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MaryJo Mundy | The Fourteenth Confession: Songs of Laura Nyro

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Rock: 70's Rock Blues: Blues-Rock Moods: Solo Female Artist
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The Fourteenth Confession: Songs of Laura Nyro

by MaryJo Mundy

The second Live CD from MaryJo Mundy this one is of the music of legendary Laura Nyro.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Eli's Comin' (Live)
4:19 $0.99
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2. Wedding Bell Blues (Live)
3:13 $0.99
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3. The Confession / Hi-Heel Sneakers (Live)
6:02 $0.99
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4. I Never Meant to Hurt You (Live)
5:35 $0.99
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5. Money (Live)
3:59 $0.99
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6. I Met Him on a Sunday / It's Gonna Take a Miracle (Live)
4:49 $0.99
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7. Sweet Blindness (Live)
3:21 $0.99
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8. You Don't Love Me When I Cry (Live)
3:56 $0.99
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9. Sexy Mama (Live)
2:46 $0.99
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10. Stoned Soul Picnic / And When I Die (Live)
8:36 $0.99
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11. Serious Playground (Live)
5:43 $0.99
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12. The Cat Song (Live) [Bonus Track]
2:33 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
About the project: In every facet of the arts there are those performers who become so renowned within their particular nexus that they become a peer among their peers. In the field of acting, mention Kim Stanley to Jessica Lange or John Cazale to Meryl Streep and watch them light up. Want to know about jazz singer Barbara Carroll? Ask Tony Bennett. Learn more about the music of Jeff Buckley? Try Brad Pitt. Hear about the crystalline soprano that Barbara Cook possessed well into her 80’s? See what Stephen Sondheim has to say on the subject.

Sondheim has also gone on record about his enthusiasm for Laura Nyro, as have Joni Mitchell, Melissa Manchester, Todd Rundgren, Rickie Lee Jones, Desmond Child, Suzanne Vega, and many other renowned songwriters. That’s because Nyro, who ruled the airwaves in the late 1960s as pop music’s preeminent songwriter, blew through every boundary in creating her art and still saw her songs storm the charts. Nyro truly was the singer-songwriter; the artist who wrote songs that fused pop, soul, jazz, gospel, funk, and Broadway in a way that no one had ever done before. And she performed them in a manner that is still the stuff of legend – alone at her grand piano, wailing in her soulon-fire voice, holding sold out audiences in the palm of her hand at venues like Carnegie Hall. (Ask Patti LaBelle about that time Laura did three encores before bringing Labelle to the stage!)

Back in the day, everyone – from Streisand to Sinatra, The Fifth Dimension to Blood Sweat & Tears, Three Dog Night to Peter, Paul & Mary – loved covering Laura Nyro’s catchy ear-candy songs. She was a hit-maker who wrote chart toppers like nobody’s business. But even her biggest hit tunes are deceptively, emotionally complex while her more adventurous songs are masterpieces of sophistication. Nyro’s devoted following – which she lovingly dubbed her “tribe” – and her fellow artists embraced both aspects of her writing gifts.

Nyro’s influence has only grown since her untimely death of ovarian cancer in 1997. A bestselling biography, a forthcoming documentary, a slew of posthumous awards including her 2012 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (presented by a teary-eyed Bette Midler, one of Nyro’s greatest fans), and multiple tribute recordings attest to Nyro’s ever-growing reputation.

That brings us to MaryJo Mundy’s The Fourteenth Confession (the title is an homage to Nyro’s album, Eli & the Thirteenth Confession). Long a favorite in the world of cabaret and jazz, Mundy’s passion for Nyro’s work led to a of intimate concerts that has culminated with this live recording. What MaryJo, working with musical director/pianist Ross Kalling and a tightly knit group of backing musicians and singers, has created with this recording is both a warm, inspiring tribute to Laura Nyro and a sensational showcase for her own vocal prowess.

Unlike other Nyro cover recordings, The Fourteenth Confession visits every aspect of Nyro’s musical career from her early wunderkind smashes to the mature, laidback songs of her later years and even takes on Nyro’s renowned adoration of soul music with the rousing medley “I Met Him on a Sunday/ It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” and the playfully teasing “Sexy Mama.” It’s all here – from a lovely rendition of Nyro’s lyrically insightful first song (written when she was 16!), “And When I Die,” to one of the last songs she wrote and recorded, “Serious Playground,” a gorgeous treatise on the creative process.

In-between, there are, of course, an assortment of Nyro’s million sellers – the propulsive drive of “Eli’s Comin’,” the raucous, saucy “Sweet Blindness,” the pop funk of “Stoned Soul Picnic” (which pairs beautifully with the aforementioned “And When I Die,”), the plaintive yet bouncy sweet pop of “Wedding Bell Blues,” and the bittersweet, heartfelt plea for forgiveness in, “I Never Meant to Hurt You.”

Hearing MaryJo put her stamp on these Nyro classics is thrilling and it’s just as exciting for me (longtime Nyrotic that I am) when she ventures deeper into Nyro’s catalogue, finding gold in the driving “Money,” (a song about Nyro’s abhorrence of the business of music trumping its art), the sultry “The Confession” (paired with a welcome cover of “Hi-Heel Sneakers”), more playfulness in “The Cat Song,” and down in the depths with the emotionally searing, “You Don’t Love Me When I Cry.”

Though Laura herself never had a hit single she truly enjoyed hearing others record their own versions of her songs. “Like 95% of them, I like,” she told me in an interview I did with her in 1994 for the Chicago Tribune, adding, “People say thank you for writing that song just by recording it, you know?” So, thank you MaryJo Mundy – for focusing your wonderful vocal talent on the songwriter’s writer – and helping to keep the flame lit for Laura Nyro.

Richard Knight, Jr. Arts Journalist/Musician/Filmmaker

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