Monday, May 19, 2008

The Passing of Laura Allan

Today, Laura Allan lost her fight with cancer. She was a great musician and had a beautiful spirit. I will always remember her for her generosity, easy-going nature, and sense of humor. She lived a life of a rock star . . . always there to help or cheer someone up. When ever I needed something, she was quick to figure out what she could do. She had a gentle spirit that was accepting of everyone, maybe too accepting at times, but that was her nature and no one was going change that about her.

I met Laura through her mother (Dr. Nadine Lambert pictured below) who was my dissertation chair and mentor. Nadine Lambert was killed in a violent car accident in April 26 2006. That day was one of the worst in my life, Nadine was one of the most influential people in my adult life and losing her unexpectedly was numbing. Through the weeks that followed, Laura was often the one who understood the grief and could make you laugh and cry at the same time. It was then that she sent me this song she was working on, I'm In Good Shape. She had shared it with her mother before her mother died and Nadine really liked it. That's not saying much, Nadine loved everything Laura did. Nadine was the ultimate when it came to supporting her children and students. The photo below is of Nadine and Laura - the way I remember both of them.

Listen to Laura's song "I'm In Good Shape"

Dear Friends,
When my sister was sick with cancer, and wanting to drive to Reno, Nevada to go to an alternative treatment facility for a second opinion, she told me that her drivers’ license had expired. She just wanted to go in to the DMV and take the test and was telling me that that was all she needed to do, as they closed when she was trying to do this before.

After her last discharge from the hospital a few weeks ago, she wanted to go back to Reno, and I told her I would drive her. She called me a week ago Friday (May 9, 2008) in the late afternoon and said: “I want you to know that I just got my driver’s license renewed.” She must have put on a wig and taken off her oxygen and gone in there and acted like any one else at the California DMV on a Friday afternoon and somehow passed on the first time, which is difficult in California. Later that evening she called and told me she had rented a car in Oakland to drive up to Reno and back – she got a nurse who was staying with her to take her to the airport and do this.

Laura made it up to Reno last Monday (May 12, 2008), to go to a clinic where patients receive vitamin and nutrient infusions to combat cancer. Her caregiver friend didn’t show up as planned to take her and I had to work so while I was thinking about hiring a driver she drove herself in the middle of the night last Monday with a friend when most people sleep. She called me from Reno to say that she saw a beautiful sunrise in Sacramento at 5:00AM as they were passing through on highway 80. Laura loved it at that clinic as the emphasis was on anti-oxidants and not chemo. She also liked big fatherly male doctors who hugged her and told her it would be ok, and then they would called me out in the hall and sound like the grim reaper.

I spoke to her last Thursday night (May 15, 2008) and she told me she was feeling better but she was lying I knew. I tried to talk to Laura Sunday (May 18, 2008) but her friend/caregiver told me she couldn’t come to the phone as she was very sick and he was planning to take her to the cancer clinic early Monday.

Yesterday morning (May 19, 2008) after I was at work for a few hours I decided to call the cancer clinic hoping I could speak with her, as they usually put her on the phone with me when she is having an infusion. I called and the Doctor got on the phone almost immediately. They had just received a call from St. Mary’s Hospital. Her friend Goshi had carried her into the emergency room around 9:00AM and she died there at 9:27AM, of numerous complications of a horrible cancer that ravaged her body. My take is that she didn’t want to go into the hospital over the weekend, and knew she was dying, and when this time got close, Goshi got her out of the Residence Inn and to the hospital. All in all, probably the best way to deal with the situation.

It was a long day at work as my colleague was not there and the software I use for work wasn’t working and my mind wasn’t completely there. I left at 7:00PM and walked home through the Berkeley Hills and the fog and at home there was an envelope from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Laura’s Drivers License had arrived. All that nagging she hated from my mother and later me, about doing what you are supposed to do in life. Stuff I hated to remind her of but did, all of those “reality” elements I knew she never wanted to hear, and she in her very sick state at the last moment, went in there and got her drivers’ license so it would be a back-up for her to get to Reno. This because she was a true fighter in the face of this horrible disease.

I am so happy that she got her Drivers’ License, however wacky and insignificant that sounds. She wasn’t into being compliant, but when she wanted to do something, like live as long as possible or take steps to that end, she did it.

