Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Laura Nyro: Gonna Take a Miracle [Columbia, 1971]
In which the Bronx tearjerker reveals the source of her gloppy sensibility--good old girl-group rock and roll. Which is fine, except that glop tastes best prepared according to the traditional recipes, rather than disguised as untrammeled lyricism the way it is here. Might be different if Nyro were Aretha Franklin, as is painfully obvious every time she shows off the high part of her famous range. Still, backup singers Labelle don't screech once, Gamble & Huff control the rhythm section if not the artiste, and two of the ten remakes are ear-openers: "I Met Him on a Sunday," which begins acappella, and "Monkey Time/Dancing in the Street," which rocks. B-