I first heard this song by Blood, Sweat, and Tears when David Clayton-Thomas was singing for them back in the day, after Al Kooper had left the band. I was lucky enough to see them play it live at one of the damndest pop festivals which has ever been held. They played the same afternoon as some band called the Chicago Transit Authority. That one would later become the highest-grossing band in the history of recorded music, because they understood that the medium would change as time went on.


I'm not scared of dyin'
And I don't really care.
If it's peace you find in dyin'
Well then let the time be near.
Just bundle up my coffin
'Cause its cold way down there.

And when I die
And when I'm gone
There'll be one child born
And a world to carry on.


It was later that I learned the author of this song was Laura Nyro. I was always interested in who wrote the songs.

So I bought the album which Ms. Nyro had put out in 1968, Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, which had this song on it. It turned out to be a life-changing experience. What passion she had in that young voice. She's the only one on this album, playing piano, guitar, and singing her well-endowed ass off. It had songs such as Luckie, Sweet Blindness, Eli's Coming, Stoned Soul Picnic, Timer (my second favorite) and this gem.


My troubles are many
They're deep as a well.
I swear there ain't no heaven
And I pray there ain't no hell.
But I'll never know by livin'
Only my dyin' will tell.

And when I die
And when I'm gone
There'll be one child born
And a world to carry on.


Laura Nyro was born in 1947 and died in 1997. Not hard to do the math there, is it? Yeah, cancer. She was 19 when she recorded these songs. She was born in the Bronx from Jewish and Italian parents. Her father was a jazz trumpeter and there was music all around here when she was a kid. Some folks thought of her as the East Coast Joni Mitchell. Later on, Rickie Lee Jones would try to meld these two, and do a damn good job of it. Laura was booed off the stage at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. She was too smart; too deep.

She had a thing going with David Geffen when she was in her early twenties, and when that went south she took a long break. If that bastard Geffen caused me to miss a whole bunch of songs along the lines of this one, due to his reckless disregard of this young lady, I would not be surprised. He's used to the "chew 'em up and spit 'em out" school of music, anyway.


Give me my freedom
For as long as I be.
All I ask of livin'
Is to have no chains on me.
All I ask of livin'
Is to have no chains on me.
And all I ask of dyin'
Is to go naturally.

And when I die
And when I'm gone
There'll be one child born
And a world to carry on.



CST approved

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