The Art and Soul of Laura Nyro

"Sidewalk and pigeon
You look like a city
But you feel like religion to me" 
From New York Tendaberry by Laura Nyro
A verse from New York Tendaberry, Laura's great love song to New York City, and also one of so many songs that highlight her extraordinary poetic sensibility.  Because Laura Nyro wasn't just a singer/songwriter; she was an artist and a poet, capable of weaving words into stirringly evocative images that could transport you into another world -- her world.  What made her the mother of virtually all of today's singer/songwriters is that, when she matured, she tossed out the old formula of verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge and approached her lyrics as if they were poetry -- which, of course, they were, and are.

Laura loved word play, giving new meaning to familiar words, as she did when she made "surrey," a noun, into the verb "surry."  She titled one of her songs, When I was a Freeport and You were the Main Drag.  And like all poets, she loved the sound of words, "buckles off shingles, off a cockle shell on norway basin," and "brown fleets of sweet eyed dreams."  Listen to her exquisite lyrics in Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp, which are as rich and colorful as any Pre-Raphaelite painting, or her joyful description of a world coming alive in Brown Earth, and you can hear how Laura's poetry powerfully transformed her music. 
New York Tendaberry, Blue berry
A rush on rum of brush and drum
And the past is a blue note
Inside me
I ran away in the morning
New York Tendaberry, Blue berry
Rugs and drapes and drugs and capes
Sweet kids in hunger slums
Fire crackers break
And they cross
And they dust
And they skate
And night comes 
I ran away in the morning
Now I’m back, unpacked 
Sidewalks and pigeon
You look like a city
But you feel like religion to me
New York Tendaberry
True Berry
I lost my eyes in east wind skies
Here where I’ve cried,
Where I’ve tried
Where God and the
Tendaberry rise
Where Quakers and revolutionaries
Join for life 
For precious years
Join for life
Through silver tears
New York Tendaberry