Christmas and the Beads of Sweat

Christmas and the Beads of Sweat

by Laura Nyro
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Christmas and the Beads of Sweat

Laura Nyro's third Columbia effort is easily the equal of her previous two. The overwhelming strength of her song writing and distinctive arrangements fuel Christmas and the Beads of Sweat. Her unmistakable style of delivery maintains the continual examination of herself as a performer. The results are uniformly interesting and provocative as she continues to draw upon her love of jazz, folk, and R&B -- which would inform Nyro's next album ,Gonna Take a Miracle, featuring the soul vocal trio LaBelle. Conceptually, this album is as potent as her previous effort, New York Tendaberry, but in a much different way. Rather than hanging together thematically, Christmas and the Beads of Sweat features two inclusive and distinctive sides of music -- with different musicians and producers for each. The first five tracks feature Nyro backed by the Swampers from Muscle Shoals, AL, and include the talents of Roger Hawkins (drums), Eddie Hinton (guitar), Dave Hood (bass), Barry Becket (vibraphone), and Jack Jennings (percussion), with Arif Mardin producing. While this pairing might seem initially incongruous, the quintet had been concurrently working with the likes of Dusty Springfield and Cher and had gained a rightful reputation as a consummate backup band. The final four pieces are steeped in noir more atypical of her previous efforts. The all-star cast of New York City session heavyweights are led by Felix Cavaliere (producer) and features fellow Rascals member Dino Danelli (drums), Ralph McDonald (percussion), Chuck Rainey (bass), Cornell Dupree (guitar), Duane Allman (guitar), and Alice Coltrane (stringed harp), among others. As with all of Nyro's recordings, at the heart of this effort are her ageless compositions and arrangements. A motif connecting such disparate tunes as the upbeat "When I Was a Freeport and You Were the Main Drag" to the hauntingly beautiful "Christmas in My Soul" and "Beads of Sweat" is the aching hollowness that came with the disillusionment that Vietnam, Kent State, and racial relations brought upon America in 1970. As she had done with "Save the Country" some four years earlier, Nyro's cathartic expressionism is captured at its most fervent on this album.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/01/2008
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC: 0886972441528
catalogNumber: 724415
Rank: 25795

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Laura Nyro   Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Richard Davis   Bass
Chuck Rainey   Bass
Ralph MacDonald   Percussion
Duane Allman   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Barry Beckett   Background Vocals,Vibes
Felix Cavaliere   Organ,Keyboards,Bells
Alice Coltrane   Harp
Dino Danelli   Drums
Cornell Dupree   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Joe Farrell   Wind,Woodwind
Ashad Garabedian   Oud
Roger Hawkins   Drums
Eddie Hinton   Guitar,Electric Guitar
David Hood   Bass
Jack Jennings   Percussion
Arif Mardin   Conductor
Stuart Scharf   Guitar
Stuart Sharf   Acoustic Guitar
C. Deprice   Electric Guitar
Jino Fanelli   Drums
Ashed Gwabedian   Aud

Technical Credits

Laura Nyro   Arranger
Felix Cavaliere   Producer,Engineer
Tim Geelan   Engineer
Arif Mardin   Arranger,Producer
Roy Segal   Engineer
Michael Szittai   Contributor
Tim Greelan   Engineer
Michael Szifrin   Contributor

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Christmas and the Beads of Sweat 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Plume_de_nom More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite album by Laura Nyro -- every song flows into the other, and is so heart-felt -- it is soothing and uplifting, absorbing to listen to. I was glad when it came out on CD a couple of years back, because I'd wanted to give it as a gift. Last night I was casting about for something to listen to at home and realized I should order my own as well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Laura Nyro had a voice which was as powerful and beautiful as any singer in musical history. In Christmas and the Beads of Sweat, she combined her vocal artistry, poetic lyrics, and unflagging sense of beautiful melody, to produce an excellent album. While perhaps not her magnum opus, (listen to Eli and the Thirteenth Confession), this CD is still top flight. Especially good is the song, Upstairs by a Chinese Light, which shows her poetic, vocal and musical talents to the fullest degree: The steam of china tea/You could hear the woman sing/In the soft flames of spring. Ms Nyro died at the age of forty-nine, but still left us a varied and great musical legacy to enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
of all the Laura Nyro albums that I've collected over the years this is the one that resonates with me that htakes me back to the time of innocence & pure sound. Christmas and the beads of sweat is incredible