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Mystic Dragons

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Album Review

Heavily influenced by the Delfonics and the Stylistics, Blue Magic was best known for smooth, dreamy, gossamer treasures like "Sideshow," "What's Come Over Me," "Spell," and "Three Ring Circus." Blue Magic epitomized the sweeter side of Philadelphia soul, and R&B lovers associated the vocal quintet with romantic ballads and slow jams — not tough, gritty funk. So it came as a major surprise when, in 1976, Blue Magic opened its fourth album, Mystic Dragons, with the very funky and very danceable "Freak-N-Stein." That infectious opener demonstrated that the Philadelphians were quite capable of handling funk, and they are every bit as inspired on the equally funky "Mother Funk." Also surprising is the exuberant "Rock N Roll Revival," which blends R&B with rock and is hardly the sort of tune one expected Blue Magic to record in 1976. But the group doesn't abandon ballads and slow jams on this Bobby Eli-produced LP — those who cherish its sweetly romantic side should have no problem getting into "Summer Snow," "To Get Love," or "Making Love to a Memory." Although not as essential as 1974's Blue Magic or 1975's 13 Blue Magic Lane, Mystic Dragons is a solid, rewarding effort that offers its share of surprises.

Biography

Formed: 1973 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

Blue Magic, an R&B vocal quintet whose members were Ted "Wizard" Mills, Vernon Sawyer, Wendell Sawyer, Keith Beaton, and Richard Pratt, formed in Philadelphia and signed to Atco in 1973. The group specialized in dreamy ballads and choreographed stage moves. They hit the Top 40 of the R&B singles chart with their first three 45s before breaking through and crossing over with "Sideshow." Released in April 1974, it went gold, topped the R&B chart, and became a Top Ten pop hit. "Three Ring Circus," their...
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Mystic Dragons, Blue Magic
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