Album cover

Margo Guryan

Words And Music

We've been teasing out new discoveries and unreleased Margo Guryan tracks for the last year or so and now it's time to let the cat out of the bag. We're beyond stoked to present Margo Guryan's Words And Music 3xLP Boxset.

Bonus: The Exclusive Sunday Morning Sun Color Vinyl 3xLP Boxset includes bonus Chopsticks Variation 10" Vinyl limited to 500 copies.

Pre-order: Release date is June 7th - Orders will begin shipping in May!

Witness to revolutions in jazz and pop, Margo Guryan earned her place in the songwriting pantheon and then some. That she was largely unknown for decades is not the stuff of crushed dreams, but a result of her own choices and priorities. From humble beginnings to the peaks of her 1968 baroque pop masterpiece Take a Picture and the collected Demos to the recent viral ubiquity of “Why Do I Cry”, Words and Music captures the entirety of Guryan’s career, featuring 16 previously unreleased recordings and a 32-page booklet telling the whole story.

Guryan released just one album in her heyday: 1968’s Take A Picture. But, as Margo was disinterested in performing, touring, and promoting the work, the album went barely noticed at the time. Nevertheless, by the 1990s, the record had become a highly sought after cult favorite. Then, a new generation of listeners came to learn about her work when Take A Picture was reissued in 2000, followed shortly thereafter by the collected 27 Demos, supervised by Margo herself, an incredible compilation of unearthed alternate takes and new-to-the-public songs. Guryan’s life in the intervening years remained filled with music; she became a music teacher, kept writing songs, and cultivated friendships with a growing circle of acolytes.

Her early tunes were recorded by bebop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie, bossa nova icon Astrud Gilberto, the famed South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba, and folk hero Harry Belafonte. Jazz singers Anita O'Day and Carmen McRae all released takes on her material, as did pop singer Claudine Longet and folk-rock icon Mama Cass Elliot. "Sunday Morning," Margo's biggest hit, was first popularized by soft-rockers Spanky & Our Gang, followed by recordings from torch singer Julie London and country royalty Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry. In 1967, Billboard called Margo "one of the most sought-after writing talents in the music business."

Born in 1937 in New York City, Guryan began learning piano at age six before eventually enrolling at Boston University to study music. She spent much of her early career immersed in the jazz world, including working for Impulse! founder Creed Taylor, writing for jazz artists, and attending Lenox School of Jazz in Western Massachusetts, where she worked in an ensemble alongside fellow students Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. Her peers were, at that very moment, exploding the consciousness of jazz. Margo, a then-recent graduate in composition, had once been told that the highest mode of education is perception. So she mostly lingered and listened. It was at Lenox where Margo became friends with her teacher, Max Roach, who in 1961 even asked Margo to pen the liner notes for his first Impulse! album.

The story of Margo Guryan is one of a woman who dug deep from an early age and was never afraid to change. With her keen feel for tone, phrasings, tension, presence, and lyrics that cut, her name today is synonymous with sophisticated songcraft and inimitable 1960s cool.Her ingenuity and technique set her in the tradition of chamber-pop icons like Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach while the bittersweet candor in her depictions of womanhood suggest a middleground between Carole King's pop-factory and singer-songwriter eras. But the understated rigor of Margo's artistic voice is all her own.



Track List

  1. If I Lose
  2. You Promised
  3. The Wise Man
  4. The Morning After
  5. Moon Ride
  6. More Understanding Than a Man
  7. More Understanding Than a Man (Instrumental)
  8. There I Was
  9. Kiss & Tell
  10. Half-Way In Love
  11. Goodbye July
  12. Four Letter Words
  13. Hurry On Home
  14. I Ought To Stay Away From You
  15. I Love
  16. Under My Umbrella
  17. I Don't Intend To Spend Christmas Without You
  18. Sunday Morning
  19. Thoughts
  20. Love Songs
  21. Don't Go Away
  22. Take A Picture
  23. Sun
  24. What Can I Give You
  25. Come To Me Slowly
  26. The 8.17 Northbound Success Merry-Go-Round
  27. Something's Wrong With The Morning
  28. Think Of Rain
  29. Can You Tell
  30. Someone I Know
  31. Love
  32. Why Do I Cry
  33. Spanky And Our Gang
  34. Most Of My Life
  35. It's Alright Now
  36. Timothy Gone
  37. The Hum
  38. Please Believe Me
  39. Yes I Am
  40. I Think A Lot About You
  41. I’d Like To See The Bad Guys Win
  42. Values
  43. California Shake
  44. Hold Me Dancin'
  45. Shine
  46. Goodbye July