Here are some samples of my sister’s songs from her first Album in 1978. It sounds dated but it was her sound commercialized for the period.

I don’t need flowers, just your positive thoughts, as I try to pick up the pieces of my sister’s life, which I always tried to steer clear of, and try to treat what remains with dignity and a happy remembrance.




amhr said...

Traction in the Rain

* David Crosby - Guitar / Vocals
* Graham Nash - Vocals
* Laura Allan - Autoharp / Vocals
One of the greatest songs ever recorded... and it was Laura Allen that made it great. Peace Laura.

-- rezeski

Gypsy said...

I will miss you Laura. Looked forward to seeing you, singing with you when the Fairfax Street Choir came to gether again for reunion. You will be there in spirit and now you are in the highest of highs playing for an audience of divine angels. Happy Trails until we meet again. Condolences and blessings to all her friends and family. aloha nui loa, Gypsy

Team Immel said...

I just learned about Laura's passing, and wanted to thank you for the beautiful tribute you've done of her on your blog. I met her while in alternative therapy in Reno in Jan 08. I have some photos of her on my blog

she will be missed. she was a beautiful soul.


Anonymous said...

u,ll be missed laura frm the bottom of your infinite are such an inspiration to all those whoz fighting aginst all odds.I always listens to your great song"slip and slide"whenevr i got stressed and disturbed.I am sure now its the gods turn to listen to your devine voice and u,ll always remain an angel u always are.god bless your soul.from your greatest fan.Arun,india

Mark Strickland said...

Today I went searching online for my long lost friend Laura Allan, whom I have not seen in several years. I found this link and my heart just sank. This is the first I've heard of this sad news.

I worked with Laura once in a recording session. She sang vocals on a song I wrote. She had the voice of an angel, and a heart of gold. I'm going to listen to that song right now, along with her masterpiece "Telegraph."

Laura was all about music, and she was always full of love and hope. Her music will remind me what a wonderful person she was. I will miss her dearly.

Mark Strickland

Anonymous said...

That 1978 album with Laura and her skateboard is one album Iʻd have to have on a desert island. I turned everyone I knew on to that album and made a lot of people smile. So sad to hear she has left us, but so, so grateful that she was with us. "Stairway," takes on a new meaning now. Aloha, Laura!

Anonymous said...

im 47 years old and never heard lauras beautifulmusic! dont know how i missed it?i am devistated to find out the circumstances .IMso sick of all the good ones getting the shaft!i hope she lives on in heaven ! I will play her music over n over I hope her spirit can hear me too! love 2 who ever is out there ok! ok bye from wally!

Loren D. aka Ed Venella said...

The news of Laura's passing goes deep within my heart. I met Laura back in 1970. I was the manager of the Good Earth Natural Food store in Fairfax, and she would visit the store often, and we became very close friends. As time has gone by, I have very fond memories of her and the other good folk who lived up in 'the giggle house' in Forest Knolls, gathering together to play and sing and laugh. There was always laughter in that house that would shine through Laura like a beacon of pure light. What a beautiful smile, and what a beautiful soul...

At that time she was busy designing and making one of her zithers. She was so very talented at all that she did. I eventually left Fairfax and Marin county to do some organic farming in North Carolina...but I almost never left because of my bond with sweet Laura...but I finally moved on and she pressed a heartfelt note into my hand that day, that I send back to her now...regretfully so late...

"We are never really apart dear love, when you hear the rustle of the leaves, and the wind in the sky, it is me talking to you from across the miles."

Rest in Peace dear are loved always...

Anonymous said...

I have only heard a couple of songs from Laura's 1978 album but I find myself going back to them again and again..."Slip and Slide" is one of my favorites...her beautiful soul touches one through the words, the music, her is encouraging to hear how she fought cancer till the end...may god rest her soul in peace! Thank you Laura for the beautiful music!!

Goldie :o)

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for the song "Come as you are" on and off for decades, hanging onto if by a thread with a cassette recorded from the radio. Finally, I just found the song online today and learned that its performer was Laura Allan, and learned of her unfortunate passing.

