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Magic Colors: The Lost Album With Bonus Tracks 1967-1969 CD

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Jun 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Ace
  • ASIN: B00000DN2T
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,835 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. It's A Happening World
2. Magic Colors
3. Where Can I Go
4. Brink Of Disaster
5. On A Day Like Today
6. I'm Fallin' Down
7. You Sent Me Silver Bells
8. He Won't See The Light
9. How Can I Be Sure
10. To Sir With Love
11. Summer And Sandy
12. Small Talk
13. Say What You See
14. He Gives Me Love (La La La)
15. Brand New Me
16. I Can't Make It Without You
17. Look The Other Way
18. Take Good Care (Of My Heart)
19. I'll Be Standing By
20. Ride A Tall White Horse
See all 25 tracks on this disc

Product Description

* An impressive 19 hits on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 rank Lesley Gore as second only to Brenda Lee as America's top-selling solo female recording star of the 1963-1967 timeframe.

* Those chart records exist on a plethora of CDs, but not on this one, which kicks off with the 10 tracks scheduled for her lost "Magic Colors" album and concludes with 15 others, all recorded between 1967 and 1969. Lesley's releases were no less excellent than her earlier work, yet somehow these were overlooked by the masses.

* Most of the titles intended for the "Magic Colors" LP were recorded in Hollywood with first-call session luminaries such as Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Lyle Ritz, Jim Horn, Al Casey, Jay Migliori, Carol Kaye, Tommy Tedesco and Ray Pohlman, the nucleus of the celebrated Wrecking Crew, as they were known within the business. When its would-be title song was issued as a single, the label carried a line heralding the album, but Mercury nixed its release after the 45's failure to chart.

* With material from some of the USA's top songwriters of the day including Mann & Weil, Bonner & Gordon and Sedaka & Greenfield plus production and orchestrations by maestros Bob Crewe, Jack Nitzsche, Gamble & Huff, Steve Douglas, Herb Bernstein, Paul Leka and Thom Bell, "Magic Colors" is no greatest hits collection. It just sounds like one.

* Compilation and note by Mick Patrick.

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Format: Audio CD
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3 of 15 people found the following review helpful By chris301 on 21 July 2011
Format: Audio CD
Lesley Gore, fabulous artist, wonderful talent both for singing and song writing, experience the hidden masterpieces by listening to her later tracks.
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on 5 Jan 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my second album by this group and I was not dissapointed. From the first track to the last every one was well produced as with all ACE cd's. The booklet enclosed with the cd gives you all the information you need to know about the group and their music. Buy it
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Amazon.com: 11 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Superb Lost Lesley Gore Album Resurfaces 14 July 2011
By James A. Allio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
MAGIC COLORS is often referred to as one of the great lost Lesley Gore albums, the others being the OFF AND RUNNING long-player and the December 1964 Shelby Singleton sessions. It was presaged on the labels of the "Magic Colors" single, but never were issued in its entirety until July 1994 when the 5-CD Bear Family Lesley Gore box set, IT'S MY PARTY!, was released. Several cuts from all 3 did surface on B-sides or, in the case of OFF AND RUNNING, on Gore's CALIFORNIA NIGHTS LP.

Lesley Gore was at an interesting point in her career when she recorded the MAGIC COLORS project in Hollywood in August and October 1967. That spring, when the Summer of Love officially began with love-ins and be-ins coast-to-coast and, famously, in San Francisco's Haight Asbury/Golden Gate Park area, Lesley re-established the staying power she displayed during the British Invasion three years earlier. She enjoyed one of her biggest-selling records, the Bob Crewe-produced, Marvin Hamlisch co-written "California Nights." The follow-up copycat sequel, "Summer and Sandy" failed to get past #54 in Cash Box and #65 in Billboard, despite doing well in some markets, and the press-heralded second Gore-Crewe album was abandoned.

At any rate, by 1967, Lesley Gore was spending most of her summers and any significant time away from Sarah Lawrence College in Hollywood, typically ensconced in the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel, where I first met her in the spring of that year. So it was natural that she look for a new recording situation in La-La Land, and producer Steve Douglas was an excellent choice. Douglas was the venerated saxophone genius who was a key player in Phil Spector's Ronettes and Crystals Wall of Sound extravaganzas; participated in and helmed many, many great recordings at Gold Star Studios; and was making quite a name for himself producing up-and-coming psychedelic rock bands. The combination of Douglas and Gore's girl group roots as well as their eager exploration of new musical territories made them a potent team.

Their very first session together, August 15, 1967, yielded one of Gore's best loved classic singles, "Brink of Disaster," in which her conscience (portrayed as a New Vaudeville Band megaphone-type inner voice) advises a double-tracked and willful Lesley Gore that she is treading on thin ice - or, specifically, on the 'brink of disaster' - by keeping on with the heartbreaker she ultimately decides to keep playing with anyhow. The song has Spanish flourishes, Beach Boys undertones, a big, big beat, and is belted with an exuberance that belies the lyrics. Like "Maybe I Know," "Look of Love" and many of her earlier hits, "Brink of Disaster" found us rockin' out to Lesley's reckless romantic entanglements.

