Lesley Gore

Magic Colors: The Lost Album

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A cautionary note is in order before you jump to possible conclusions based on this compilation's title. There was indeed a Lesley Gore album titled Magic Colors, whose release was canceled around late 1967, and the ten tracks that would have comprised it form the basis of this 25-song compilation. However, all 25 of these cuts have been released. In fact most of them (including seven of the ten tracks on the canceled LP) were released back in the late '60s, although four had to wait until a 1994 German box set to see the light of day. So this is really more of an anthology of Gore's late-'60s recordings (with most of the bonus cuts taken from 1968-1969 singles) than it is the unearthing of a "lost," or at least unheard, album by the singer. None of the tracks were substantial hits, and find Gore in something of a dilemma as she tried to maintain her career in the era's radically changing music climate. Her voice and persona were so ideally suited to the girl group style -- and to the more innocent and girlish side of the girl group genre, at that -- that she simply couldn't make as much of an artistic or commercial impact when moving into more mature, diverse pop sounds. That wouldn't be as much of an issue had her material been as strong as it had been a few years earlier, but it wasn't, except when she sang hits (like "To Sir with Love" and, on her final Mercury single, Laura Nyro's "Wedding Bell Blues") that were strongly identified with bigger and better hit versions by other artists. What we're left with is a collection of soft pop/rock, or rock-influenced pop vocals, that just can't measure up to the best of her earlier work in memorability, even as her voice was intact and she made attempts to branch into mild blue-eyed soul. It might be of primary interest to the most serious of Gore fans, but it's not without its decent tracks. The 1967 single "Summer and Sandy" stands out as an engaging good-time number that might have been a sizable hit had the breaks gone her way; "I Can't Make It Without You" has a bit of the orchestrated melodrama that had distinguished vintage Gore hits like "You Don't Own Me"; her own "Ride a Tall White Horse" (written with brother Michael Gore) shows a heavy Laura Nyro influence; and the three tracks produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were the most concentrated attempts to push her in a soul direction, most successfully on "Look the Other Way." Another of the stronger tracks, the bittersweet ballad "One by One," has the distinction of being co-written by Howard Liebling and a young Marvin Hamlisch, the same team responsible for her "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:44
2 2:39
3 1:58
4 2:25
5 2:29
6 3:11
7 2:07
8 2:26
9 2:56
10 3:54
11 2:57
12 2:16
13 2:57
14 2:52
15 2:39
16 3:08
17 2:21
18 2:13
19 2:27
20 2:35
21 2:36
22 2:54
23 2:29
24 3:08
25 2:34
blue highlight denotes track pick