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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Pop Perfection, 14 Oct 2002
By 
Lindsay Keates (Reading, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gonna Take A Miracle (Audio CD)
In 1971 influential singer-songwriter Laura Nyro teamed up with fellow songstresses ‘Labelle’ to record an album of favourite soul and R&B classics. ‘Gonna Take A Miracle’ is a departure from Laura’s usual self-written work but a must for any Nyro fans (or indeed fans of Labelle or Motown).
The energy, vibrancy and pure sense of fun that was had during the making of ‘Gonna Take A Miracle’ are consistent throughout the album. Nyro’s vocals are perfectly complimented by Labelle’s and each song is brought lovingly to life by the artist’s sheer love of the music. Each song is given a brand new edge and will make you sing till your throat is raw.
The album opens with ‘I Met Him On Sunday’ whose intro lulls you into a false sense of relaxation before bursting to life with the ear-blistering harmonies that will set your headphones alight. This pattern is repeated throughout the album, which takes us on an aural road trip from the soft and dreamy renditions of ‘The Bells’, ‘The Wind’ and ‘Desiree’ right through to the hand-clapping, toe-tapping infectiousness of such anthems as ‘Dancing In The Street’, ‘Jimmy Mack’ and ‘Nowhere To Run’.
It’s difficult to chose a favourite song on this album but my own personal highlights include ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me’, ‘Nowhere To Run’ and ‘It’s Gonna Take A Miracle’.
This collection of much-loved Motown classics is a timeless musical masterpiece in it’s own right. Not one song is out of place and the result is a beautifully crafted and complete tribute to the music that has inspired generations of artists.
This album still remains a firm favourite of mine many years after I was first introduced to it. If you want an album that you can sing your heart out to then ‘Gonna Take A Miracle’ is the one for you.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Small Jewel of a Recording, 11 Oct 2003
By 
Gary F. Taylor "GFT" (Biloxi, MS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gonna Take A Miracle (Audio CD)
Laura Nyro originally made her name as the author of a host of tightly-written pop songs that hit big when covered by other artists--but by 1970 she had acquired a reputation as one of the most flatly uncompromising recording artists of her era, a woman who wrote, performed, and recorded without any significant concern for prevailing tastes. Then, just as she seemed to have reached this point of self-definition, she suddenly shifted gears and went into the studio with soul-singing trio LaBelle for an homage to the pop songs of the 1950s and 1960s that had originally inspired her.
The result was GONNA TAKE A MIRACLE, an album that is generally regarded as Nyro's most widely accessible work. Opening with a near-acapella rendition of "I Met Him On A Sunday" that divides the song neatly between all four singers, Nyro then launches out on a host of other old favorites with her own voice shining like a diamond against the sultry stylings of LaBelle, giving each tune a noticeably different twist from its original incarnation.
Both "The Bells" and "Desiree" suddenly seem as if they had been written with Nyro alone in mind, beginning gently but building a series of dynamic shifts; "Spanish Harlem" is a beautifully rendered selection; and the more vibrant numbers like "Dancing In The Streets" and "Nowhere To Run" crackle with energy. This one of those rare releases of which you can truly say every single cut is first rate all the way.
The most powerful thing about the recording is, I think, its spontaneity. According to the liner notes by Amy Linden, the singers were having such a good time together that they didn't actually bother to record anything until the last day--and then they popped out one number after another with little preparation. In any other hands the results would probably have been extremely uneven, but with Nyro and LaBelle it has an enchanting immediacy. They just stepped up the mikes and did it, and their joy in both the music and each other rings through every single cut.
GONNA TAKE A MIRACLE is not Nyro's most personal statement, nor does it really offer her at the highwater mark of her artistry--but it is a beautiful little jewel that her fans will adore and which newcomers will likely find much easier to grasp than her more complex work. A truly vibrant, memorable, and just down right fun album. The remaster also offers Nyro performing live, doing brief intros of "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "O-o-h Child" to full length versions of "Natural Woman" and "Up On The Roof"--bonus tracks that truly deserve the title "bonus." Recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance, 2 Dec 2004
This review is from: Gonna Take A Miracle (Audio CD)
I simply adore this album. There is no filler, no duff tracks and nothing but pure joy oozing out from it. I would unhesitatingly recommend this to anyone who loves great female vocalists. Laura and Labelle are so clearly enjoying themselves that happiness flows out of the speakers as you listen.
Forget all those compilations aimed at the women's market with titles like 'The best girls night album ever' because none of them are but this really is.
Gonna take a miracle is simply one of the best albums ever recorded by anyone.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite!, 26 Oct 2003
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gonna Take A Miracle (Audio CD)
This is the most wonderful music, from the handclaps introducing I Met Him On A Sunday to the closing title track. There are exquisite vocal harmonies throughout and plenty of stylistic variety: The Bells is a soaring soul song where the voices blend perfectly, whilst the medley Monkey Time/Dancing In The Street out-motowns Motown (you can just see a huge happy street party in progress). Désiree is a gentle, wistful ballad and You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me is vintage R&B. The classic Spanish Harlem gets a sensitive, soulful interpretation, whilst another classic, Jimmy Mack, is a catchy, swinging up-tempo track. Wind is another gentle poetic ballad with a beautiful vocal arrangement and evocative lyrics and Nowhere To Run is a powerful rhythmic excursion . Gonna Take A Miracle has a very unique overall sound, strong material and a superb sense of style. If you like classy music, from doowop through soul to the singer/songwriter genre, you'll enjoy this masterpiece.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miracle, 29 May 2006
This review is from: Gonna Take A Miracle (Audio CD)
Music gives resonance to memory. "Gonna Take a Miracle" is Laura Nyro giving voice to her childhood, singing with Labelle as freely and unselfconsciously as she had sung with harmony groups on the street corners and subway steps of New York as a girl. Each song covered on the album is transmuted, transfigured by the spirit of Laura's joy so that she owns it completely.

