Listen to this track from singer-songwriter, pianist, and mistress of orchestral pop with gospel overtones Laura Nyro. It’s “Eli’s Coming”, a key track on her 1968 Eli and the Thirteenth Confession album, her second album, and many say her best. Never has a love song sounded so ominous, while also being so lushly constructed and arranged.
Laura Nyro’s ability to put across music that was a successful fusion of tin pan alley, confessional singer-songwriter fare, gospel music, and showtune panache is unparalleled. This was a fusion that came through various exposures to all of these strains of music and more, while having graduated from High School of Music and Art in Manhatten, and playing clubs while still a teen.
She was a singular figure in music at the time of this release, anticpating the confessional style, but still being a sophisticated enough songwriter and arranger to be able to construct little movies that had a life of their own apart from their creator. This is just as well, since many of her well-known songs are well known because they were performed by others including Blood Sweat and Tears (“And When I Die”), Three Dog Night (who covered this song), Barbra Striesand (“Stoney End”), and the Fifth Dimension (“Sweet Blindness”), just to name a few.