Search - Diana Ross :: Red Hot R&B

Red Hot R&B
Diana Ross
Red Hot R&B
Genres: Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Diana Ross
Title: Red Hot R&B
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Pop, R&B
Style: Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 078635638820, 078635638844

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CD Reviews

Diana Ross' Best Album For RCA Records
Ian Phillips | Bolton, Lancashire, UK | 02/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In mid 1987, soul music legend Diana Ross released what would be her final studio album for RCA Records. Neither RCA or Ross were keen to renew contracts that were due to expire that year. Ross had signed to the RCA label in 1981 for a whopping $20,000,000. Most cynics assumed Ross would sink without the lavish care and attention her career automatically received at Motown Records, the label that had catapulted her into a world wide superstar. However most critics were forced to eat humble pie when her first self-produced album away from Motown (Why Do Fools Fall In Love;1981) became a double platinum seller whilst two other albums that were largely produced by Ross (Silk Electric;1982 and Swept Away;1984) went on to become Gold sellers.

After the surprisingly mediocre sales in the U.S of her explosive Eaten Alive (1985) album on which she had collaborated with the Gibb brothers of The Bee Gees and Michael Jackson, Ross decided to retreat to safer terriotry, returning to her roots of Rhythm And Blues to mark a celebration in black music for the dynamic Red Hot Rhythm And Blues (1987) album. This was accompanied by a spectacular television special of the same name that saw Ross tracing the origins of black music through to todays modern culture. It was great to see Ross really make a stand for her heritage. Ratings for the Red Hot Rhythm And Blues t.v special shot through the roof and the show went on to be nominated for an Emmy Award the following year.

The Red Hot Rhythm And Blues (1987) album featured the legendary soul divas' soaring reneditions of many old R&B favourites. It also boasted new songs courtesy of Ross herself as well as the divine soul singer Luther Vandross and lead singer of Simply Red, Mick Hucknall. The project was overly produced by Tom Dowd with Ross credited as Executive Producer.

The fantastic Dirty Looks was Red Hot Rhythm And Blues (1987) premier single. Listeners were stunned to hear Ross' sensational, sexually-charged and charismatic performance that sound quite fitting when listening to those mildly racy lyrics. Dirty Looks was certainly one of Ross' more succesfully adventurous offerings but commercially it served as a big disappointment to what was anticipated. In the U.K where she had recently topped the charts with the distinctley Supremes-like Chain Reaction, Dirty Looks didn't even crack the Top 40 where as it completely missed missed the U.S Top 100 (though did manage to climb to No.12 on the U.S R&B charts).

Ross, undoubtedly the queen of all divas', really hits her stride on the compelling Stranger In Paradise. Ross talk-sings in her trademark soft, evocative voice, enhancing her vocal style to stylishly electric effect on the tracks exalting chrous.

The great Mick Hucknall of Simply Red (who Ross is said to be a big fan of) wrote the rolling Shine. From the swinging, uptown R&B arrangements to the effective, thrashing guirtar interludes on the chrous, Shine was further complimented by an impressive, strikingly husky performance from Ross. Shine was indeed quite progressive for its time and does emerge as one of Red Hot Rhythm And Blues highlights.

Shockwaves was co-written by Ross along with Bill Wray. This fun, bouncy, happy go-lucky number vaguely recalls her Supremes sound with its contagious musical arrangements and a cooing, upbeat performance from Ross.

Again, Ross sounds almost as she's back with The Supremes on her glorious renedition of the R&B classic, Selfish One. That yearning, niaeve sound Ross possessed when she was lead singer of The Supremes, creeps right back in on her delivery. It's on numbers like Selfish One that Ross' singing sounds so effortless.

Ross' cover version of The Bobettes 1950's classic Mr. Lee was silly but fun and lifted as the singles second single. Most critics and D.J's ridiculed the track and the track dipped at a measly No.58 on the U.K charts whilst in the U.S it was just the same old story - they just simply weren't interested! Mr. Lee failed to even embrace the U.S Top 100!

Far more impressive was her stomping renedition of Etta James' Tell Mama. Diana Ross certainly has never possessed the power and volume of a singer like Etta James but what Ross has always had is that uncanny and quite extraordinary ability to make any song she sing completely her own as what Ross does possess is a great, crystal-clear, evocative and most defintely unique sound in her unusual vocal style. Ross puts in a solid, rip-roaring performance on Tell Mama which would have made Etta James proud!

Her renedition of The Drifters' There Goes My Baby is refreshing from its divine musical arrangements to Ross' exhilirating vocal delivery. Her cover of Leonard Cohens' Summertime is startlingly haunting and atmospheric. Ross' beautifully soft, exuberant vocal delivery is overflowing with charm, style and finesse and this emerges as another of the albums highlights.