Laura seems to call the songs with the spontaneity of a jam session, adding to the semi-mythical aura of the one-take masterpiece. Laura always claimed to be a fan and student of Miles Davis - she must have been familiar with the legendary sequence of albums he recorded with his first classic quintet in the mid-`50s. Miles recorded five albums' worth of material in three days of recording, treating the studio almost as a club date at which his new band were to burn through the standards-book setting down classic readings take by take.

Laura's connections with Labelle's harmonies, Gamble & Huff's arrangements and MFSB's musicianship had a similar effect, if on a slightly less apocalyptic scale. The difference here, and what gives GTAM its unique power, is the mood of nostalgia - the love and longing for a place and time that cannot be replicated - which imbues the album. Laura approaches these Motown, doo-wop and girl group songs as opportunities for reverence and reconstruction. "Don't forget the Motor City!" she urges the listener in the work-out of `Dancing in the Street', as if Berry Gordy's legacy ever could be forgotten, as if she herself weren't participating in the shift in soul's power base from Detroit to Philadelphia, as if her life depended on it.

Love is the key throughout - love for the writers of these songs and the idea of being a songwriter, love for the songs themselves, and for the singing of them and for what they represent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite music, 6 Feb 2005
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gonna Take a Miracle (Audio CD)
This is the most wonderful music, from the handclaps introducing I Met Him On A Sunday to the closing title track. There are exquisite vocal harmonies throughout and plenty of stylistic variety: The Bells is a soaring soul song where the voices blend perfectly, whilst the medley Monkey Time/Dancing In The Street out-motowns Motown (you can just see a huge happy street party in progress). Désiree is a gentle, wistful ballad and You've Really Got A Hold On Me is vintage R&B. The classic Spanish Harlem gets a sensitive, soulful interpretation, whilst another classic, Jimmy Mack, is a catchy, swinging up-tempo track. Wind is another gentle poetic ballad with a beautiful vocal arrangement and evocative lyrics and Nowhere To Run is a powerful rhythmic excursion . Gonna Take A Miracle has a very unique overall sound, strong material and a superb sense of style. This CD re-issue contains four additional tracks, including her masterpiece Up On The Roof, making it even more intriguing. If you like classy music, from doowop through soul to the singer/songwriter genre, you'll enjoy this masterpiece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miracles Might Be Made Of This, 25 April 2010
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gonna Take A Miracle (Audio CD)
If you bought it first time around then you'll already have it.
If you didn't then, trust me, you need this in your life.
Either way buy it anyway for the four bonus live tracks!

