Blue Magic – 1975 – 13 Blue Magic Lane

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Blue Magic is a true ‘soul’ group!

After 25 years of listening to them, I am finally collecting their albums! The standout track is ‘What’s come over me‘ (featuring Margie Joseph). The interaction between Ms. Joseph and Blue Magic’s lead singer was something that stuck back in ’75. An underrated group and album that I consider is one of the most important in soul funk area.

The Group

Theodore Ted “Wizard” Mills – lead

Keith “Duke” Beaton – tenor

Wendell Sawyer – baritone

Vernon Sawyer – tenor, baritone

Richard Pratt – bass

Tracks

A1. Loneliest House on the Block 5.07
A2. Chasing Rainbows 4.11
A3. Born on Halloween 3.17
A4. Haunted (By Your Love) 3.03
A5. I Like You 3.14
B1. Magic of the Blue 2.56
B2. We’re on the Right Track 5.45
B3. Stop and Get a Hold of Yourself 5.18
B4. What’s Come Over Me with Margie Joseph 4.26

 

Biography

Blue Magic, an R&B vocal quintet whose members were Theodore Mills, Vernon Sawyer, Wendell Sawyer, Keith Beaton, and Richard Pratt, was formed in Philadelphia and signed to Atlantic Records in 1973. They hit the Top 40 of the R&B singles chart with their first three 45s before breaking through and crossing over with “Sideshow,” released in April 1974, which went gold, topped the R&B charts, and became a Top Ten pop hit. “Three Ring Circus,” their next single, made the R&B Top Ten and the pop Top 40. Blue Magic had two more R&B chart singles in 1975 and four in 1976 before suffering a career slump, but they returned with R&B chart singles in 1981 and 1983 and made a comeback album, From Out of the Blue, in 1989.

The Reviews

1

From a 70s group harmony soul perspective, single lp choice, as difficult as choosing, “The Champ” lp, this album is “last man standing” when the smoke finally clears. There are a number of finalists who make the cut to the “Battle Royale” finals, but when the “points” or “knockout” decisions are in, from a pure “sweet soul” persepctive, this lp ekes out victory over heavyweight albums by The Delfonics, Soul Generation, The Stylistics, Jimmy Briscoe & The Little Beavers & others. The pairing of the legendary Theodore “Ted, The Wizard” Mills, with the production legends at Sigma Sound (Philly), Vince Montana, Bobby Eli, Norman Harris, Earl Young, and the like, created a ballad and uptempo masterpiece album that presents extreme difficulty when seeking to get by, on the road to the Championship. On a singular lp, ballad & uptempo, matching blows with “The Wizard” and group against “Spell”, “What’s Come Over Me”, “Stop To Start”, “Tear It Down”, and “Answer To My Prayer”, “Look Me Up”, “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely”, “Welcome To The Club”, in the writer’s opinion, leaves even the known, and not so well known heavyweights looking up at the lights, after having “jabbed” and “hooked” through all the “rounds”. An all time classic lp!

2

The third Blue Magic LP continues to subtly refine and expand the group’s approach. While their gossamer harmonies remain squarely at the forefront, 13 Blue Magic Lane features more pronounced club grooves than on their previous records, bowing to the inexorable shift from classic Philly soul to disco. Arranged by Norman Harris and Ron Kersey, several songs feature electronic textures that add surprisingly complementary muscle to Blue Magic‘s delicate vocals. In fact, despite the presence of sumptuous ballads like “Chasing Rainbows” and “Loneliest House on the Block,” up-tempo fare like “We’re on the Right Track” is even better. The times would later pass Blue Magic by, but for this glorious album, they were not only in lockstep with the prevailing attitudes but further ahead of the curve than any of their contemporaries.

 

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2 Comments
  • jerome green
    Posted at 23:43h, 02 June 2008 Reply

    Hi Nikos,

    Blue Magic is absolute beauty. Even though they are fairly well known, I still believe they were totally underrated in the 70s.

    Thank you for posting a gorgeous album.

    Peace, Jerome

  • artistonfire
    Posted at 03:52h, 01 May 2018 Reply

    Wowza! Recently watched the Blue Magic episode of “Unsung” and was disappointed that there was no mention of What’s Come Over Me? But – I only remembered the group’s version. Never knew they’d recorded a version with the very-much-unsung Margie Joseph. Excellente’!

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