Thursday, October 18, 2007

One Child Born And A World To Carry On

Judy Kuhn at Joe's Pub, Monday night, singing the songs of Laura Nyro.

I love Laura Nyro's music and hadn't listened to her stuff in a long while. After the show, Hilary and I came back to Carroll Gardens and listened to song after song of the CD it took me two years and three easy seconds to find. The filing system for my CDs is eccentric at best, but it reveals itself when it really matters.

During her show, Judy told a wonderful story of how Laura got started in the music business. Apparently, some time in the late sixties Bob Dylan's music publisher--responding to Dylan's complaints that the piano in his office was out of tune--picked a piano tuner at random out of the phone book. Nyro's father was the lucky blind-pick and after he finished tuning the instrument (I mean in the nice way), he pestered the guy about his daughter's songwriting and singing talents so persistently that the agent agreed to see her, just to get rid of this guy.

She sat down at the presumably now-tuned piano the next day and played "Stoney End", a song she had written at the age of 16. If you know the song--and you should--you will know that this child possessed one of them old souls that's been drifting in and out of people since someone first looked around the cave and sighed in romantic pain at all this useless beauty.

The publisher later said that she had him at the line, "I was raised on the good book Jesus, 'til I read between the lines . . . "

I love stories like that.


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