Entertainment Weekly - 8/01/97, p.75
"Definitive is right: These two discs collect everything you'd ever want, and perhaps more, by the premier supper-club soul combo of the '60s..." - Rating: B+
The Fifth Dimension: LaMonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo, Ron Towson, Florence LaRue Gordon, Billy Davis, Jr. (vocals).
Additional personnel includes: Ray Pohlman, Joe Osborn (guitar, bass); Al Casey, Tommy Tedesco, Mike Deasy, Mike Anthony, Fred Tacket, Rudy Stevenson, Dennis Budimir, Zavier (guitars); The Sid Sharp String Section, The Nat Brandwynne Orchestra (strings); Lanny Morgan, Pete Christlieb, Tom Scott, Jim Horn (flutes, saxophones); Ollie Mitchell, Ray Triscari, Bud Brisbois, Chuck Findlay (trumpet); Bob Edmondsen, Lew McCreary (trombone); Larry Knechtel, Jim Webb, Jimmy Rowles, Pete Jolly, Gary Illingworth, Mike O'Martian (keyboards); Andrew "Muff" White (bass); Hal Blaine (drums, percussion); Larry Bunker (percussion); The Bill Holman Strings & Brass.
Producers: Johnny Rivers, Marc Gordon, Bones Howe.
Compilation producer: Al Quaglieri.
Engineers: Bones Howe, Armin Steiner, Mic Lietz, Grover Helsley.
Includes liner notes by Mike Ragogna.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
The subtitle on this anthology is correct: this is truly the definitive collection of the 5th Dimension's music, including all the hits and most of the album cuts that anyone could want. The 20-bit digital mastering provides a crisp, bright audio experience, and the joyous harmonies bring back the positive side of the late-'60s/early-'70s era in which the songs were recorded. The megahits are all here: Jimmy Webb's "Up, Up and Away," Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Wedding Bell Blues," the Bacharach/David opus "One Less Bell to Answer," the beautiful "(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep at All," and the Grammy-winning number one smash from the spring of 1969, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" from Hair. There are "not quite Top Ten" hits like "Sweet Blindness," "Go Where You Wanna Go," "California Soul," "Workin' on a Groovy Thing," "Blowing Away," "Save the Country," and "Love's Lines, Angles, and Rhymes." What a run this quintet had on the pop charts from 1967 to 1972. This two-disc set successfully makes the case for the 5th Dimension to be remembered among the finest purveyors of pop song vocal harmony in the rock era. Baby boomers will delight at the memories this collection conjures up, and will find surprises they may have forgotten or never known: "Paper Cup," "Carpet Man," "Puppet Man," "Light Sings," and the group's medley of "The Declaration/A Change Is Gonna Come/People Gotta Be Free." Listening to Up Up and Away: The Definitive Collection is a great antidote for the blues, lifting the listener up with a smile and reminding those who may have forgotten that there once was a time when it seemed that music really could bring everyone together. ~ Jim Newsom