Congrats to Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. Their “BLackbird” album tribute to Lennon and McCartney was finally released last night and hit number 1 on the iTunes R&B album chart.
McCoo and Davis were the lead singers of the amazing 5th Dimension, a group you will see featured soon in Questlove’s documentary, “Summer of Soul.” The 5th Dimension had dozens of hits from the 60s through the 70s, songs we still love today from “Up, Up, and Away” to “Aquarius/Let the Sumshine In,” “Stone Soul Picnic,” and “Last Night I Couldn’t Get to Sleep at All.”
They were the flip side of the Mamas and the Papas, and actually had more success. They also introduced many important songwriters like Laura Nyro and Jimmy Webb. Their records stand the test of time because of their gorgeous voices– all five of them– and the incredible musicians who played on the songs from the Wrecking Crew. Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, and so on.
Now McCoo and Davis, who are the most youthful 60s survivors you’ve ever seen, have made “Blackbird,” and what a fine record. These are real voices that have never aged. And I’m so impressed with the production. These tracks were really thought through. They aren’t just covers of Beatles songs. They are really reimagined, full of soul and harmony.
Between “Blackbird” and the new Merry Clayton album, the real stars of soul are showing the kids how it’s done!