Tag Archives: Jr.


LaMonte “Mac” McLemore’s Memoir Promises Stars Galore, Rare Photos & Life Wisdom…

Mac's Memoir Promises Stars, Photos, Music History, Wisdom...

LaMonte McLemore of The 5th Dimension tells the story! 

Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Bill Cosby, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marilyn McCoo, Florence LaRue, Ray Charles, Ava Gardner, Don Cornelius, Dick Clark, Jimmy Webb, Johnny Mathis, Richard Pryor, Billy Davis, Jr., Sammy Davis, Jr., Ron “Sweets” Townson, Redd Foxx, Johnny Carson, Jayne Kennedy, Marvin Gaye, Glen Campbell, Mike Douglas, Gladys Knight…just SOME of the stars featured in “Mac’s” upcoming autobiographical memoir, FROM HOBO FLATS to THE 5th DIMENSION: A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Music & Photography by LaMonte McLemore with Robert-Allan Arno. Lots of RARE photos, history & wisdom, too! Stay tuned for news of its Christmas season ’14 release! LaMonte thanks each of you for your kind support and enthusiasm…me too, friends! –Robert-Allan Arno

View the Official Press Release athttps://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/lamonte-mclemore-of-the-5th-dimension-to-release-autobiographical-memoir-as-told-to-robert-allan-arno/?relatedposts_exclude=264

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A Valentine’s Love Song to Marilyn & Billy


Hi Friends,

Dateline February 14th–Have You Tried Love?!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  FOREVER 5th DIMENSION presents this recent tribute to Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.’s 44th Wedding Anniversary featuring an homage to their “greatest hits” from the fans.  We released this, this past July while we were “in between” Blog locations, today is the perfect “sweetheart’s day” to re-issue our l’il treatise!  Enjoy!

Love Song to Marilyn & Billy–Celebrating the Duo’s 44th Anniversary


by Robert-Allan Arno & the Fans 

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. will be celebrating their 44th wedding anniversary on Friday, July 26th!  As a musical toast to our favorite Grammy-winning, “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)” duo, let’s specifically “have a party” for their duet recordings, as I share a few special memories from the many times I’ve interviewed “MarBill”…with some of our ongoing “fan confabbing” sprinkled in, too!  Our singing sweethearts have brought us so much love…it’s the perfect season to croon them our own collective love song!

Marilyn always savored her recording sessions, they were “top priority” she noted, also revealing, “Billy is an incredible coach when it comes to phrasing and reminding, as he says, ‘What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.'” Billy returned the compliment, “I marvel when listening to Marilyn, I love the way my wife pronounces her words!” Aren’t they cute?! Marilyn told me about a fan fave on their premier duet album, “I Hope We Get to Love In Time” called “I Still Will Be With You.” “Billy and I had a goal on that one, that our voices should sound alike, virtually as one, and I think we achieved that.” Me too, and so many fans who tell me they wished that tune would have been a single, to boot! 

When I was hosting radio’s “Gospel Gold” in the ’80’s, Billy’s inspirational solo album featured a Marilyn & Billy duet, “Praise Ye the Lord.” My audience, including loyal fans of MarBill to this day, Alain & Mariette Baptiste, voted it to be the closing theme of my daily drive-time show.  We all revered Marilyn’s velvety, soulful passion juxtaposed with her hubby’s textured, pastoral musings, two of music’s most recognizable song stylists, essentially emoting a prayer of gratitude. I was so excited to produce “Praise” as a YouTube video a couple of Easter’s ago, when Billy’s project was reissued as “The Love of God.”  