The B-side, "On A Day Like Today," in which Lesley's love interest has moved on and faces stiff competition from a guy down the hall who is making a play, was like part two of Martha Reeves and The Vandellas' "Jimmy Mack." With its fierce drumming, heart-lifting horns, Association-influenced arrangement, and tough-as-nails committed vocals from LG, this track found a home on many M-O-R (middle of the road, code for adult-oriented) radio stations in fall 1967.

It is interesting to note that the session in which these songs were recorded lasted four and a half hours, yielded two complete and great recordings, and was on the radio within one month. That is unheard of today. Despite great reviews, enthusiastic feedback from radio and significant airplay in many major markets, "Brink" stalled at #82 in Billboard and #87 in Cash Box in October 1967, and is widely considered Lesley Gore's last Mercury Hot 100 chart item ("He Gives Me Love (La La La)", however, did chart in Cash Box and Record World in summer 1968).

Gore and Douglas recorded four more songs in August 1967: "Where Can I Go?," a Lesley and Michael Gore composition that paired a despairing lyric with a relentlessly cheerful melody and placed that combination in a folk-rock meets Broadway march; a re-recording of the Gores' "I'm Fallin' Down," that sounds like a very slight tweaking of the original Bob Crewe production; a second version of the touching Vietnam era ballad, "You Sent Me Silver Bells," which Gore first recorded with Quincy Jones for the OFF AND RUNNING project; and a bluesy, evocative "He Won't See the Light."

By October 1967, "Brink" was on the charts, for however brief a stay, and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield had submitted the dark, moody "Magic Colors" for Lesley's consideration. They had previously created two heavily played Coca Cola commercials for Lesley, and they were right on time with "Magic Colors." In the inspired hands of Gore and Douglas, the downbeat rocker introduced Spanky and Our Gang to Grace Slick in a moment of cathartic abandon and veered very close to psychedelia. Nightclub drenched versions of "To Sir, With Love," "How Can I Be Sure" and The Tokens' very Summer of Love "It's A Happening World" were sung with sensitivity and intelligence, and rounded out the MAGIC COLORS sessions.

Issued as a single in November, "Magic Colors" did receive airplay on WMCA in New York City and a few other key outlets, but failed to spark, and the consistent, cohesive brilliance of the MAGIC COLORS project was scrapped, not to see daylight until the 1994 Bear Family exhumation. MAGIC COLORS can now be savored and enjoyed in its entirety as the outstanding and wonderful "lost" Lesley Gore pop masterpiece it is, along with the rest of Lesley's superb and overlooked Mercury output, including the brilliant Gamble & Huff-Thom Bell recordings. Enjoy!
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Bear Family box set too much? 1967-1969 overview on this disc 19 July 2011
By R. Moritz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For an excellent overview, please read James' superb contribution. I just wanted to say that if you don't have the Bear Family box set and would like a sampling of Lesley's last years and sessions for Mercury Records - this is it. Nothing new outside of the box set, but a good, fine sounding compilation.

I do want to mention the booklet - great pictures and label shots and an interesting essay in the Ace style but 2 points stick out:
1. I remember reading that the record that the Beatles pointed out to producer George Martin as to how they wanted their records to sound was "She's a fool", not "It's my party". The former makes more sense as Beatles records starting with "I want to hold you hand" had a tighter sound to them as did "She's a fool". Compare the use of hand claps, for example, in both. The timeline involved would also seem more correct.
2. The booklet states under the entry for "He sent me silver bells" that Lesley never worked with composer Teddy Randazzo. True fans know that Randazzo worked with Lesley, as conductor, on several tracks for the "My town, my guy and me" lp the title track, Lesley's co-written track with her brother, "A girl in love", and another of his compositions that he had recorded earlier in 1965 with Georgia Gibbs for her Bell label lp, "Let me dream". According to the session sheets, Randazzo also conducted "Just another fool" and "The things we did last summer."

Perhaps it should have said "never worked with Teddy Randazzo in the producer's seat."

