This is an album with covers of songs written by Laura Nyro, featuring Dana Bryant, Suzanne Vega, Roseanne Cash, Phoebe Snow, Lisa Germano and others.

  1/  Time and Love - Phoebe Snow                (Nyro)                        4.34
  2/  Stoned Soul Picnic - Jill Sobule           (Nyro)                        4.07
  3/  Buy and Sell - Suzanne Vega                (Nyro)                        3.17
  4/  Save the Country - Rosanne Cash            (Nyro)                        3.14
  5/  When I Think of Laura Nyro - Jane Siberry  (Siberry)                     4.28
  6/  Stoney End - Beth Nielsen Chapman          (Nyro)                        3.53
  7/  Eli's Comin' - Lisa Germano                (Nyro)                        4.27
  8/  Wedding Bell Blues - The Roches            (Nyro)                        3.21
  9/  And When I Die - Sweet Honey In the Rock   (Nyro)                        2.54
  10/ Poverty Train - Patty Larkin               (Nyro)                        4.25
  11/ He's a Runner - Jonatha Brooke             (Nyro)                        3.55
  12/ Sweet Blindness - Holly Cole               (Nyro)                        5.22
  13/ Upstairs By a Chinese Lamp - Leni Stern    (Nyro)                        4.51
  14/ Woman's Blues - Dana Bryant                (Nyro)                        6.10

          Track 14 recorded at Greenpoint Studios, Brooklyn, New York
          Track 14 engineered by Robert Musso
          Track 14 produced and arranged by Bill Laswell
          Album Producer: Peter Gallway
          Executive Producer: Steve Plotnicki
          Mastered by Greg Calbi at Masterdisk
(14) Dana Bryant: vocals; DJ Roc Raida (X-Men): scratching; Karl Berger: vibes, keyboards; Robert Musso: programming.

          1997 - Astor Place Recordings (USA), TCD 4007 (CD)
Note: Bill Laswell does not play on this recording.


Don't be fooled by the timing: Time and Love is no cheapy tribute album cobbled together on the quick after Laura Nyro's death in April from ovarian cancer. The album had been in production for over a year when Nyro passed--and not a one of the artists involved in the project even knew that their inspiration was ill, much less terminally so. What a difference that ignorance made in the final product: there's no stale sense of scripted eulogy here, but rather an overwhelming spirit of vitality and passion and life. It does Nyro justice for just that reason.

The fourteen songs collected and reinterpreted on Time and Love were all written between 1966 and 1971, when everybody but Nyro seemed to be scoring commercially with her material: "Eli's Comin'" (a hit for Three Dog Night) is here, along with "And When I Die" (Blood, Sweat and Tears), "Wedding Bell Blues", "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Sweet Blindness" (the latter three all taken to the charts by the Fifth Dimension).

Of course, all of those groups were very much passing fancies, while the songs Nyro penned for them are proven on this disk to be timeless constants. And most of the new reinterpretations, in turn, do the material justice: the Roches, as an example, wholly capture the giddy, goofy, Nyro-esque euphoria largely missing in the Fifth Dimension's version of "Wedding Bell Blues", while Lisa Germano broods succulently through "Eli's Comin'" and the greatly weird Jill Sobule proves herself up to singing those greatly weird opening lines to "Stone Soul Picnic". Surry down, indeed.

Time and Love also offers several of Nyro's lesser known numbers (to the masses, that is, not to Nyro's fans); Rosanne Cash's lovely trip through "Save the Country" may well be the album's high point, while Leni Stern's bluesey take on "Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp" highlights the strength of Nyro's melody by removing the song's lyrics.

There's only one thing that keeps Time and Love from being a solid winner beginning to end, and that one thing comes from a surprising source: the normally insightful Jane Siberry drops the bomb here with "When I Think of Laura Nyro", a lazy sounding, "Hooked on Pops"-like collage of Nyro's biggest hits. What was Siberry thinking?!? Was she trying to demonstrate shallowness by reducing Nyro's material into sound- bites? God only knows . . . unless, of course, new angel Laura has forced an explanation out of Him.

J. Eric Smith (courtesy of the J. Eric Smith website)