Monthly Archives: October 2014

Florence & The 5th Dimension– A Special Concert Review

The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue

Our friend, John Estes brings us this spirited review of a show he saw last week–a Halloween treat for us tonight!

FLORENCE & THE 5TH DIMENSION: BETTER THAN EVER!
A Concert Review by John Estes

It had been about two years since I last saw The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue, so this past Friday, I couldn’t wait to catch their show at the Arcada Theater near Chicago, Illinois. I have to say right away, they sound as good as ever, if not better! The current lineup of Florence with Patrice, Willie, Leonard and Floyd, has been in place now for over five years, and it really shows. Each member has their own distinctive talent which brings something special and unique to the group. They opened with Earth Wind and Fire’s SEPTEMBER with the fun and energy only The 5th Dimension can bring. Next, the quintet performed their version of MY GIRL, which Florence pointed out was not the sound the group would eventually become known for. Then, they broke into UP-UP AND AWAY, which brought many in the crowd to their feet, singing along with the Grammy Award-winning signature song. The Arcada audience was certainly a lively bunch that night!

“The 5th” continued with a medley of their hit songs which included THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN, WEDDING BELL BLUES, and (LAST NIGHT) I DIDN’T GET TO SLEEP AT ALL. Leonard, Patrice, and Florence were featured lead singers on these tunes, then Ms. LaRue’s version of NEVER MY LOVE was delivered dramatically, to say the least. Next, the group discussed love songs and how much they’ve changed over the years; this gave way to Willie Williams’ interpretation of the Jimmy Webb classic, MACARTHUR PARK. This is one of my favorites because I just love the raw emotion that Willie puts into the song, along with the stirring background parts of the other members. Next, Florence movingly performed ONE LESS BELL TO ANSWER. The group ended the first set of their show with the upbeat and hip STONED SOUL PICNIC, inviting various audience members to come up on stage for a “dance off with The 5th Dimension!”

Post-intermission, the five entered with a costume change and singing their memorable CALIFORNIA SOUL. This was the first time I ever heard the hit performed live in concert.  (This was such a treat for me and made me think of other personal requests they might add to their future concert repertoire, like LIGHT SINGS and MAGIC IN MY LIFE!) Next, they performed the captivating Rain Medley with each singer taking a solo turn. The 5th Dimension closed leaving us wanting more with AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN.

And we did get more, because afterward there was an interesting Q&A session onstage with the Emcee (and the owner of the Arcada Theater) asking each singer how they came to be a member of the legendary group. He asked Florence about various milestone moments with The 5th Dimension. Then it was time for a “meet and greet” with the fans. I got the chance to ask some additional questions and had a few pictures taken with my all-time favorite musical group, the perfect ending to a magical event.

(copyright 2014, John Estes, edited by Robert-Allan Arno, The Soul of The Voice, Ltd. for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION)

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TRICK OR TREAT!

FOREVER 5th DIMENSION presents The original 5th Dimension as you’ve never seen them before with this bit of Halloween fun! And thanks for joining us at our globally acclaimed tribute Blog where it’s always a “Champagne Soul” adventure–

FOREVER 5th DIMENSION by Robert-Allan Arno: A blog in tribute to the multi-Grammy winning stars of The original 5th Dimension–yesterday, today, forever…

Think The 5th Dimension and a kaleidoscope of hiply elegant sounds and images so readily dance in the mind’s eye, that we still breathe a collective sigh of unadulterated joy. Their uniquely eclectic brand of “Champagne Soul” garnered chart-toppers galore as Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, LaMonte McLemore and Ron Townson united people with their uplifting, harmonious sound during the turbulent times of the late 60′s-early 70′s.

At Forever 5th Dimension we present some history, new interviews & lots of current events:

*Marilyn & Billy news–married 45 years, the dynamic duo of McCoo & Davis tour to the best reviews of their career!

*Florence & The (current) 5th Dimension news–Delightful Diva LaRue leads today’s 5th to sold-out shows & appears in her one-woman show, “Just As I Am,” too. Florence will soon toast 50 years with The 5th Dimension.

*LaMonte news–Mr. McLemore’s upcoming memoir FROM HOBO FLATS to THE 5th DIMENSION arrives in time for Christmas season ’14, Robert-Allan Arno is the project’s as-told-to author.

It’s Sunshine, Picnics, Balloons and Bells, always with lots of love…right here!

–Robert-Allan Arno

(Forever 5th Dimension, a production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd.)

LaMonte For The New Year!

me aAN MAC MIKE

We have cooked up lotsa’ tasty pop cultural treats in FROM HOBO FLATS to THE 5th DIMENSION–A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Photography and Music, coming January ’15!  It’s LaMonte McLemore’s riveting autobiographical memoir, as told to Robert-Allan Arno…due for the new year!  Stay tuned to FOREVER 5th DIMENSION for more details including tour dates and media appearances!

Lamonte and Robert look to the horizon(Pictured, LaMonte McLemore with Robert-Allan Arno)

Remembering Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer

ManTran

10/16–This morning, the music world lost Tim Hauser (pictured above, bottom right) of Manhattan Transfer. As many of you know, “ManTran” and The 5th Dimension have many fans in common–the mix of guys and gals and their dexterous uplifting harmonies, their early staged choreography and overall versatility…and certainly the Jazzier moments of The 5th like “Sky and Sea” and “Dimension 5ive” were “very ManTran” before the quartet even formed! LaMonte McLemore tells in his memoir FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5th DIMENSION that the groups’ members were friends; I have personally heard admiration for The 5th from MT singers, original member Laurel Masse as well as Janis Siegel. Also, the renowned 5th vocal arranger Bob Alcivar worked on special projects for “the Transfer.”

