Sadly neglected, once massive, psychedelic soul pioneers

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5th Dimension – The Ultimate 5th Dimension

Jimmy Webb nuts will know all about 5th Dimension: others should. In the late ’60s and early ’70s they enjoyed enormous hits with Webb’s “Up, Up And Away” and Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Wedding Bell Blues”, peaking with “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In” from Hair. If roots R&B fans deemed them too sweetly, sunnily harmonious to be ‘soulful’, they sobbed all the way to the bank. The young Webb gave them curiously brave lyrics, as on “Paper Cup”; Ashford/Simpson and Bacharach/David happily provided further nuggets like “California Soul” and “Last Night”. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr married, broke away as a duo in ’72, and history has sneered at their ‘sell-out’ vanilla cuteness ever since. But didn’t folk similarly scoff at The Carpenters? Gorgeous.