The late, great Laura Nyro gives a rare and riveting performance of her own ‘Save The Country’ at the Kraft Music Hall in 1968..
..I’m mesmerised by this clip. She was always considered an ‘uncomfortable’ live performer, and I love the way she seems to be auditioning characters, trying out and discarding various personae as she goes along.
Starts off like some school-marmy Joan Baez type but doesn’t get to the end of the first verse before she’s showing symptoms of psychosis. Tries to get back to sweet, thank-you-for-coming, singer songwriter, but the devil gets her again – the roll of the eyes and the look of pure poison she gives the audience halfway through is just fabulous. ‘I got fury in my soul’…you said it, girl..
Second half, she’s under control again – love will save the day – but you can tell she’s laughing at her own telling of the story, either amused at herself, or despairing, or both.
As the applause starts, good Laura makes a valiant attempt at propriety, giving the audience a suitably modest smile of acknowledgement, but bad Laura is on her like a shot as she turns away with one final, fleeting sneer. Oh, I wish she were still with us..