums have been as aptly titled, as Laura Nyro's fans will receive these final studio recordings like an angel's gift from heaven. Nyro, who succumbed to ovarian cancer in 1997, recorded these tracks in '94 and '95, mostly self-accompanied on acoustic piano. Co-producers Eileen Silver-Lillywhite, who partnered with Nyro in a record company project, and Scott Billington, Rounder VP of A&R, wisely added top-flight pop/jazz backup in keeping with Nyro's tradition—and only when appropriate. Many songs, such as Nyro's achingly beautiful "Serious Playground," feature only her vocals and piano. In addition to her own material, she cut a number of classic pop and soul covers. Her emotion-drenched versions of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "Ooh Baby Baby" and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Walk on By" recall her landmark Motown/soul-cover album Gonna Take a Miracle (featuring LaBelle); her anguished solo rendition of Rodgers & Hart's "He Was Too Good to Me," meanwhile, salutes her great popular song predecessors and consecrates her deserved place alongside them.—JB