22/10/14 – Laura Nyro – Stoned Soul Picnic – 1968

Song Of The Day

Laura Nyro Colour PicLaura Nyro, the singer, the songwriter, the lyricist, the piano player, the arranger – the reluctant star. Laura Nyro was many things but most of all she was a passionate provider of soulful music that delivered more than seemed possible for a teenager from The Bronx. A young white girl with Eastern European roots, she somehow managed to fuse hip sixties generation songwriting with authentic gospel and heart wrenching soul music. Her songs dealt with death, love, feminism and issues of the day expressed in a gripping vocal delivery that took your attention away from whatever else you might be doing – your house could be on fire and you’d wait till the end of the song to put it out. She had cabaret pzazz together with an unquestionable authenticity, showbiz yet real, sincere, moving and dynamic.

Stoned Soul Picnic was a song from her second groundbreaking album Eli & The Thirteenth Confession released in 1968, an album that had singer/songwriters agape at her vision, her vocal range and electrifying vocal performances. In this period between her first album, More Than A New Discovery released in 1967 and her fifth (Gonna Take Miracle with Labelle ) in 1971, other artists were having major hits with her songs. The Fifth Dimension recorded at least six of her songs and had two hits in 1968 with their versions of Stoned Souled Picnic a US No.3 and Sweet Blindness No. 13. Wedding Bell Blues went to No.1 in 1969 three years after Nyro recorded it in 1966 on her debut.

And When I Die also from her first album was an unusual positive song about death, written when she was just 17 years old. Peter, Paul and Mary recorded the song on their sixth album The Peter Paul and Mary Album released in 1966. (Nyro sold it to them for $5,000). In 1969 Blood, Sweat & Tears took the same song to N0. 2 on the US chart. There was even talk about her joining Blood, Sweat & Tears as their vocalist after Al Kooper had left.

Barbra Streisand recorded three of her songs on her 1971 album Stoney End, the title track reaching No.6 on the US chart. Incredibly Nyro never had any hits performing her own songs. Barbra Streisand has said that she still doesn’t know what Stoney End is about. The lyric to Stoned Soul Picnic includes the word “surry”, when questioned about what it means, Nyro apparently said that she thought it was “a nice sounding word”.

She seemed to live in her own world, with her own rhythms, with words she invented and uncommitted to any genre, whilst at the same time connecting deeply to traditional sources of spiritual music and Jazz. A naturally talented true original, she died in 1997 of ovarian cancer at the age of 49 – dying at the same age and of the same disease as her mother.

Can you surry,
Can you picnic?
Can you surry,
Can you picnic?
Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
There’ll be lots of time and wine
Red yellow honey
Sassafras and moonshine
Stoned Soul

Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
Rain and sun come in akin
And from the sky
Come the lord and the lightning
Stoned Soul

There’ll be trains of blossoms
There’ll be trains of music
There’ll be trains of trust
Trains of gold and dust
Sweet trains of thought
Can you surry?

Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
There’ll be lots of time and wine
Red yellow honey
Sassafras and moonshine
Stoned soul

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Nyro

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_and_the_Thirteenth_Confession

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoned_Soul_Picnic_(song)

 

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