Beyond the 5th Dimension

5th Dimension’s Superhits starts off an mp3 collection that also includes Rare Earth; Ides of March; Sugarloaf; Colosseum; Ten Wheel Drive; and Yellow Balloon. A very mixed blast from my past. Superhits is an all too short completion of 5th Dimension’s radio singles. The strongest of which were their Laura Nyro (genius) covers. But what I remember best is their costumes. Clothes that were so over-the-top the songs became secondary to what they were wearing – so secondary in fact they were never taken seriously as musicians or singers. Slick commercial packages were the thing then (that hasn’t really changed mind you).

Fun aside: for many years I would find The Byrds: 5D – Fifth Dimension filed with the Fifth Dimension’s lps in record stores & sometimes vice versa. I suppose in some ways they were interchangeable: feel good bands in wild costumes. 5th never embraced country the way The Byrds did, though Marlyn McCoo did give it a try as her career faded after Solid Gold.

Rare Earth, perhaps best remembered for ‘I Just Want to Celebrate,’ are still active!! Here I have early lps: Anthology, Get Ready, Fill Your Head, Ecology: a horn driven r’n’b, nearly prog-rock band, they produced solid, elevated bar music that rocks with some memorable tunes. Ides of March: Vehicle – is another horn-driven band sounding like Blood, Sweat & Tears (BST) that managed one bit hit: Vehicle. More of that US jazzy prog-rock with tracks like Symphony for Eleanor (Rigby).

Then there’s Colosseum: with their album Ides of March – not to be confused with the above. Another early 70’s US, jazzy prog-rock, horn band that I only added when I found them while looking for the band Ides of March. A happy discovery mind you. I didn’t realized BST had spawned so many imitators.

Another one hit wonder is Sugarloaf: anyone recall Green-Eyed Lady? A slightly folksier version of Grand Funk Railway – this is fine bar music with solid singing, horns & over-riding masculinity. The reverse is Ten Wheel Drive’s Construction. Lots of horns, jazzy soul but with powerhouse Genya Ravan as lead singer. She was groomed replace Janis Joplin & has the voice to do it but stepped back from the star machine. The band is more jazz than BST, the music more bluesy than pop. I have more of their lps tucked away in other mp3 collections. Genya Ravan is a seminal force for female rockers.

Finally Yellow Balloon: as light as their name. Association/Beach Boys harmonies & a solid, over-looked treat. This ended up here thanks to going Up Up & Away in my yellow balloon. The group is notable for featuring Don Grady of My Three Sons fame.

The Night’s Wash

Was that weeping?

John pulled his thin blankets tighter around him. One thing the horse was good for was to keep him warm. It was colder now than it had been. A shred of smoke hung over his fire.

A sound had brushed his ear and pulled him awake. He rolled carefully onto his back. No sound, just the wind, leaves rustled.

He could smell something though. Something not horse. Something … he heard the sound again. A bit of  whimper. Not human.

He pulled his legs up close to him. His eyes squinted into the dark but made out nothing. Just the few trees, stars above.

The smell. What was that smell?

A wet touched his ear. He bolted to his feet and fell back over his saddle bag, his feet tangled in rope.

‘Oh Lord no. Not like this.’

His scream echoed and faded. He caught his breath. On his back. Looking up at the sky.

Movements. Something moved around him now. Heavy. Plodding. What should he do. Curl up into a ball? Play dead?

It was real. Finally real. Not a dime novel about facing down a bear but a real bear. It was a bear. It had to be.

Wet on his cheek. His forehead. More wet.


It was rain. A crack of lightening lit the clearing around him.


He could feel his heart as it slowed down.

What did he have to catch the rain in? Something. His cup and dish wouldn’t hold much. Could he fill the canteen. He’d left the spare with the horse. Empty.

Would there be enough rain to wash. Could he wash here in the night.

He peeled of his dusty cloths and hung them on branches. Chilled to the bone he rubbed a piece of cloth around his shoulders and down. Cold and clean. It felt good. The midnight rain would cleanse him. Purify him.

He couldn’t see through the rain.

God was good. This was good. The good new land would take him and care for him. He knew it would.

The paw struck him on the buttock and sent him into the brush.


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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

November 1-30

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