Music Lover | Annapolis, MD | 06/07/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I finally heard this album after finding a copy for $3. I've gotta say that this album really doesn't do much for me, especially when compared to gems like "Sing HDH" "More Hits" & "Where Did Our Love Go". Out of the 3 singles ("Livin In Shame" "No Matter What Sign" & "Composer"), I would say "Composer" written by Smokey Robinson is the standout, sounding like an earlier Supremes' production. The other 2 songs sound a little too gimmicky for my tastes though they aren't terrible.
Ross sounds way out of her league on "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In". It sounds too Broadway-ish. Also, she sounds overly cute on "Let the Music Play". Dionne Warwick's version is superior. The B-sides "Will This Be the Day" & "I'm So Glad I've Got Somebody Like You" are okay, but definitely sound like b-sides.
The remake of Jerry Butler's "Hey Western Union Man" is okay but too rushed & definitely pales against the originial.
2 of the best tracks are the remake of "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted". Diana Ross sounds very good on this track. I've heard that her version may have possibly been recorded before Jimmy Ruffin's & that he insisted that the spoken intro (which is on Ross' version here) be kept off, though don't quote me on that. Also, the album filler "Discover Me" is quite good - sounds like it could have been a single.
Anyway, I finally got to hear the album. If you are unfamiliar with Supremes/Motown outside the hits, this is not a good place to start. If you are a fan who doesn't have this, I wouldn't spend too much for it. Overall, it is still listenable but there is better Supemes' music out there.
By the way, I believe this entire album is Diana Ross with background singers, though I am not entirely sure.
Late 60's Studio Album From Diana Ross And The Supremes
Ian Phillips | Bolton, Lancashire, UK | 06/14/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Diana Ross And The Supremes Let The Sunshine In album was released in mid 1969. It had originally been titled No Matter What Sign You Are and posters promoting the album were sent to record stores with that title. For some reason it was hastily re-titled Let The Sunshine In and advertising promotion for the album changed accordingly.
Tamla Motown Records always had a conveyor belt way of recording tracks by Diana Ross and the Supremes (and indeed other Motown artists). Diana Ross and the Supremes had several singles released between 1968-69 and a host of albums including Reflections (1968), Love Child (1968), Diana Ross and the Supremes Join The Temptations (1968), Diana Ross and the Supremes Live At London's Talk Of The Town (1968) to name but a few. Diana Ross and the Supremes had recorded so much material that still remians untouched to this day but what was considered by Motown to be the best of the bunch were dusted off from the vaults and assembled for the Let The Sunshine In (1969) LP.
Let The Sunshine In (1969) opens with a song written and produced by the genius Smokey Robinson. Titled The Composer it all the more surprisingly seemed to lack the immediacy and spark of their previous hit singles though was still curiously catchy in its own way. Hardly one of their best efforts though, The Composer endured only moderate record sales, creeping it's way into the lower reaches of the U.S. Top 40 charts.
I'm Living In Shame, which explored social issues of the day, returned Diana Ross and the Supremes to more solid ground and was a successful follow up to their blockbuster classic Love Child.
Ross' slightly nasal delivery that still proves stunning, really cuts through those driving musical arrangements, provided by, as always, Motown's great unsung heroes, the legendary and absolutely unbeatable Funk Brothers, I'm Living In Shame failed to follow Love Child to pole position in the charts but still swept into the Top 10, peaking at number 9.
The only other hit to be found on Let The Sunshine In (1969) was the totally stunning No Matter What Sign You Are, by far one of Diana Ross and the Supremes most overlooked classics. Ross' purely soulful delivery compliments the electric, tempo-shifting orchestrations. There's not really much to comment on Mary Wilson or Cindy Birdsong as their backing vocals were only used as decorative obligation and these were practically all Diana Ross solo efforts. On numerous tracks between 1968 - 69 neither Mary Wilson or Cindy Bridsong didn't even appear on certian tracks with backing vocal duties provided by the powerful gospel-influenced trio, The Andantes, who certainly injected a grittier edge to the Supremes sound.
(Incidentally Mary Wilson considered The Composer and No Matter What Sign You Are to be the worst ever Supremes recordings).
Amongst the scattering of album tracks there's not much to recommend it apart from the odd above average album track. Their cover version of the frequently covered EveryDay People for instance, sounds rushed, uninspired and a complete watse of opporunity. Their take on Jimmy Ruffin's What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted may come as a surprise to some that it was in fact Diana Ross and the Supremes that had actually recorded it FIRST.
Apparently Jimmy Ruffin loved the song so much he decided to record it as well. Diana Ross and the Supremes version does admittedly pale next to the more famous and now classic Jimmy Ruffin recording.
However Ross really delivers on the striking Medley - Aquarius/Let The sunshine In. Ross packs in a breathless, impressive tour de force performance that arguably even outshines the original whilst certainly proceeding to be one of the major highlights alongside the small ratio of hits to be found on the LP.
Hey Western Union Man and Will This Be The Day are standard Motown fare that are both decidely enjoyable enough even if not particularly memroable.
With A Childs Heart is a rather ghastly, sickly-sweet ballad which had originally been recorded for the slightly disjointed I Hear A Symphony (1965) album though had (sensibly) been canned only to see the light of day on this rather scrappily assembled studio collection. Exactly the same sentiments could be used for another ghastly track, Let The Music Play, a chintzy, cringefully dated showbiz tune.
Discover Me (And You'll Discover Love) was thoroughly excellent for a mere album track and though could never have been a hit was far superior to some of the more mediocre offerings on here with Ross excelling herself vocally with her stirring, beautifully understated performance that sounds at its best on the climax.
Closing the Let The Sunshine In album is the simple, easy-going though surprisingly effective I'm So Glad I Got Someone (Like You Around) with subtle backing vocals from Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong against the breathy, seamless tone of Diana Ross.
But, all in all, Let The Sunshine In is a rather disappointing , patchwork effort though it does also hold some bright spots and for the mainstream Diana Ross and the Supremes fan, this is certainly a recommended album though casual fans will probably not care for the groups reneditions of various hits of the day (What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted , Everyday People etc). Diana Ross and the Supremes were at their peak now and were no longer hitting the charts with as much sure-fire regularity as they once had. The Let The Sunshine In album climbed to a so-so No.24 on the U.S Billboard Album charts whilst failing to chart altogether in the U.K.