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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tunesmith and The Artists, 7 April 2010
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This review is from: Magic Garden (Audio CD)
I've had the LP since I was a young teenager. I loved the music of Jimmy Webb and the singing of 5th Dimension; here they were together in a "symphonic" setting. This is not just a 60's pop record but a musical journey beginning with a Prologue and ending with an Epilogue with beautiful little gems of instrumental interludes dividing the songs and echoing the music of the opening question "Have you tried Love?". Unlike the Beatles, Van Dyke Parks or Frank Zappa who also brought out concept-LPs in the late 60's, Mr. Webb let others do the performing. And in this case, one of the top harmony vocal groups of that day; perfection was their goal. The instrumental writing, all arranged by Webb which won him a Grammy award, is the sound which Brian Wilson ("Let's Go Away for A While"), Bacharach, Herb Albert, musical-comedy composers, and others used then: a musical signature of the time. Trumpet solo, groovy strings, organ, swinging rhythms, latin percussion.

It's a record about Love and the belief that Love between people would make the world a better place. The "Magic Garden" is the place where this exists. Each song is an ode to this belief and says something about the state of mind of that generation. The lyrics are about losing or searching for Love. This LP was misplaced in the 60's due to all the hype around the masterwork, "Sgt. Peppers". But the songs of "Magic Garden" are still sung today by hundreds of artists, especially the unforgettable, "The Worst that Could Happen". "Paper Cup" has such a unique pop rhythm and power, that it's in a field all its own. "Carpet Man" is an upbeat rock song with a unique melodic line in question/answer format between high and low voices. "Orange Air" is fabulous. And the emotion pouring out of all the solo-vocals is heart-wrenching. If you like the Inkspots, Temptations, Four Freshmen or Beach Boys, you'll love the rich-harmony singing of the 5th Dimension. No one could sing higher than them.

The CD itself is excellently re-mastered with a warm sound. The booklet has historic photos of the group, excellent background info, and a great interview with Mr. Webb. And...."Ticket to Ride" is put on as an addendum, as it never really belonged in the song-cycle; it was a commercial demand by the record company. Thank you Revola! Stellar. Now I can finally hear the music without the scratches of my 40 year old LP. A forgotten souvenir of the 60's.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good performances, strange songs. Worth listening to, every once in awhile..., 4 Jun 2007
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This review is from: Magic Garden (Audio CD)
The main reason I wanted to hear this album was to listen to some of Jim Webb's early songs. Webb is one of the strangest and one of the most fascinating songwriters in pop music. This album, produced by Bones Howe (who engineered the early Mamas & Papas' recordings), was arranged and conducted by Webb. The 5th Dimension had earlier scored big with Webb's "Up, Up And Away."

All of the songs were written by Webb except for a cover of John Lennon & Paul McCartney's standard "Ticket To Ride." The best known song, aside from "Ticket To Ride," is Webb's "The Worst That Could Happen," which later became a smash hit for the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is not an album I can easily take to - it reminds me of the big production extravaganzas Webb created for Richard Harris ("MacArthur Park"). You can listen to it once in awhile, but repeated listenings signify possible danger-to-self ideation. Listening to "The Magic Garden," these thoughts come to my mind: I imagine sitting cross-legged in front of a window sill, my head resting on my arms. It is a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I'm looking out at the falling rain and contemplating what a shambles my life has become. The love relationship gone awry, the plane missed by just a moment. The sadness that comes from having brushed "The Secret" or "The Answer" with my fingertips just before it eluded my full grasp...up, up, and away!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet love-songs and witty reflections on love, 27 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Magic Garden (Audio CD)
Sweet love-songs and witty reflections on love and the everlasting mystery of it all... woven together into a harmonic whole, the album is one of my all-time favourites, and took American music to a new level when it was first produced (that's a while ago now). It just puts it all together really well. If you're a romantic (a Pisces like me, perhaps), buy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars MAGICAL 60S SOUNDS, 29 Jan 2014
This review is from: Magic Garden (Audio CD)
GREAT ALBUM THAT CONJOURS UP THE SUMMER OF 67 .GREAT VOCAL HARMONYS.IT IS NOT WIDELY KNOWN THAT THIS ALBUM WAS FOUND ON NICK DRAKES TURNTABLE THE DAY HE WAS FOUND DEAD.RECOMMENDED
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best That Could Happen, 11 Oct 2011
This review is from: Magic Garden (Audio CD)
This album is fabulous (with the exception of Ticket to Ride)and I would recommend it to anyone. I used to sing Pattern People (not on this album) to my 2 year old daughter in the bath. She is now 16 and a full 5th Dim convert. Her favourite and my favourite 5th Dim song of all time is Orange Air (on this album).
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