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Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro
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Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  103 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro is a biography of the pioneering singer-songwriter whose recordings and high-drama performances were both beloved and inspiring in the 1960s and '70s. With her groundbreaking honest and passionate lyrics, her unusual and innovative rhythms and melody, Nyro's influence is still felt by singers and songwriters today.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 3rd 2002 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published April 3rd 2002)
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Dec 01, 2012 Glen rated it liked it
This is a loving tribute to the life and work of Laura Nyro, one of the relatively unheralded geniuses of pop music. The problem with a book-length story about Nyro thought is that her life was, well, not all that interesting after the early 70's. She shunned stardom, or rather the steps deemed necessary by the recording business to achieve it, and so her fame continued to dim after her halcyon days of 1966-1972, roughly, until her death from ovarian cancer at age 49 in 1997. She lived, she love ...more
Nov 02, 2011 Melee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-bio, crushes
Although Laura Nyro has been on my radar for over two years, I only recently downloaded one of her albums.
That album was New York Tendaberry and, let's put it this way: if I had it on vinyl, it would never leave my turntable

My almost 13-year-old brother who hangs around me a lot, detests her; he identifies her as "the woman who wails." And, while it's a bit of an exaggeration, he's right - she's a wailer! But that's what I love about her: how she sings her heart out. I have a great admiration fo
Rabdrake Bruno
Jan 19, 2009 Rabdrake Bruno rated it it was amazing
Make no mistake this comment is both a rave and a query.
Michele Kort's book is more than a loving tribute, it is an excellent biography. But, I am unsure about Ms Kort's claim that Laura came to her bi-sexuality in her mid 30's?
There is overwhelming evidence, albeit circumstantial, that from 1967 on, Laura was involved with at least one woman, her eventual life partner, Maria Desiderio.
Kort in SOUL PICNIC corroborates that "back in the day" Laura was doing drugs (pot & LSD), was sexually act
Roni Arnold
Nov 04, 2015 Roni Arnold rated it it was amazing
Reading this book finally gave me that special "secret key" into a world no one was privy to until now. Laura Nyro's mysterious persona was always very compelling. She was someone you never could get too much of, because there never was much we were allowed to know. So, those of us who fell in love with her amazing music always were forced to read into the lyrics, to wonder, to get lost in a trance while listening as we saw visions of New York streets and imagined the people and scenes in her so ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book. Am amazing story with the perfect amount of detail. Not only do you get to know Laura and her life story, but you get a rundown of how her life impacted every album and every song down to the last studio musician who played on them. It also brings you right into the business and the people who started the singer/songwriter genre and how they were inspired by LR.

Excellent read.
May 09, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: singer-songwriters and their fans
This novel documents the life of one of the first great female singer-songwriters, Laura Nyro. Her music was unprecedented and often criticized by the music critics. However, up until her untimely death, Nyro remained true to herself and her fans when it came to her music. Nyro has inspired many, including Joni Mitchell, and continues to inspire many musicians today with her timeless sound.
Mar 11, 2010 Ken rated it liked it
A rather workmanlike biography of the great singer/songwriter, but to date the only one we have. I would recommend it to fans of Laura.
blue-collar mind
Jan 08, 2008 blue-collar mind rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pre-1985 hippies,those who think the lyric "Surrey on down to a stoned soul picnic" is charming.
Shelves: public-policy
I never really got Laura Nyro, even though I knew some of her hits like 5th Dimension's "Wedding Bell Blues", Blood, Sweat and Tears (I think)'s "Eli's Coming" and of course, Barbra Streisand's "Stoney End". Still, I was not a real fan and by my political 20's had even started to confuse her with singer Holly Near- who I cannot abide.
So, when I saw this book in a used bookstore, I picked it up for my post-surgical vacation (gallbladder safely removed, thank you for your concern), because I thou
Jun 20, 2016 Silvio111 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a few years ago, but I just re-read it and like it even more.

Laura Nyro's music had a formative influence on me since the mid-60s when she released her first album, and I consider her and Joni Mitchell to be equally responsible for my tastes in music and songwriting.

This book is tirelessly researched with many, many interviews with musicians and other music professionals (as well as friends and loved ones; many of these categories intersect) that give a good picture of her creat
Jan 17, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it
What this mysterious woman was able to do with just a handful of very nicely voiced chords amazes me. I believe her lack of knowledge in terms of music theory worked greatly to her advantage; she wasn't aware of any rules and therefore wasn't restricted by any. She did it differently.

I enjoyed the book very much, but I have to be honest, I find some folks preoccupation with the details of her bisexuality a bit annoying and shallow. I mean, of what importance is it really? But that's just me.
Gayle Zawilla
Feb 07, 2014 Gayle Zawilla rated it really liked it
A thorough, if somewhat starry-eyed, account of the life of Laura Nyro. I often wondered what was behind the image of the soul/R&B-tinged, gypsyish woman with the incredible octave range. Fans will learn some little known facts, both musical and personal, about the reclusive performer whose life was cut short too soon. A readable, well-written biography.
Aug 26, 2012 ron added it
Every fan of this wonderfully talented woman should make this a must read book. This is such an insightful look into a beautiful soul who sadly, left us much too soon. It resonates, much like her incredible wealth of music she left us with.
Sep 13, 2012 konami rated it it was amazing
she IS my favorite singer and the book gave a great backdrop to her life.
Aug 15, 2013 Jill rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book about the life and music of the fabulous Laura Nyro. Largely forgotten today, she left behind an amazing legacy through her music.
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