Lee McDonald – 1981 – Sweet Magic
Sweet Magic by Lee McDonald is one of the rarest soul albums of all time, with originals commanding upwards of 300 pounds. While recorded in Brooklyn, New York in the late 70’s, the label says it was released in 1981 on the tiny ‘Debbie’ imprint out of New Jersey & stands up well against anything recorded at that time. Includes great cover versions of Ecstasy, Passion & Pain’s ‘I’ll Do Anything For You‘ & The Carpenters ‘We’ve Only Just Begun‘, which have been Modern Soul classics for many years.
Also notable are ‘Show Me‘ & ‘Gotta Get Home‘ where Mr. McDonald lets loose & really gets down. In a way this sums up the aura of the record, which has proved to be almost the Holy Grail to many soul collectors who can now acquire the album on a remastered CD. Soul Brother Records. 2002.
A1 Sweet Magic 3:19
A2 Slow Down 2:29
A3 We’ve Only Just Begun 3:10
A4 Let’s Play Luck 3:47
B1 I’ll Do Anything For You 3:22
B2 Show Me 6:12
B3 Gotta Get Home 4:27
B4 Sweet Magic (Instrumental)3:16
Extremely rare 1981 modern soul.
The album stands up well against anything recorded at that time, including the great cover versions of Ecstasy, Passion & Pain’s “I’ll Do Anything for You” and The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun“. which have been modern soul classics for many years. But listen to the other songs, notably “Show Me” and “Gotta Get Home“, when Lee McDonald really gets down. In a way, this sums up the aura of the record, which has proved to be almost the Holy Grail to many soul collectors. Hopefully the cd release will expose this music to a much greater number of soul aficionados than those lucky (and rich) enough to have heard it before.
McDonald’s birth name, Cleveland Parker, was later changed to Lee McDonald. He later resumed using his birth name and goes under that name presently. He started singing at the age of 13 in his church choir, school talent shows and on street corners. Always admiring singers such as Smokey Robinson and Four Tops, his main influence was Cuba Gooding, lead singer of the R&B group Main Ingredient. Lee went to New York in 1969 and sang in nightclubs and hotels. He also sang with many local bands. Recording a demo with a group called August Heat was when he met Ron Foster who would eventually produce, write and arrange his first professional recording. His last recording with Ron Foster was a seven song 12″ vinyl LP which was released in 1981 on Debbie Records (located in Paterson, New Jersey).
All songs are published by Trace Back Publishing also under the umbrella of Debbie Records with the exception of two cover songs, “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “I’ll Do Anything for You.” Other titles on the LP include “Sweet Magic,” “Slow Down,” “Gotta Get Home,” “Show Me,” “Let’s Play Luck,” and an instrumental version of “Sweet Magic.”