DIANA ROSS – Baby It’s Me – (Motown) – 1977

Diana Ross - Baby Its Me

I don’t think I’m a sensitive new age male or a metrosexual though I’m well acquainted with my sensitive side and don’t mind expressing the same.

I can say I like Broadway soundtracks, film musicals, 60s girl groups, Melanie LPs and anything by Marlene Dietrich.

I am secure in my skin and feel no need to beat my chest in primordial maleness and deny those things I like.

But,

Diana Ross with her 70s disco beats and saccharine love pop funk seriously challenges my masculinity.

Well, if not that, it certainly tests my tolerance level.

And, don’t get me wrong, Diana Ross was a total babe and a diva par excellence. She was magnificent in The Supremes, but her solo material, regardless of how many units they shifted (and they shifted truck loads), was always of variable quality.

And, as time progressed it became more and more, err variable.

Wikipedia: “Diana Ernestine Earle Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer, actress and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, she rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown's most commercially successful act and is to this day America's most successful vocal group. As part of the Supremes, Ross most notably rivalled the career of The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and their success made it possible for future African American R&B and soul acts to find mainstream success…..
 
Following her departure from The Supremes in 1970, she released her debut solo album …

It is hard to imagine how popular Diana Ross was. At the time (as a kid) I knew she was popular because everyone knew her name and who she was even if they weren’t into music. Later, her records littered the record bins of op shops and that gave me some idea of her sales.

Still, sitting here, right now it’s hard to describe.

So I turn to Wikipedia: “….Ross was named the "Female Entertainer of the Century" by Billboard magazine. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles with her work with the Supremes and as a solo artist. Diana Ross has sold more than 100 million records worldwide when her releases with the Supremes and as a solo artist are tallied”.

The only contemporary comparison is Madonna and their careers aren’t wildly different.

They both transcended music, were singles based, tried their hands at feature films (unsuccessfully) and both became celebrities rather than recording artists.

This album is her eighth solo album (one was a duet album with Marvin Gaye) and unfortunately it is one which tries to keep up with the times.

Diana was never one for extending herself musically but she was a perfectionist (either naturally or by design) but on this album she seems to be just following the dominant sound of the day.

A little disco, a little soft rock, a little, funk, a little balladry.

Despite Richard Perry's slick production this musical tapas is very Berry Gordy (Motown’s owner and Svengali) who loved to cover all musical bases to make sure he got exposure to as many markets as possible).

The trouble is this: it is 1977 and none of those genres are at their peak.

Further, Diana’s strength doesn’t rely on her interpretive ability in relation to a song but rather on the quality of her exceptional voice. Unfortunately, to my ears, the quality of the voice isn’t enough if the songs are weak or the arrangements and music are rubbish.

And they are here.

Still it sold truckloads so what do I know.

Actually I know one thing: both my mates and my wife will look at me with one eyebrow raised if I put this on at home.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Gettin' Ready for Love – (Franne Golde, Tom Snow) – a slight 30s jazzy feel makes this tune a little interesting.
  • You Got It – (Linda Laurie, Jerry Ragovoy) – 70s era disco ballad crap
  • Baby It's Me – (Don Dunn, Chuck Smith) – mid tempo funk wannabe
  • Too Shy to Say – (Stevie Wonder) – despite the Stevie Wonder authorship this sounds like something distinctly from the Barbara Streisand songbook. And, on that level, it's not too bad.
  • Your Love Is So Good for Me – (Ken Peterson) – a horn driven song though the horns are squeaky like something you would find in a kids play set. This is anonymous funk for drunk law secretaries on a Friday night.
  • Top of the World – (Tom Snow) – Snow wrote songs for just about every female singer of the 70s and 80s. Slight but bouncy.
  • All Night Lover – (Jerry Ragovoy, Lenny Roberts) – like an old Supremes song but with 70s lyrics!
  • Confide in Me – (Melissa Manchester, Stanley Schwartz) – yes, that Melissa Manchester. This is dire.
  • The Same Love That Made Me Laugh – (Bill Withers) – a cover of the Bill Withers song from his 1974 album “+'Justments”. Dull.
  • Come In From The Rain – (Melissa Manchester, Carole Bayer Sager) – a cover of the Manchester song from her “Better Days & Happy Endings” album of 1976. Duller.

And …

Tape a couple and sell.
 
Chart Action
 
US
Singles
1978 Gettin' Ready For Love The Billboard Hot 100 #27
1977 Gettin' Ready For Love R&B Singles #16
1978 You Got It  R&B Singles #39
1978 You Got It  The Billboard Hot 100  #49
1978 Your Love Is So Good For Me  R&B Singles #16
1978 Your Love Is So Good For Me The Billboard Hot 100  #49
1978 Your Love Is So Good For Me (Remix)  Dance Music/Club Play Singles #30
1977 Your Love Is So Good For Me/Top Of The World  Dance Music/Club Play Singles #15

Album
1977 R&B Albums #7
1977 The Billboard 200  #18

England
Singles
1978 Gettin' Ready For Love  #23
 
Album

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/Diana_Ross/Baby_It's_Me/4605c28b-0d34-3088-8ba5-cfcd5bfd69f7/

All Night Lover
Mp3 attached

Diana Ross – All Night Lover

Others
At her peak
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izzKUoxL11E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC-MDYopSoA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_y6nFjoVp4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GtyMeEcPPE
 
Review
http://dianarossproject.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/baby-its-me-1977/
http://www.allmusic.com/album/baby-its-me-mw0000314086
 
Bio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Ross
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/diana-ross-mn0000594665/biography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Perry

Website
http://www.dianaross.de/
 
Trivia

  • Personnel includes:  Diana Ross – Vocals / Tom Scott – Saxophone / Bud Shank – Flute / Tom Snow – Piano / Patti Brooks – Vocals / Lenny Castro – Percussion / Donald "Duck" Dunn – Bass / Jim Horn – Horn / Bobby Kimball – Vocals / Steve Lukather – Guitar / Michael Omartian – Keyboards / David Paich – Keyboards, Vocals / Ray Parker, Jr. – Bass, Guitar / Ken Peterson – Synthesizer / Lee Ritenour – Guitar / Richie Zito – Guitar

 

About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on franklycollectible@gmail.com though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at http://www.franklycollectible.com Cheers
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