Laura Nyro: Eli & The Thirteenth Confession (1968)
These days, of course, I love (early) Todd Rundgren, appreciating his pop genius; Rundgren based that early sound, in turn, on Laura Nyro, so it was just a matter of time before I gave her another shot.
And damn how I love this album. And while I don't spend much time with her later work (she recorded up until her untimely death from cancer in 1997), which moved into a more middle-of-the-road adult contemporary territory, there is something about Eli I just find magical. Sure, some of it is that weird nostalgia that takes me back to my youth, for better or worse, but it's also a novelty to the sound, an ambitious jazz vibe that complements some of the more straightforward, Carole King-like Brill Building pop-folk impulses, kinda like Joni Mitchell would pick up in the 70s.
Anyway, I imagine this doesn't get a ton of traction with all my more punk and indie-oriented friends, but it's the sort of thing I love to spin up on a Sunday morning.
Here's the delightful "Stoned Soul Picnic":