2012 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee
"...one of the most original and brilliant artists in popular music."
Laura Nyro had just turned 19 when she recorded this album in 1966. This debut is such a mature piece of work, glistening with alluring pop melodies and fashionable '60s arrangements, yet so fresh and gorgeous it sounds as beautiful, sophisticated and modern as it did nearly 45 years ago. The bare-bones simplicity of her singing is disciplined, careful, and exquisite and on track after track she delivers a performance equal with any of the top female pop singers of the day - her singing is riveting and unforgettable.
Laura Nyro was a genius songwriter and musician, and the album features the majority of her most famous and revered compositions and her own interpretation of several pieces that would be hits for other artists - Blood Sweat and Tears - "And When I Die" (US #2), The 5th Dimension - "Wedding Bell Blues" (US #1) and "Blowin' Away" (US #21), and Barbra Streisand - "Stoney End" (US #6).
On this album, Nyro shows off her awesome talent, a potent and diverse mix of folk rock, jazzy cabaret stylings, blues, r & b, gospel and pure, delicious girl-group pop, to which she adds a lyrical intelligence not to be found elsewhere - Nyro knows each of theses genres as if she'd been performing in them for decades. It's just breathtaking how it all effortlessly tumbles forth.
She began so young and was lost to the world before her time. She is one of the most overlooked and greatest of the female "confessional, "poetic" and hit making songwriter/singers of that generation. She belongs up there among the best, with Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Judy Collins, Janis Ian, Roberta Flack and Rickie Lee Jones.
NOTE: The album was released as "More Than A New Discovery" at the beginning of 1967and reissued, with a revised track order in 1973 as The First Songs. In 1999, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.