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Diana Ross (1970)

Diana Ross

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Album Review

The 2002 reissue of Diana Ross' debut solo album (initially released as Diana Ross and later reissued as Ain't No Mountain High Enough), which contains eight bonus tracks, seven of them previously unreleased commercially, demonstrates that Ross and her record label, Motown, tried various approaches to her launch before settling on a record made up almost entirely of songs written and produced by the team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. Even as completed, the original LP still contained one recording, "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You," co-written and produced by Johnny Bristol, who also made a vocal appearance on the track. Bristol had performed the same duties on "Someday We'll Be Together," originally slated to be Ross' debut single, but released instead as a Supremes record in the fall of 1969, when it topped the charts. Ross also spent time in the studio with Bones Howe, producer of the 5th Dimension, and the four bonus tracks included here suggest an interesting alternate LP debut in which she covers two Laura Nyro songs, "Stoney End" and "Time and Love," as well as a song that Howe later cut for a hit on the 5th Dimension, "Love's Lines, Angles and Rhymes," and a moody, reflective Jimmy Webb tune, "The Interim." The Bristol track sounds like old Motown, and the Howe tracks sound very different; ultimately, Ross (or Motown, or both) rejected their takes on the solo Ross in favor of Ashford & Simpson, who had her remake some of their old songs for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, notably "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," which went on to become one of her biggest hits. That makes for a happy ending, and the original album remains impressive, but this version provides fascinating insight into alternative sounds for the solo Diana Ross.

Customer Reviews

Ain't No Mountain High Enough For this album!

Diana can sing, and her best song is Aint NO Mountain High Enough. She needs to make another album and quick!

Her Strongest

Her strongest album by far...almost every track is a winner. I listen to it over and over. Keep an Eye and Dark Side of The World are especailly surprising. Ashford & Simpson's production on this one is very lush with first rate orchestration and a Diana who never sounded better. It seems like A&S really knew how to push and augment her vocal constraints. The bonus tracks also rise above the usual filler - Love's Lines is an interesting counterpoint to the better known 5th Dimension version. If you end up digging this album see if you can get your hands on Valerie Simpson's solo work for Motown - it really informs this CLASSIC album.

The beginning of a beautiful collaboration

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson do for Diana Ross what no other producers have ever been able to do, transfer the voice of Diana's live performances into recorded artistry. Ashford and Simpson are to Diana Ross what Burt Bacharach and Hal David were to Dionne Warwick. Ashford and Simpson consistently provide Diana with solid material of which she seems fully engaged in performing, arrangements that don't overwhelm, and musical support that allow Diana to shine in the brightest possible light. All these elements are on display in this collection (tracks 1-11). This CD, Diana's solo debut, along with their "Surrender" project, and finally, the masterpiece that is "The Boss," are an essential listening trilogy for any present or future Ross fan and is the beginning of a beautiful collaboration between Miss Ross and the best songwriter/producers of her solo career.

Biography

Born: March 26, 1944 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a solo artist, Diana Ross is one of the most successful female singers of the rock era. If you factor in her work as the lead singer of the Supremes in the 1960s, she may be the most successful. With her friends Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Barbara Martin, Ross formed the Primettes vocal quartet in 1959. In 1960, they were signed to local Motown Records, changing their name to the Supremes in 1961. Martin then left, and the group continued as a trio. Over the next eight years, the Supremes...
Full Bio