The Fifth Dimension

AFTER A period of time out of the recording limelight, The Fifth Dimension are back – with a new album (“Star Dancing”), a new record company – Motown Records and two new members – Mic Bell and Terri Bryant. We caught up with them briefly during a stint at the Westbury Music Fair and rapped with them on a few different topics.

MOTOWN: “We were both looking for the same thing so it was a mutually good move. The group needed a record company that would be behind us and the company wanted to have an act with a name value. So it’s a good marriage.

“Naturally, though, as with any marriage, it’s about growing and getting to know each other better.”

STAR DANCING ALBUM “Well, that was our first for Motown, as you know and it helped get our name back out there, after our absence from the record charts. But the second album, which we are working on now, will be more what we’re about artistically. It’s going to take us more in the direction we want to go.

“Possibly, one of the problems with the first one was that it was a hotch-potch – there were five different producers involved and although it’s necessary sometimes to experiment, it might be easier for us just to work with one or two people – there’s more of a flow that way. Our manager, Marc Gordon, is doing some of the things on the next album.”

FUTURE MATERIAL: “We feel that our next material will probably be more meaningful, lyrically. It’s going to have something to say. Some of the songs on the last album did that but there was no unified concept involved.

“The Fifth Dimension has always been about class and sophistication and we feel that we’re getting back to that in terms of the material we’ll be doing – it’s going to reflect that aspect of us.” NEW MEMBERS: “With the departure of Ron Townson (one of the founder members) and Marjorie Barnes, we now have Mic Bell and Terri Bryant. Terri came to the group via Danny (Beard) and he’d seen her working with Al Wilson, who’s also managed by Marc Gordon. So we all basically knew of her before and when the slot became open, she was just right for it.

“Mic had been working with Abbey Lincoln in New York and again, Marc spotted him, talked with him and told him about the prospective opening with the group and he said yes.”

FUTURE PLANS: “We’ll probably be spending a little more time in the studio than usual. You see, with having what we consider an entertaining show, we are able to work consistently, However, it isn’t just about working – it’s where you work and how often you work and those things only change with your record status.

“If you have a hit, it makes a whole lot of difference. As we want to deal with perfecting what we’ve done in the studio, instead of just rushing in and out whenever we get a minute from being off the road, it’s going to mean spending more time there. And what comes out of that will hopefully produce a hit record that will enable us to get a different perspective on how and when and where we work.”

One thing is for sure, the Fifth Dimension have established themselves as a musical institution and with the right combination of material and production, you can expect to see them right back on top of the charts.

© David NathanBlues & Soul, August 1978

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