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The Fifth Dimension - EP

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Album Review

Captured in the act here are Lamonte McLemore, Ron Townson, Billy Davis, Jr., Marilyn McCoo, and Florence LaRue during an early-'70s stint on the Vegas Strip, in the main room of Caesar's Palace. The performance offers an adequate sampling of the 5D's classics and concurrent pop songs that attendees would likely be familiar with. The "love" themed medley starts things off with a hot-steppin' "What the World Needs Now" that segues into a quirky reading of "All You Need Is Love" and winds down with Jimmy Webb's exceptional "Have You Tried Love." The funky and thoroughly entertaining interpretation of Curt Boettcher's " I Just Want to Be Your Friend" is marked by some tasty brass, perfectly supporting the powerful vocalists. After a brief greeting from LaRue, the 5D launch into an extensive combo of Laura Nyro compositions. "Stoney End," "Stoned Soul Picnic,""Sweet Blindness," "Wedding Bell Blues," and "Save the Country" all figure prominently in the 5D's songbook. "Never My Love" — a significant side for the Association several years earlier — is one of two singles to be lifted from The 5th Dimension/Live!! with McCoo incorporating a hauntingly lovely lead. We return momentarily to the Nyro catalog for the outstanding musical production of "Eli's Coming" before mellowing out considerably on the Davis, Jr./McCoo duet "Together Let's Find Love," which was the album's second 45. "Shake Your Tambourine" instantly recalls James Brown thanks in part to Bob Alcivar's top-shelf orchestration, not to mention arrangements by the group's musical director Rene DeKnight. A six-song Jimmy Webb assortment follows with "Up, Up and Away," "Paper Cup," "This Is Your Life," "The Girl's Song," "The Worst That Could Happen," and "MacArthur Park" all packed into a nearly seven-minute medley that earns the 5D a deserved ovation. Another highlight is the palpably paranoid dramatization of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe." Each member adopts a role as the dark tale is unraveled before the listener's ears. Wrapping up the festivities is a full-throttle and audience interactive version of "I Wanna Take You Higher" concluding with an equally incendiary "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In."

Biography

Formed: 1966 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Fifth Dimension's unique sound lay somewhere between smooth, elegant soul and straightforward, adult-oriented pop, often with a distinct flower-power vibe. Although they appealed more to mainstream listeners than to a hip, hardcore R&B audience, they had a definite ear for contemporary trends; their selection of material helped kickstart the notable songwriting careers of Jimmy Webb and Laura Nyro, and their biggest hit was a medley from the hippie musical Hair, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine...
Full bio
The Fifth Dimension - EP, The 5th Dimension
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