A Classic Diana Ross Studio Album
Ian Phillips | Bolton, Lancashire, UK | 02/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By 1976 Soul Diva Diana Ross had a river of No.1 hit titles, Movies, Television Specials and spectacular Concerts to her credit.
However Ross hadn't had a major chart hit since 1973's divine classic, Touch Me In The Morning. Black music was steering into different directions with Soul music divulging into Disco and in some aspects Ross' recording career had lost course.
That changed in 1975 when the classic Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To) catapulted to the top of the charts. This epic ballad with its sweeping musical arrangements and an almost dreamy yet compelling performance from Ross was written and produced by the genius Michael Masser. The track really is a masterpiece and that classic interlude at the climax of the song is breathtaking. For some odd reason, Theme From Mahogany was not nominated for a Grammy Award despite its cross-Atlantic success though after strong protest it was deservedly added yet still failed to win. Even so, Theme From Mahogany rightfully remains one of Ross' key classics and became the opening number on this excellent 1976 studio LP.
Diana Ross had an uncanny and effortless flair for ballads and nobody could quite convey such warmth and genuine emotion as she could. I Thought It Took A Little Time (But Today I Fell In Love) is another example of her unique expertise. This exotic and exalting ballad is enhanced by Ross' delicate but effective vocal performance and was written and produced by Michael Masser. The track surprisingly faltered within the lower reaches of the Top 40, probably as promotional priorities were suddenly turned to the albums next release, Love Hangover.
Love Hangover was quickly covered by The Fifth Dimension and issued as a single. Motown was certainly not going to let anyone outshine their leading lady and predictably rushed out Ross' version.
This exciting, tempo-shifting Disco classic saw Ross effectivley updating her sound. Never before had Ross sounded so adventurous as on Love Hangover. The track, written by Pam Sawyer and Marilyn McLeod and produced by Hal Davis (who she had worked with on her Everything Is Everything album), began in slow, sultry form, a style Ross had become accustomed to over the past few years and then wildly steers direction into red hot, compelling Disco/Funk. Ross sounds almost stark at some points in the recording even delivering a brief impersonation of legendary Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday at one point. That sort of spontaneity was what made Love hangover become one of the definitive Soul/Disco classics of the decade. Love Hangover zoomed into pole position on the charts, subsequently leaving The Fifth Dimensions less ambitious version hovering down the bottom end of the Top 100 BillBoard Charts.
Kiss Me Now, written by Gwen Gordy and Kenneth Lupper and produced by Motown boss Berry Gordy and Don Costa, is a silly but fun playful Jazz number where she even goes so far as to deliver a brief mimmick of Louis Armstrong at one point.
What makes this album stand out from a lot of her others of the 70's is that contains a cool blend of sounds and textures and the second half gets even better.
The soulful You're Good My Child stands as the best of the album tracks. Containing undertones of soft-Funk with a gentle piano backdrop and a warm Reggae beat, this startling number features Ross delivering a rich and compelling performance. You're Good My Child went onto become the flip side of her next hit single, One Love In A Lifetime.
One Love In A Lifetime is perharps in a way no more than a contemporary updating of her sound and style with The Supremes though the track is instantly infectious despite lacking the initial immediacy of Love Hangover. One Love In A Lifetime jumped to No.25 on the BillBoard Charts though bombed in the U.K.
Her cover of Ashford and Simpsons Ain't Nothin' But A Maybe, a track she produced herself, has a sassy and sexually charged performance from Ross but once again her flair for ballads is displayed on another gorgeous Michael Masser compostion, After You, where she sparkles too full effect.
The album then closes on a surprisingly unique version of Smile to which Ross excels herself, delivering a strong, passionate performance. Produced and arranged by Gil Askey (who had worked with Ross on several projects including the soundtrack to Lady Sings The Blues), Smile does show Ross' rather understated and over-looked versatility.
The Diana Ross album gels nicely together, partly as more effort seemed to be put into it than some of her other studio efforts where some like Last Time I Saw Him (1973) were flawed by mediocre "filler" and B-sides. This pleasing effort from Ross was actually conceived as a full studio project. Released in February 1976, this classy soul package became one of Ross' best sellers of the 70's, jumping into the Top 5 Albums Charts on both sides of the Atlantic as well as deservedly winning many favourable reviews from critics of the day.
I DON'T NEED NO CURE FOR THIS!
S. Quinto | Guatemala, Guatemala | 10/18/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"What a guilty pleasure is to hear Diana Ross voice, she's has the sweetest voice in the business. Her self titled album of 1976 was a definition between her adult contemporary ballads of 1973's Touch Me In The Morning, 1974's Last Time I Saw Him and the disco beats of 1979's The Boss, 1980's diana, "Love Hangover" was the first attempt for miss Ross to conquer the world of disco, and my oh my!, this is so good, more than 7 minutes of sweetly moaning and singing by Ross, a total dance classic!, "The theme from Mahogany" is one of the most mellow slowly and sweetly ballads that Diana deliver, not a personal favorite but still a classic, the delivery of two perfect pop gems like "I Thought It Took A Little Time" and "One Love In MY Lifetime" where kind and generous but didn't achieve that success that Diana deserve simply because the world was in love with Disco, I'm my humble description I must say that the other tracks that didn't became singles where jazzy ballads, a reminder of Lady Sings The Blues, that will satisfy any ballad lover in the world, overall this is an amazing masterpiece by Miss Ross, that tried to fall in the peoples taste of those years by adding a Disco track between delicious crafted pop contemporary gems, and fail to become Diana's biggest hits just because, Mahogany already came from the soundtrack, Love Hangover 12" outsold the album, and the rest of the tracks where simply not enough to sell a record. Sadly this is now hard to find in CD, but still if you can get it you will taste the talent that Diana had as a performer, and this album cover has to be one of the best she ever did."
You need that 'smile' by Diana
pascal Jouxtel | Old Europe | 07/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was specifically looking for a version of 'smile' and i remembered this one from my youth. I browsed through amazon and found also one by ... Elvis Costello ! (album : cruel smile)
I would not buy a whole CD for just one song (actually yes I would) but here you also find great songs like 'mohagony' ot 'love hangover' and otherwise lost beauties like 'I thought it took a little time... (to learn about loving)' Oh, dear, I was 16 and I was in love with my neighbor, she was 35.
this is an 'all-good' record you can play over and over.
If there is a cure for this, I don't want it !