Cross My Heart is another stunning and sensational ballad with Ross' shimmering vocals perfectly complimenting the sweeping orchestrations. whilst the wonderful Luther Vandross-produced number It's Hard For Me To Say has a more poignant edge. This was Ross' first real heartbreak ballad in quite sometime. The exotic, impeccably mellow musical arrangements are mesmerising.

Red Hot Rhythm And Blues then winds down with one last ballad Tell Me Again where Ross' classy vocal style coats the dazzling, tempo-shifting arrangements. Tell Me Again was lifted as an American single but this too failed to hit the Hot 100.

Though the Red Hot Rhythm And Blues television spectacular was a huge success, this album surprisingly only had lukewarm sales, literally crawling into the lower reaches of the U.K and U.S Top 75 Album Charts. Never the less Red Hot Rhythm And Blues is ESSENTIAL to any Diana Ross fan. Despite its disappointing outcome commercially, Red Hot Rhythm And Blues stands as something of an over-looked classic.

Ian Phillips

Her best album from the 80's but not this version
Constantin Declercq | 03/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Two different releases of this album are available:
1) the EMI European/Japanese release with 12 songs and «Dirty looks» clocking at 3:20. Two songs are only available on this version: «Mr. Lee» and «Tell mama».
2) the RCA US version with 10 songs and «Dirty looks» in a 4:10 different mix.

This album is really wonderful. «Dirty looks» is one of her sexiest songs, like «Love hangover» in 1976, the ballads «There goes my baby» and «Summertime» capture the magic of her fragility, «Stranger in paradise» is haunting and mysterious, «Shine» and «Shockwaves» are 100% delicious swing. The production by sound engineer Tom Dowd, who worked with Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin during their Atlantic years, is flawless."
Tepid "Rhythm and Blues"
Eso | Oakdale | 02/15/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"La Ross' fifth RCA album was a rather uneven set although it did make attempts at what was considered at the time "modern R & B". Fashioned after Tina Turner's "Typical Male", the first single "Dirty Looks" reached #12 on the R & B chart but failed to make the inroads at Top Forty that Turner's "Typical Male" did. It was only 4 years prior to this that Ross who was still at the top her game in the industry dispensed unsolicited counsel to Turner prior to her breakthrough in the United States with her "Private Dancer" set about such trifle matters as clothing, hair and makeup. "Do this, Tina - you will look better". All this was recounted in the life story of Tina Turner in so far as how little it mattered to Tina and how Tina was unreceptive to La Ross' suggestions. In a strange karmic twist, Ross would later take a page from the Turner playbook when she aped the vibe of "Typical Male" on "Dirty Looks". I guess the music and not the hair or other aspects of attire are what really matters after all, and clearly Diana, who was said to have been floundering musically with those albums for RCA, was indeed at a loss for direction. Her last set "Eaten Alive" was the one where things started to go awry in the United States. The fact that the worldwide smash "Chain Reaction" could not even translate into a Top 40 American hit started to show that Ross' appeal was starting to erode.By today's standards, "Red Hot Rhythm and Blues",which clocks in at a very unsatisfying 38 minutes and 12 seconds brings to mind the staggeringly brief half-hearted opus by another diva of today Whitney Houston: her "Just Whitney" plays for that amount of time as well."Red Hot Rhythm and Blues" would stall at a disappointing #73 on the United States Billboard Hot 200 Pop Albums chart and would not even yield one Hot 100 Pop single. The album was produced by the now deceased Tom Dowd and for the most part was even less of an entity than her three previous RCA albums which may not have been utterly enjoyable across the board, but had more memorable moments."Shockwaves" which seems to have been modeled after "Chain Reaction" from 1985's "Eaten Alive" is rendered abdurd by Ross' ridiculous adlib "BRRRRRRRRRR". Was it cold that day in the studio, Diana? Mark S. Cawley, who would later work with Taylor Dayne on her 1993 set "Soul Dancing" co-wrote the number. "Tell Me Again" was as equally dull as some of the other filler that made it on to the previous set "Eaten Alive". Luckily, there were a couple of shining moments. "Shine", the Mick Hucknall/Simply Red cut is given more of a sheen by Ross whose delivery makes it better than the original. The music is tighter and seems less overwrought and grating than the original. Ross brings more soul to the song with her supple vocal which is well-suited to jazzy-pop. Another gem is "Stranger in Paradise", which because of its its immediately following "Dirty Looks" would seem to have indicated that Ross was going in the direction of modern R & B. "Stranger in Paradise" is a cool-relax modern R and B number. The other highlight of the set is "Summertime" on which Ross sparkles. This is perhaps one of Ross' finest vocals. It is an understated delivery classy and airy delivery which compliments a song about about the simple yet understated joys of the delicacies of summertime we all await - it is a tender aural bath that brings to mind what the first tastes and breaths and feelings of summer. Ross' voice also plays well off the orchestral arrangement of the song. There are a few gems to make this - like every Ross release - worth your time."