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Blue

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Album Review

For soul fanatics, the Motown archives are the musical equivalent to the Wonka building in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Every twist and turn is filled with the possibility of resuscitation, preservation, and in some instances surprise discoveries. Such is the case with Blue, which was supposed to be the follow-up album to Diana Ross' wildly successful Lady Sings the Blues, but was shelved when Motown maestro Berry Gordy took Ross back in a more pop direction with Touch Me in the Morning. This direction, while proving successful at the time, is unfortunate, as the performances on Blue rival (and in some instances best) the performances on Lady Sings the Blues. A few of these tracks would later see the day on other albums ("Little Girl Blue" on Touch Me in the Morning and "Smile" on Diana Ross in 1976) but with alternate vocal takes and mixes. But Ross' portrayal of Billie Holiday was effective; it wasn't just a carbon copy reenactment of Holiday, but a cultivation of her essence when placed on-stage or in the studio behind a microphone. Gil Askey's arrangements are top-notch without sounding like dinner theater knock-offs. Blue is an album every bit as bold an artistic statement as her contemporaries Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, who were recording the opuses Where I'm Coming From and What's Going On around the same time, and for Ross fans, Blue is every bit as enjoyable as her sultriest moments as the supreme Supreme.

Customer Reviews

Blue

Having been a Diana Ross fan for almost 40 years, I didn't know what to expect from an album from the early 70's, but I think that this cd sounds great and fits in with other artists recording of standards (Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Linda Ronstadt etc.) Some of the songs have been available on the Lady Sings The Blues Soundtrack, but these versions make it nice to hear another interpretation of the song. Diana's laidback singing is very emotional and quite jazzy for the former Supreme. I am so happy that someone found this album in the "vault" and finally gives it the recognition it deserves. It's nice to hear something old/new from her after too long away from the recording studio.

Worth It

This is worth the time, money, and the wait. The previously unreleased songs are first rate and the new vocals on the songs that have been previously recorded really take me back. One wonders what took so long to "find" these treasures. A couple arrangements are a bit overwrought but Miss Ross' voice makes up for it with simple yet moving phrasing, clear vocals and a light touch that keeps each song fresh and just really enjoyable listening. Some real standouts include "Solitude", "No More", "But Beautiful", "Love Is Here To Stay", "He's Funny That Way" and listen to "I Loves You Porgy" two times, it's the vocals that put it over. Just Beuatiful! Even ones one may have heard before like "Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do", "You've Changed" and "Smile" ring true and perhaps because they were fresh to the artist have a certain "knowing" that comes across. Yes it's worth it.

Brillant

This album is great. Diana Ross has never sounded better. The only thing good about it being unreleased all of these years is the surpirse of it now. I have never heard such a good album come out of Motowns vaults. It is usually average material that they decided not to release originally for just that reason. This one is a gem. It shows just how great Miss Ross can be!

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