Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. – 1977 – The Two of Us
After leading the 5th Dimension through a string of hits during the Sixties and stepping out as duo and winning a Grammy in 1976 for You Don’t Have To Be A Star, the second duets album by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. was eagerly anticipated. THE TWO OF US was released in 1977 and pretty much followed the format of the duo’s first, even though TWO OF US was produced by former Motown hit maker Frank Wilson. The album found the duo creating musical magic on songs supplied by some of the best songwriters of the late Seventies. The album arrived in record stores at an important time in Marilyn and Billy’s career as they were about to star in their own CBS-TV summer variety show and they were busy performing in some of the country’s finest nightclubs and concert halls. Disco was just starting to really heat up and uptempo songs were the highlights of this album. Look What You’ve Done To My Heart and My Very Special Darling were joyful, upbeat and rhythmic with the former being the lead off single from the album, returning the duo to the Pop Top 40. Marilyn McCoo had grown more even more distinctive as a stylist and her lush and honeyed tones blended beautifully with her husband’s soulful singing. Although the uptempo tunes were showcased, it was the album’s many ballads including Wonderful, My Reason To Be and The Two Of Us the real stunners here.
A1 Look What You’ve Done to My Heart 3:55
A2 Wonderful 4:47
A3 My Reason to Be Is You 4:57
A4 My Very Special Darling 5:48
B1 Nightsong 6:06
B2 The Times 4:04
B3 The Two of Us 3:48
B4 In My Lifetime 3:39
B5 Hard Road Down 3:05
The Two of Us, released in 1977 by the husband and wife duo of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. was their second studio album.
The duo was at the height of their popularity. Their first album, I Hope We Get to Love in Time, was certified gold for sales and received a Grammy Award. A single from the album, “You Don’t Have to Be a Star”, topped the Billboard Hot 100. This led to a 1977 CBS summer variety series appropriately called The Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. Show. Their follow-up album, The Two of Us, has now been re-issued by Real Gone Music in an expanded version.
The couple will always be associated with The 5th Dimension, for whom they were the lead singers on many of their hits. Songs such as “Up, Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “One Less Bell to Answer,” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” were some of the best and most successful songs of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Two of Us may not have the highs of their debut but is consistently good as it presents their brand of smooth pop and R&B well. Their voices are a good example of opposites attracting, as McCoo’s is just about pure pop, while Davis’ has a soulful feel to it. Together they play off of one another to create a sound somewhat different sound from that of The 5th Dimension.
They are a little better when in an upbeat mode. “Look What You’ve Done to My Heart” and “My Very Special Feeling” have some pep and allow their voices to intertwine and shine. Ballads such as “Wonderful”, “My Reason to Be Is You” and the title track put the focus more on their individual voices.
The four bonus tracks were all part of single releases and never included on any album until now. The songs “I’m So Glad I Found You” and “There’s Got to Be a Happy Ending” were alternate B-sides to the single “I Hope We Get to Love in Time” and are interesting for their autobiographical nature. The final two tracks, “Three Steps from True Love” and “Light a Candle”, formed a rare Davis solo single and are different from the rest of the album in that his voice has a gritty nature, which is more apparent when not surrounded by other voices.
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. continue to perform and tour together and The Two of Us remains emblematic of their style and sound. They did not change pop music but their brand of smooth pop and soul made it a bit more enjoyable.