New York Tendaberry

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New York Tendaberry
Studio album by Laura Nyro
Released September 24, 1969
Recorded September 1968 - July 1969 in New York City
Genre Acoustic, Soul, Folk
Length 46:15 (Original)
51:06 (2002 Reissue)
Label Columbia
Producer Laura Nyro, Roy Halee
Laura Nyro chronology
Eli and the Thirteenth Confession
(1968)
New York Tendaberry
(1969)
Christmas and the Beads of Sweat
(1970)

New York Tendaberry is the third album by New York-born singer, songwriter and pianist Laura Nyro. It was released in the autumn of 1969 on Columbia Records, some eighteen months after its predecessor, Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. The album is generally considered by rock critics and Laura Nyro aficionados to be her greatest musical achievement. It was helmed by her, with the assistance of producer and engineer Roy Halee.

New York Tendaberry is also considered to be the second in a trilogy of classic original Nyro records, with Eli and Christmas and the Beads of Sweat on either side. They are all considered musically and thematically similar, although New York Tendaberry is by far the most intense and stark.

In 1969, Nyro was one of the most popular pop songwriters, and various groups including The 5th Dimension, Three Dog Night and Blood Sweat and Tears had enjoyed hits with her compositions. Thanks to the strong word of mouth trailing her work, New York Tendaberry became her most commercially successful record, peaking at #32 on the Billboard 200, formerly known as the Pop Albums chart.

The 5th Dimension reached US #27 in the Pop Singles chart (the Hot 100) with their version of "Save the Country", while artists including Barbra Streisand recorded "Time and Love".

In 2003, the album was included in Mojo's Collection book of the best albums of all time, and the reissued version was voted among the Best Albums of 2002 in Uncut magazine.

Overview[edit]

New York Tendaberry is loosely Nyro's love ode to her hometown, New York City. All of the songs either take place in or are influenced by said city.

The title track particularly stands out as an ode to the city, while other songs, such as "Gibsom Street" and "Mercy on Broadway", take place in the urban metropolis. Elsewhere, Nyro sings of lovers and romances in a notably darker and more knowing tone than on 1968's Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, adding further weight to the theory that this album is a thematic continuation from its predecessor.

Musically, New York Tendaberry is far more intimate than any other Nyro album, and the lack of multi-layered instrumentation and memorable pop hooks was a surprise coming after the cult favourite Eli. The album is built around her voice and piano; her voice is at its wildest and most free, swooping and diving between notes and regularly locked in its upper register, while her piano playing is alternately velvety and impassioned.

Nyro painstakingly guided co-producer and engineer Roy Halee using colour metaphors. She could not understand musical notation, and used other analogies to communicate what she wanted. This process slowed recording down somewhat, as did her perfectionism. The use of strings and classical instrumentation is also notable.

The album also utilises sound effects, such as the gunshot on "Mercy on Broadway" and the twinkling sky in "New York Tendaberry". Alongside Nyro's piano, there is a jazz band, an orchestra, and a rock band, although this is used sparingly. The mood is downbeat and smoky, which makes Nyro's theatrical dramatics and dynamic abilities all the more effective.

The album was finally released after a year of painstaking night-time recording sessions, and is considered by most to be Nyro's artistic highpoint. Famous Nyro fan Rickie Lee Jones has described the album as one of the best records of all time.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Laura Nyro.

  1. "You Don't Love Me When I Cry" - 4:24 (Rec: 3/21/69)
  2. "Captain for Dark Mornings" - 4:38 (Rec: 2/11/69)
  3. "Tom Cat Goodbye" - 5:32 (Rec: 3/5/69)
  4. "Mercy on Broadway" - 2:18 (Rec: 3/5/69)
  5. "Save the Country" - 4:36 (Rec: 3/4/69)
  6. "Gibsom Street" - 4:47 (Rec: 10/4/68)
  7. "Time and Love" - 4:24 (Rec: 9/20/68)
  8. "The Man Who Sends Me Home" - 2:52 (Rec: 3/5/69)
  9. "Sweet Lovin' Baby" - 3:55 (Rec: 3/5/69)
  10. "Captain Saint Lucifer" - 3:17 (Rec: 1/21/69)
  11. "New York Tendaberry" - 5:33 (Rec: 2/11/69)

2002 remaster[edit]

The Legacy imprint of Columbia Records reissued the album in remastered and expanded format during the summer of 2002 alongside similar reissues of Eli and the Thirteenth Confession and Gonna Take a Miracle.

The reissue featured the previously unreleased song "In the Country Way," recorded by Nyro during 1971 oddly enough, as well as the mono single version of "Save the Country", which was recorded in the summer of 1968 in an attempt to give Nyro her first chart hit. This attempt backfired, and she stuck to her solo piano renditions for the New York Tendaberry album.

The accompanying booklet features photographs, lyrics and recording details, as well as new liner notes by David Fricke and a back-cover reminiscence from Suzanne Vega. The reissued version was voted among Uncut magazine's Best Albums of 2002.

  1. "You Don't Love Me When I Cry"
  2. "Captain for Dark Mornings"
  3. "Tom Cat Goodbye"
  4. "Mercy on Broadway"
  5. "Save the Country"
  6. "Gibsom Street"
  7. "Time and Love"
  8. "The Man Who Sends Me Home"
  9. "Sweet Lovin' Baby"
  10. "Captain Saint Lucifer"
  11. "New York Tendaberry"
  12. "Save the Country" (Single Version) (Bonus track)
  13. "In the Country Way" (Bonus track)

Ray Staff remaster[edit]

Pure Pleasure Records added the album into their catalog in 2008. The remastering was made by Ray Staff using the original analog tapes, and brings the original artwork in a gatefold cover, and an audiophile pure record vinyl in 180 grams. [1]

References[edit]

  • Michele Kort's biography Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro (ISBN 0-312-20941-X)