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Christmas & Beads of Sweat

Laura NyroAudio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Price: $7.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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MP3 Music, 9 Songs, 1990 $8.91  
Audio CD, 2008 $7.00  
Vinyl, 1970 --  

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Christmas & Beads of Sweat + New York Tendaberry + Eli & The Thirteenth Confession
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 1, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
  • ASIN: B0012GMZPE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,229 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Brown Earth
2. When I Was a Freeport and You Were the Main Drag
3. Blackpatch
4. Been on a Train
5. Up on the Roof
6. Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp
7. Map to the Treasure
8. Beads of Sweat
9. Christmas in My Soul

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Underappreciated Recording; Nyro Near Her Peak February 7, 2003
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
CHRISTMAS AND THE BEADS OF SWEAT was a critical disaster when it was released in 1970, and even as late as the 1990s ROLLING STONE critics described it as Laura Nyro's single worst recording. But the reassesment of her work that followed in the wake of Nyro's death has now placed the album as the equal of Nyro's earlier ELI & THE 13TH CONFESSION and NEW YORK TENDABERRY--something that Nyro fans could have told the critics all along.

In some ways the difficulties in evaluating this recording are understandable. Nyro's ELI and TENDABERRY recordings have a uniquely timeless quality, and it would be difficult for a first-time listener to fix them at any particular year or even decade; SWEAT, however, is very distinctly rooted in the emerging music of the 1970s. But more to the point, the album sounds commercial while it is actually one of the least commercial recordings Nyro ever created: throughout SWEAT, Nyro repeatedly uses pop-music idioms, but she never actually allows them to evolve into anything that could be remotely described as pop music per se, and in the process she repeatedly leaves the listener hanging, waiting for musical phrases that she never creates. The result is a very strange tension between what one expects to hear and what one actually gets.

Of the nine selections on this recording, the two that inevitably take the most heat from critics are "Map to the Treasure" and the title cut "Christmas In My Soul;" oddly, however, they both bear a striking similarity to the most celebrated cuts from the recording: "Brown Earth," "Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp," and "Beads of Sweat.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A startling mood piece by an artist at her peak. September 8, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is the last album of original material that Laura Nyro released during her most prolific and inventive years (1966-1971), and remains a landmark album, a seamless blend of jazz, pop, soul, gospel, rock and folk. "Christmas" is a must for any fan of Nyro's music, and a good place to start for the adventurous few who want to explore uncharted territory. The songs range from the up-tempo funk of "Brownearth" and "Blackpatch" to the experimental 8-minute odyssey "Map to the Treasure." With gorgeous harmonies and exceptional piano-playing, Nyro conjures a haunting, fragile mood, as in the wistful love story, "Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp." While the album contains many outstanding tracks, like the rocking, intense "Beads of Sweat" and the truly lovely cover of Motown classic "Up On the Roof," what is most impressive about "Christmas and the Beads of Sweat" is the way the songs build on one another, creating a satisfying and remarkably coherent musical statement. Vocals are layered on top of each other, spotlighting Nyro's three-octave range, chord progressions are stretched to the breaking point, bells jingle and harps swirl, while the bass pumps funkily, commingling in compositions which contain, but never seem satisfied with, catchy hooks and the prettiest of melodies. Produced by Nyro and Arif Mardin, with a host of guest musicians including the great Alice Coltrane on harp, this album stands as a testament to the legacy of a brilliant and deeply talented musician at her creative peak.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her suite of songs May 5, 2003
By tompan
Format:Audio CD
The crowning apex of her 3 previous albums. This is a contiuation of New York Tendaberry. Nyro continues writing and singing about "the city", and the intensity is almost more evident. On the original LP or the last four songs on the CD was her Four Seasons Suite: Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp is Spring, "they softly talk in the cool spring night". Map To The Treasure is Summer, "beneath indian summer". Beads Of Sweat is Autumn, "cold jade wind not an angel in the sky". Christmas In My Soul is Winter with its holiday theme and call for peace on earth in a bleak world. It is all there in the words, the music and the atmosphere of each song. Christmas In My Soul is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago, just the characters have changed a bit. Been On a Train was also choreographed as a part of the ballet "Cry" by Alvin Ailey! What better recognition of Laura's power with words and music.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift you need to be ready to receive January 28, 2004
Format:Audio CD
In the two- or three-dozen reviews I've read, of Laura's work over the span of her career, a couple of themes keep reappearing -- her perpetual inability to enjoy the success with her music that other artists, covering her tunes, did; her inaccessibility to the mainstream listener and, worse, her apparent refusal to cater to those very listeners.
People, people, people... let's, for once, get it right. Laura Nyro, reluctant iconoclast to the end, could only respond effectively to the dictates of her muse. The rest of us were free to come to our own conclusions - in either direction.
If you look at the range of high-end musicians of her period who worked with her, you begin to understand just how unique and richly gifted she truly was. If you want to pick at her, you can say 'her voice was occasionally harsh and strident', or that 'her lyrics read like a diary authored on mescaline and absinthe'. Say what you like, you can't deny that:
1) Laura brought more honest and passion to her work than any but a very small group of her peers.
2) Her musical vocabulary was light years ahead of all but a very small group of her peers, and
3) Her integrity in consciously moving away from 'the biz' leaves no question as to her ultimate motivation - to produce the best, most meaningful music that she could.
4) Enough popular artists enjoyed success with her work to place her well up the list of "songwriters whose work enjoys mass acceptance".
For my part, I cringe every time I hear a L.N. cover by Three Dog Night or Fifth Dimension. It's the audio equivalent of pouring ketsup on Filet Mignon.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly Nyro's best album. No one can match the sweet clear ...
Undoubtedly Nyro's best album. No one can match the sweet clear notes of her melodies. Hear a master of music gone way too soon.
Published 2 months ago by Maye Vanarsdel
5.0 out of 5 stars i listened to her all through college days in early seventies,could...
she was agreat forrunner of singer songwriters to follow.i have this on vynal from 1969.makes me feel young again.every one should have her in their collection.
Published 6 months ago by robert poole
5.0 out of 5 stars LAURA NYRO AT HER BEST!
I owned this album more than 30 years ago and lost it in one of my moves. I was lucky to find that it had been re-released in CD form, and I purchased it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Joanne Mosley
5.0 out of 5 stars More Skydog
I recently purchased the Duane "Skydog" Allman collection and first heard Nyro on Beads of Sweat. I somehow missed her body of work. Read more
Published 7 months ago by LR
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful songs
I was 20 when I got this in vinyl. I love it more than ever. Politically as relevant as it was in 1970 when it came in December. Powerful songs and production
Published 9 months ago by violetlite
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet beauty
A lot of people overlook this one in regards to her catalog, but I love it. "Upstairs By a Chinese Lamp" is my favorite on the record.
Published 11 months ago by Rob Carpenter
5.0 out of 5 stars X-mas and the Beads of sweat.
One of her most beautiful collections...certainly one of her best. Lovely melodies juxtaposed with vivid imagery and her trademark rhythm shifts... Read more
Published 11 months ago by kelea
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
A recording that has stood the test of time. It sounds just as good as the first time I heard it. A must have for any music lover's collection.
Published 12 months ago by J. Gradolph
5.0 out of 5 stars Esoteric ..... Haunting ..... Moving
"Christmas & The Beads of Sweat" is yet another masterpiece by Laura Nyro that I've been listening to for the last 40+ years. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Stephen C. Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Laura
when I first heard this album more than 40 years ago I did not like it. But with age comes greater wisdom. Read more
Published 12 months ago by alan
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