Laura Nyro was one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever to
draw breath in the listening world. Perfect and forever peerless.

This 1971 collaboration with vocal trio LaBelle ( aka Patti LaBelle,
Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash ) is utterly magical.

Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's affectionate production captures a great
moment in musical history. Ms Nyro, for all her many wonderful recordings,
rarely felt more at home, relaxed and elementally focussed than here.

These four great voices come together in a joyous celebration of sweet sixties soul.
Performances to make your heart beat faster and the hair to stand up on your skin.

Can there really be a finer cure for melancholy than to hear their peerless
renditions of Marvin Gaye's 'The Bells' and 'Dancing In The Street?!

The good times don't stop there however.

If the raw emotional truth of 'Desiree' doesn't bring tears to your eyes then
it is unlikely that you will ever have understood the meaning of true love.

Smokey Robinson's 'You've Really Got A Hold On Me' comes alive, as though for
the first time, in this skillful and playfully perfect four-part vocal arrangement.

Likewise, the treatment of Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector's magical 'Spanish Harlem',
punctuated with warm brass intrusions and subtle percussion is a modest masterpiece.

Martha and The Vandellas' 1967 classic 'Jimmy Mac' (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier
and Eddie Holland) is also given a scintillatingly full-bodied re-appraisal.

'The Wind' might make even the staunchest aetheist believe in angels!

Of the live additions, 'Ooh Child', in just a minute-and-a-half, condenses
everything that was incomparable, impeccable and sublime about Ms Nyro's art.
The shift into the glorious rendition of 'Up On The Roof' is alone worth the price of the album.

'Gonna Take A Miracle' is a little piece of heaven on earth.

Essential.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Standards, 2 Oct 2008
This review is from: Gonna Take A Miracle (Audio CD)
This was the first time that the songs of the Shirelles and the Miracles etc. were acknowledged as great 'standards', rather than just covered by singers seeking success with other people's material. It is the first and still probably the greatest musical celebration of the genius of early Sixties American black pop music. The collaboration between Nyro and Patti Labelle is unparalleled, and anticipates a host of later, less successful partnerships. The Gamble & Huff production and musicianship throughout is immaculate. It is one of the great timeless classics of pop music, and the summit of a particular phase of pop history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of exquisite music, 30 April 2006
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This is the most wonderful music, from the handclaps introducing I Met Him On A Sunday to the title track. There are exquisite vocal harmonies throughout and plenty of stylistic variety: The Bells is a soaring soul song where the voices blend perfectly, whilst the medley Monkey Time/Dancing In The Street out-motowns Motown (you can just see a huge happy street party in progress).

Désiree is a gentle, wistful ballad and You've Really Got A Hold On Me is vintage R&B. The classic Spanish Harlem gets a sensitive, soulful interpretation, whilst another classic, Jimmy Mack, is a catchy, swinging up-tempo track. Wind is another gentle poetic ballad with a beautiful vocal arrangement and evocative lyrics and Nowhere To Run is a powerful rhythmic excursion.

Gonna Take A Miracle has a very unique overall sound, strong material and a superb sense of style. This CD re-issue contains four additional tracks, including her masterpiece Up On The Roof, making it even more intriguing. If you like classy music, from doowop through soul to the singer/songwriter genre, you'll enjoy this masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative recording, 28 Oct 2011
This review is from: Gonna Take A Miracle (Audio CD)
Laura Nyro was a fan of 60s pop and girl groups, and this record represents a remarkable, affectionate tribute to those days. Complete with a stellar cast (Gamble and Huff producing, Labelle in support) the CD is a complete joy. The sound is like that of a group of friends having fun, yet producing great music too. The addition of 4 live cuts from Laura at the end on other soul classics (Natural Woman, Ooh Child etc) simply adds to the beauty of the CD - and finishes it with an under-rated singer-wongwriter doing what she did best, alone at the piano. A wonderful recording and deserving a place in anyone's collection.
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