On Nov. 25, 1970, Laura Nyro released her third album on Columbia Records, Christmas and the Beads of Sweat. The album would reach #51 on the Billboard Top LP’s chart.
Each side to the album had a distinct sound. The five songs on Side 1 were produced by Arif Marden (who had just produced the Dusty in Memphis album for Dusty Springfield and the Rascal’s See) and featured musical backup from The Swampers, the nickname Leon Russell gave to Alabama’s Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Side 1 had the livelier sound of Nyro’s previous work.
Side 2 was a quieter four-song suite produced by Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals, which mostly featured the elegance of Nyro on piano, singing sweetly. Additional instrumentation, added sparsely to the arrangement, featured Cavaliere on keyboards with fellow Rascals’ drummer Dino Danelli, Alice Coltrane on the harp, and studio-session greats Chuck Rainey on bass and Cornell Dupree on guitar.
Oh yeah … another up-and-coming session guitarist played on Side 2. Perhaps you recognize the work of Duane Allman on “Beads of Sweat.”