Tim was a warm, down-to-earth man who I had the pleasure to interview early in my media career backstage at Long Island’s “Westbury Music Fair”–he truly had passion for his work and loved to share his panoramic knowledge of music and performance.  Tim Hauser’s textured sound, keen vision and “Joy Spring” will live forever.  The 5th Dimension Family & Fans extend their condolences and prayerful thoughts as we offer “Dimension 5ive” in tribute to this music legend and founder of Manhattan Transfer.  –Robert-Allan Arno

Lines of Love from Marilyn & Billy…

marbill CHRISTMAS CONCERTS

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. never fail to show their support of our endeavors here at FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, in fact, it was in their suite, post-show at Manhattan’s Cafe Carlyle, where “MarBill” gave their blessing to the concept of FOREVER 5th, 6 years ago.  Today, I’m so pleased and honored to share two correspondences, one from Marilyn, one from both Marilyn & Billy, about our recent coverage of Marilyn’s birthday (Sept. 30th), and the duo’s receipt of the prestigious Gordon Parks award last week, respectively.  Marilyn & Billy are ever a “bright light” to us all–from their artistic integrity, to the example they set with their marriage and faith, to their genuine care for their fans & friends, “we love them so, we always will…”  Robert-Allan Arno

 Marilyn writes about “The Marilyn Solos…”

Dear Robert & Fans,

Thank you for that oh, so special piece, “The Marilyn Solos” written for my birthday as a tribute to the songs I’ve recorded over the years. Reading the songs mentioned with the comments from so many friends of the group and Billy & me brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Through the years, the times we’ve all spent together and the loyalty displayed by our true, true fans and friends are so moving; special memories like these have a value that words cannot express. The comments from Bones Howe mean so much to me coming from him–the man with the golden ears.

We always wonder what our fans think about our work and what their own favorites are from among the projects we’ve delivered. It was wonderful to read them along with their own recollections of those times in their lives.

And you, Robert, no one can weave all of those elements together in a superb lyrical tapestry like you do. You have a way with words that is truly God’s gift to you. The photo collage is a sweet addition to the whole piece (How many years are represented there?!) Thank you for the idea and execution of a such a concept–a most special birthday gift.

Love,
Marilyn

*See FOREVER 5th DIMENSION presents “The Marilyn Solos” at:  https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/happy-birthday-miss-mccoo/

From Marilyn & Billy about The Gordon Parks Awards…

Hi Robert,
 
We were so pleasantly surprised when, at the Gordon Parks “Weapon of Choice” Awards event at Fort Scott Community College this past weekend, a special piece was played as an introduction to our interview with the students, teachers and members of the community.  It had been selected as the “perfect way to open our program” by Jill Warford, the Exec. Director of the Gordon Parks Museum/Center for Culture and Diversity (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it, but the best way to give her her “props!”  She’s done a beautiful job with the Center, an incredible reminder of Gordon’s innumerable accomplishments in his lifetime.)   As we sat there and watched the video, we began thinking, “This feels like Robert. If this is from him, won’t he be surprised that he’s playing a significant part in this tribute to us??”  When we saw your credit come up, we said, “We knew it!”  You were there with us, just as you were in person at the Friars’ Tribute…well, not exactly the same…but your presence was definitely felt!
 
It was a wonderful weekend.  The people were so warm and really made us feel welcomed.  They enjoyed our interview, and especially appreciated our testimony about how the Lord continues to play a significant part in our lives.  It was an experience we will carry with us.  Thank you for your part, even if you didn’t know it.  You’ve done so many beautiful tributes to us over the years, we felt so good to see one of them being enjoyed by people who have little knowledge of all the things we’ve done that you laid out so beautifully in “You Make Me Feel Brand New”.
 
We had to let you know how delighted we were, and as always, how much we appreciate you!!
 
Love,
Billy & Marilyn
*View the FOREVER 5th DIMENSION presentation of Marilyn & Billy’s “You Make Me Feel Brand New” athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5wCOLnn0F8

Marilyn and Billy to Receive Gordon Parks Award

Oct. 3, 2014–Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. will be receiving the “Gordon Parks Award” at the 11th annual Gordon Parks Celebration and Dinner.new marbill don' like “We are extremely excited that artists of this caliber are our honorees this year,” said Gordon Parks Center Director Jill Warford, “Everyone will remember them from their days with The 5th Dimension and the many popular songs for which they are known.They also have television, film, and stage successes, along with a wonderful spiritual message.” Gordon Parks was the renown photographer, musician, writer and filmmaker. He is best remembered for his photographic essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film, Shaft.

Read the official Press Release  for this prestigious event at:
http://www.gordonparkscenter.org/…/McCoo%20and%20Davis%20PR…

StoryJUST IN!–Enjoy this charming clip of Marilyn & Billy chatting about their career and relationship as they receive the Gordon Parks Award…and notice our FOREVER 5th DIMENSION production of “You Make Me Feel Brand New” is playing on the screen, in the background!!
LINK:  http://www.fourstateshomepage.com/story/d/story/brads-beat-gordon-parks-choice-of-weapons-award/30714/Xpho8Xl1A0O2ZDNKsIEH1A

220px-Gordon_ParksRead more about Gordon Parks at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Parks

Visit Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Official on Facebook, Twitter or at:  http://www.mccoodavis.com

–Robert-Allan Arno