Nevertheless, a superbly reproduced and excellent collection on the later Mercury recordings of Lesley Gore.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Wide-Eyed Wonder 1 Oct 2011
By Lee Armstrong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Lesley Gore's "Magic Colors" set is essential listening for those who have connected with her music. Her Ever Since CD was amazing with its jazz emphasis and Lesley's voice mellowing with age, at times resembling Nina Simone. This set of what is to me new material offers its share of gems. The title track is a tight pop nugget penned by Neil Sedaka that sounds like a sunny gem that fit nicely into the musical landscape of 1967, when it was recorded. Lesley's brother Michael found his greatest successes writing music for "Fame," but he penned "Where Can I Go" with his sister which has a wide-eyed wonder in the music contrasted with its breakup lyric, "Every night I turn off the light wondering when it will end; I stay awake, what a mistake, the tortured hours I spend." "On a Day Like Today" has a lovely sunny sound. "Summer & Sandy," which was not a successful follow-up to "California Nights," nevertheless has a sunny charm with the female chorus of background vocals floating delightfully out of one speaker while the majority of the instrumental punch flows from the other. For me, "Small Talk" was a track on an album by Gary Lewis & the Playboys that I'd pick up the needle and repeat. Lesley's version of the sunny flirtation is lovely. Her pairing with Gamble & Huff On "Take Good Care of My Heart" adds a fierceness to vocals that suits her well. Lesley and brother Michael paid homage to one of her favorite singers (and mine), Laura Nyro, with "Ride a Tall White Horse." Lesley released her version of Laura Nyro's "Wedding Bell Blues" the same month as the 5th Dimension's. This disc has numerous gems that deserve air time. Enjoy!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Magic treasures 13 Sep 2011
By Jim Andrews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mercury's botching of Lesley's later years with the label are fully paraded in this splendid new issue. By the time she'd recorded "Magic Colors" she was quite a different artist from the girl who had sung "It's My Party." And she was selecting challenging, adventurous music recorded with all the detail and care she and Quincy Jones and her later artistic team had been known for. But instead of advertising Gore aggressively as that different kind of artist, Mercury just kept releasing singles with no distinct publicity campaigns behind them. So the public wasn't aware she had evolved "someplace else now" and that she was putting out there intriguing and timely music. A pity, a real pity, because these later tracks represent some of her finest work. The fact Mercury canned the "Magic Colors" L.P. because the label didn't get action on the single tells all. Mercury's head was still in the singles pile; other labels had moved to focusing on albums. Ten years earlier, after an amazing run year after year after year of double-sided hits M-G-M Records' Joni James had figured out that hit singles always run out at some point but a singer who knows how to create fabulous albums can have a sure future. So Joni the Queen of the Juke Box became Joni the Princess of Albums and M-G-M made a fortune. By comparison, Mercury just never showed up for Lesley's party.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Magic Colors Shows Gore Can Handle All Types of Music -- Excellent Compilation 29 May 2014
By Jake J. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The failure to release the long-awaited "Magic Colors" album in 1967 was due to the fact that the single "Magic Colors" did not chart. The song was melodic enough, but Lesley's career had stalled as a result of the disastrous Bob Crewe release of "Summer and Sandy" as follow-up to the massive hit "California Nights".

Not only was I shocked and dismayed when I first heard "Summer and Sandy", I knew the song would go nowhere. It has been correctly commented on over the years as being "tootsie-frootsie" in an era -- 1967 -- that was dominated by serious artists.

There is no question that Lesley Gore was a serious artist. In fact, Gore had the voice of the 1960s. Always on tune, precise, and strong. Every reviewer takes note of Gore's strong delivery and the power contained within her voice. She was the standard that other artists had to measure up to to be taken seriously in the 1960s.

So, how and why was the syrupy "Summer and Sandy" released, and why did it have such a deleterious effect on the rest of Lesley's career? The opening "boo-doo"s were almost a slap in the face to pop music aficianados and certainly the "boo-doo-boo-doo-boop-boop-be-do-do"s were out of place in 1967. A chorus of girls doing this before the song starts was an insult to radio stations and thus, the song never made it into the charts. It's #67 rating on Billboard for one week was the result of stations rushing to accept the next Gore single -- without listening to it -- because "California Nights" had been such a resounding success, selling in excess of a million copies. Some argue that "California Nights", in fact, was Lesley's best selling 45.

If "Summer and Sandy" could be erased, we would have several years more of Lesley Gore material that would have hit the uppermost rungs of the charts. "Small Talk" was a gem and Billboard predicted it would go top twenty. Radio stations were still smarting from the release of "Summer and Sandy", however, and were not so willing to program a Lesley Gore song, because her image was now of an early 60s washed up teen idol. The power of one bad song to entirely break a career is devastating, but that's what happened.

The songs Gore kept recording for Mercury were among the best of her career, and certainly better than what other artists were releasing. "He Gives Me Love" should have cracked the top twenty, and, in concert, with "Small Talk" and "It's A Happening World" given Lesley a chance to change her image again with the release of the powerful Philadelphia "northern soul" singles "Take Good Care" and "I'll Be Standing By". Gore handles these Gamble and Huff classics like a champion and no one else, not even Aretha herself, could do a better job at this than Gore. Without preconceived ideas and prejudices, Lesley Gore would have continued to have marketable hits. "Wedding Bell Blues" would undoubtedly been her hit. (Just like "Groovy Kind of Love" should have been a #1 song by Lesley -- her producers kept wrecking her career.)

While Bob Crewe wrote a few good songs for her (see the "California Nights" album) he was to destroy her career by the disastrous "Summer and Sandy" and later songs that he wrote for her on his own label, Crewe. The Crewe singles were bad. This was not the Lesley Gore of "California Nights" and "Take Good Care".

With the exception of one song, this album is a collection of powerful songs sung by Gore in a snappy pop style, and still foremost in all Gore recordings is her voice. Truly magical. Lesley Gore was a true musical genius, and you can hear this genius on the tracks of this album.

Anyone wanting to understand the 1960s, should own their own copy of "Magic Colors". These songs need to be heard and loved. They are worthy of it, and it's about time the world started giving Lesley Gore her due for all the wonderful songs she sang and recorded.
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