Speaking of reissues, just in synch with MarBill’s anniversary, Real Gone Music releases (on 7/30) the duo’s second & third duet albums (expanded), “The Two of Us,” and “Marilyn & Billy.” Between the poignant single, “My Reason to Be is You” (on the second), to the addictive disco classic “Shine On Silver Moon” (on the third), there are so many hidden gems on these song sets to “re-behold!”  While long-time fan Susie Paige says, “It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to it’s ‘The Two of Us,'” the title tune itself, Brian Medoro declares “Wonderful,” another single from this album, as a personal all-time fave.  Then Renee Armstead joins the forum, shouting praises for “Nightsong” where MarBill reunited with their vocal arranger from The 5th Dimension’s “glory days,” Bob Alcivar; that familiar layered “5th wall of sound” echoes all throughout the tasty tune’s “movin’ and groovin’.”  FOREVER 5th DIMENSION just produced “I’m So Glad I Found You” as a YouTube video (see link below), it’s a bonus on “The Two of Us,” previously only appearing as the flip-side of the single, “I Hope We Get to Love In Time.”  The song is a Motown meets Jazzy romp that’s a tip of the hat to Marilyn’s roots with the Hi-Fi’s, Billy’s on the early eclectic club scene.

Faithful fans like Susan Aglio, Loretta Sorensen and Dale Kocik smoothly travel back, prompting a “group hug” for the MarBill duets on The 5th Dimension’s “Love’s Lines” and “Live” albums–  when Sue thoughtfully chooses “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love),” then Loretta says she’s joyfully reminded of “Every Night,” both from the former, while Dale is partial to the driving yet tender “Together, Let’s Find Love” on the latter.  Emiko “Emmy” Ikedo from Japan enthusiastically reminds us not to forget “Soul & Inspiration,” from the 5th album of the same title!   

The emotional “Keep the Lovelight Burning,” a  MarBill duet of faith from Marilyn’s solo inspirational CD, “The Me Nobody Knows” is tops on fan, John Estes’ list.  And didn’t we all get misty over “I Believe In You and Me,” in a class with The 4 Tops and Whitney Houston’s versions. This duet was featured on Marilyn’s “Solid Gold” album and was later re-recorded as a bonus to Marilyn & Billy’s moving memoir, “Up-Up & Away.”

Others, as evidenced by over 68 thousand “visits” of our YouTube production, are enthralled by the duo’s contemporary take on “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” from their recent “The Many Faces of Love” project.  And how thrilling when, from the same interactive CD, MarBill’s luscious testimony to long-term marriage, “How Do You Keep the Music Playing” was featured on “Nancy for Frank,” Nancy Sinatra’s popular Sirius-XM show, that heralds the song stylings that embody her father’s.  Billy shared with me this revelation for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, “Singing a song is like getting to act in a ‘mini movie.'” Marilyn added with grace, “And when it comes to that Alan and Marilyn Bergman song on the beauty of keeping a relationship fresh, ‘How Do You Keep the Music Playing’ is just like our own personal movie.”  “That’s right,” Billy winked as the two laughed in perfect pitch, perhaps the sweetest MarBill sound of all. 

God bless you Marilyn & Billy, your example of loving harmony in your music, in your life, is forever one of the brightest “stars in our show!” 

With Love,

Robert & the Fans 

Robert-Allan Arno– Biographer, The original 5th Dimension

(Copyright 2013, FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, a production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd.) 

*Don’t forget Marilyn & Billy’s new double volume LIVE CD*! Order at:  http://www.McCooDavis.com

*See our special review of LIVE at:  https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/review-marilyn-mccoo-billy-davis-jr-live/

**Enjoy these Marilyn & Billy duets, produced for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, on YouTube:

 –“I’m So Glad I Found You:”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q5iBOCsDg4

–“You Make Me Feel Brand New:”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5wCOLnn0F8

–“Praise Ye the Lord”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTRtdfjm4ng

–“I Hope We Get to Love in Time” (Live):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cp2TTx4wo4

–“Land of Make Believe:”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZGT1X04uEk

–“This Moment in Time:”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzwczmBE3qU

–“Soul & Inspiration” (Un-vaulted Version):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-vRlvNUPzY

CD REVIEW: “Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. LIVE”