Even though all that I know of her is just from that one song, I feel as though she put such a big piece of your heart and soul into it, and I can tell it was a big beautiful soul.

Now I shall get to know her and her works so that I can miss her properly.
Jeff aka Jbar

Anonymous said...

I was at Foothill College with her for a drama class and she did such an fantastic performance as a hunchback that I shall never forget it. Later I happened to see her perform as a singer and dulcimer player with David Crosby and was again stunned by her beauty and the way she could sing, play and light up the room.

Anonymous said...

Slip and slide was a song I heard on a cassette I had borrowed from a friend in India nearly 20 years ago. It has stayed with with me all this years. I finsished school and came to the US 12 yeaars ago. I searched for the song often and I finally found it on youtube today. I finally learnt the same of the artist who had so impressed me and whole song had stayed with me all these years. Laura inspired me half way across the world and I am sure she influenced a lot of people in my generation. May she rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Because of you, I wish and hope there's a god, so you can rest in peace in heaven.
Growing up as a teenager in Hong Kong back in the 70's, I heard your beautiful song "slip and slide", and it has given me so much of that little piece of heaven and escape to paradise that I so desperately needed at times. I loved it so much I taped it on cassette like 20 times over so I can listen to it over and over again, and not wear down the vinyl. Over the years, as I grew and technology changed, the tape and vinyl became history, and searched as I did to no avail, to find a new medium to replace. Finally kind of gave up,except for humming the tune myself, until I found it on youtube today, what a delight to listen to it again!
Laura, while I don't know you, I thank the good lord for the great song and gift and talent that he endowed you to share with us. You have no idea how much pleasure you have given me. I'm so sorry to find out your passing, but your lovely voice and song will stay with me in my mind, comforting me till the day I die. Thank You O wonderful soul.

Anonymous said...

i never knew you..
but your song Slip & Slide Away i did..
i would wonder then how you wrote my thoughts..
i wonder even now how you could sing it so beautifully..
rest in peace..
and thank you for the wonderful times you gave me strength with that song!

Anonymous said...

I was in my loft earlier going through my vinyl collection and pulled an album I picked up in the 90's by Laura Allan it was her 1978 album caled Laura Allan on Elektra Records from 1978. I loved the track Opening up to you
It's a great album and over 30yrs later still sounds fresh as she had a beautiful voice. I was shocked to hear of her death but her music lives on.

Peter said...

I also miss Laura; although I never even heard of her until a few months ago.


Lori said...

I had always wondered - who was Laura Allen?

Yesterday I pulled out "If I Could Only Remember My Name" and there she was - again - smiling forever. I am so sad to learn that she is gone, but so happy to hear what a wonderful person and beautiful soul she was. I'm so grateful to Jennifer for putting this blog together.

Blessings to her family. I'm off now to find her on YouTube and share widely.

Oh my!

Samuel Scanlon said...

A friend I never knew. Soar.

Princess Jewels said...

Still remembering and listening to her songs. Salute to Laura!

matnoll said...

Now her beautiful, ethereal stunner is one of the standouts on the "Ladies of Too Slow to Disco", a fantastic compilation of under-rated AOR from the late 70's/early 80's. So grateful to have been turned onto this beautiful, vulnerable voice. See you in the next life.

Lisa Lewis said...

I as just looking up Laura, and discovered she had gone beyond. I got to know her when I was booking a club in San Francisco, the 7th NOTE Showclub, about 1999, maybe a year earlier. We had Laura play once, maybe twice, and it was always a great show. Laura introduced me to a young musician she has produced an album for, Randy Todd, and we ended up booking him in various incarnations for openers of many different artists. Actually, maybe it was Randy who introduced me to Laura.

She was incredibly talanted, in many areas, she showed me how to reinvent a polaroid photo, which was how she made the cover photo of one of her albums. She told me that she had been a classmate of my sister who is also a musician.

Laura had a sparkling voice and a boyant personality. Although she also seemed troubled, she was kind and often bubbly. I do not know if she was already ill then, she never mentioned it. There was always both a feeling of tragedy and sweetness with her, I know her heart was well intended. I am sad to hear of her passing at an early age. She will be remembered, for the gifted artist she was. I am sorry for everyone's loss.