Ooh Baby Baby - Laura Nyro
When Polar Promotions put on Laura Nyro at the Union Chapel in 1994, I was the one who took her to the LBC studios to get a plug for the show. Before the interview, we prearranged with the deejay that she'd play something, so they put her in a studio room with a grand piano where she had a mic and he conducted the interview from the next room, separated from Laura by a glass screen. Me they left in the studio room with Laura. At the end of the interview he asked her on air if she'd play something for the listeners.She acquiesced, and so it was that in one sense I wound up alone in a room with Laura Nyro playing Smokey Robinson's "Ooh Baby Baby" to me, only me. Accept it was to the whole of London, but that's what it felt like and that's what I remember every time I hear this.. Even on disc, and especially live in concert, Laura had a unique delivery style which made you feel she was singing just for you, intimate, personal, crammed with subtle emphasis as though she's just thought of singing it that way.
On this trip to London, her backing singers who arrived separately from her, seemed to be taking extra good care of her, treating Laura like a special, fragile queen who needed her beauty sleep. She wasn't diagnosed with ovarian cancer until 1996, but looking back I think they knew she wasn't well, even then. The concert was her last performance in the UK. She died in 1997, too early at the age of 49.
Close your eyes and listen. Time is nowhere. She could be in the room now. Singing. Just for you.