The Many Faces of “Live:” 
McCoo & Davis at the Top of their Show
by Robert-Allan Arno
     First, let’s not mistake this review’s pun-in-the-title (“The Many Faces of ‘Live'”) for the recent treatise our two romantic stars issued a few years back, “The Many Faces of Love;” that outing was a recording studio wonder, featuring the great Pop/Soul love songs as a testament to 40-plus years of marriage.  This latest double-volume ambitious effort from Marilyn & Billy’s own label is so breathtakingly “live,” it’s like seeing the two on Broadway, yet in an intimate cabaret setting, that’s how these pros make it happen, juxtaposing sensibilities all over their “nicer place.”  Yep, the mega hits they made as former lead singers of Grammy legends, The 5th Dimension like “Up-Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” and “Wedding Bell Blues,” are all here and have an authentic patina that simply shimmers…we still wait for McCoo’s gossamer highs at the conclusions of both “that balloon ride” and the “Bill, I love you so” jaunty saga, and man (girl), the lady delivers!  Later, their all-time biggest, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” rivals the original in execution which is a feat in and of itself, as that medley from “Hair” was the year’s top number one in ’69!  These lovebirds never rest on their craftily blended laurels, their notes are dexterously bright yet tastily seasoned, their selections are often unexpected as the festivities unfold.
     Billy Davis, Jr., one of music’s greatest Soul singers, is the king of effortlessness.  And he knows how to tell a story.  Ever the engaging showman, he quotes a Bible verse from Ephesians before further tugging at the heartstrings with his bluesy interpretation of the classic, “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby.”  Marilyn McCoo, whose eternal beauty seemingly reflects the incandescent soul of her silky voice, does something uncanny here.  She’s found a tune from a recent Clint Eastwood movie that’s “pure Marilyn,” it seamlessly fits as an extension of her body of solos that are her fans’ cherished gems. There’s a soupcon of “Never My Love,” “If I Could Reach You,” “Open Your Window,” and more, in her spectacularly delicate yet empowered treatment of the jazzy ballad, “Why Should I Care.”  Yes, La McCoo should sing every theme song of every movie out there, I just bet you’ll be thinking!
     In their charming patter, Marilyn and Billy state, “The old songs let us do the new songs.  (We all tend to say) they don’t make ’em like they used to…but then along comes a song…”  And so we get a haunting medley of a fan fave from MarBill’s first duet album (35 years ago!), the pensively languid “Easy Way Out,” melded with a current chart topper by Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now.”  Later the duo digs into Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.”  A touch of Country on the former, neo-Soul on the latter, they’re emoted with such deep finesse, you can see and hear how this pair could be hit makers themselves in any decade.  Further addictive romps like the Earth, Wind and Fire version of “Gotta Get You Into My Life” prove why McCoo, Davis and their 5th cohorts influenced not only EWF, but an entire musical generation.  The generous duo is never afraid to give homage back.  They salute the late Nick Ashford with a Funk-ily ingenious revision of a 5th Dimension Top 20, Ashford & Simpson’s “California Soul,” that sounds more like it’s from a Marvin & Tammi album than The 5th’s.  Much fun ensues, too when Billy gets all good-natured raucous on “Steppin’ In,” the twosome also brings the Disco-tinged goods to their Grammy winning duet signature, “You Don’t Have to Be A Star (To Be in My Show).”  Then Marilyn stops everything with the quintessential torch that is the jewel in her crown, “One Less Bell to Answer.”  And this ain’t your Mama’s “Bell,” this is all “new year,” the culmination of show biz perfect meets life experience gut-wrench.  Billy in turn, goes from poignant to “true grit” in the finale, “Lean on Me”/”Love Train” while Marilyn, the gifted back-up vocalists and the audience hop aboard with joy.
     Co-Producers Davis and Laythan Armor make sure “Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. Live” packs such a soul-thrilling “picnic” of delights, you’ll want to listen again, and again…then go see them perform in 2014…then go home and listen again!  With a special nod to Music Director Darrell Alston and stand-out guitarist Major Black amid a stellar band, the project is a testimony to artistic integrity, creative verve and enduring love.  It just doesn’t get any better from Marilyn & Billy, two icons who clearly adore one another, their work and the continued opportunity to bring such diverse magic to their equally diverse, dedicated fans.
“Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. LIVE” is available now at:  http://www.mccoodavis.com
(Review by Robert-Allan Arno for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, copyright 2014, The Soul of the Voice, Ltd.)
Bonus!  Our Facebook friends share thoughts about the new MarBill CD…