Diana Ross - Playlist: The Very Best of Diana Ross (2013)

Diana Ross
Diana Ross Playlist.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase
A fabulously-gowned, luxuriously-maned glamour girl with a coy, kittenish (if slightly nasal) singing voice: that's how many people first encountered the definitive Diva, Diana Ross, and after over a half century in the music business, that's what she's remained. When she first burst onto the scene as the acknowledged lead singer of The Supremes, that coo of a soprano was heard on a nearly unbroken string of timeless hits (ten of them being Number One singles) and would, predictably, serve Miss Ross well as a solo artist. Despite many, many releases and a more sporadic chart run since then, the bulk of the songs
for which Diana Ross is best known are the ones recorded from 1970-1981, an eleven year period representing the end of the diva's Motown years and the beginning of her tenure at RCA.
A fabulously-gowned, luxuriously-maned glamour girl with a coy, kittenish (if slightly nasal) singing voice: that's how many people first encountered the definitive Diva, Diana Ross, and after over a half century in the music business, that's what she's remained. When she first burst onto the scene as the acknowledged lead singer of The Supremes, that coo of a soprano was heard on a nearly unbroken string of timeless hits (ten of them being Number One singles) and would, predictably, serve Miss Ross well as a solo artist. Despite many, many releases and a more sporadic chart run since then, the bulk of the songs
for which Diana Ross is best known are the ones recorded from 1970-1981, an eleven year period representing the end of the diva's Motown years and the beginning of her tenure at RCA. This is the period that's featured
in the newly released Playlist: The Very Best Of Diana Ross. 
 
Equalized and remastered, the fourteen songs sound as crisp and as crystal-clear as they did when they first pumped out of the speakers and filled disco floors. Whether you're a contemporary of Miss Ross or were just barely old enough to lip-sync along with a hairbrush and Momma's bathrobe (don't act like I'm the only one who did that!), the perfect phrasing of "It's My Turn," "Missing You" and "Upside Down" will bring back the memories and simultaneously remind you of why her other nickname---The Boss---stuck so solidly decades later. Miss Ross never possessed the gut-wrenching souled-out pipes of peers like Aretha Franklin or Chaka Khan, per se, but the combination of subtlety and sultriness remained just as appealing. Why else would songs like "I'm Coming Out," "Muscles" and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" transcend their 'expiration date,' keep you toe-tapping and dare you to not sing right along? 
 
It wouldn't have hurt to include a Diana and Marvin (Gaye) duet here, but the ones provided ( the smash "Endless Love" with Lionel Richie, "All of You" featuring Juio Iglesias) can conjure up warm nostalgia and lingering romance. Some of the tracks were more about her croon than the content ("Eaten Alive," "Pieces of Ice"), but numbers like "Chain Reaction" allowed her to vocally unfurl in ways that recalled her heady Motown years, yet regaled listeners with how  intriguingly her grown woman vocals had developed with time. 
 
Like any other "best of" compilation, some different choices could've replaced the selection here and there and omitting signature numbers like "The Boss," "Touch Me In The Morning" or "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" will leave fans puzzled or perturbed. But as it is, this quick snapshot of a set captures the highlights of a fruitful decade and is much like the iconic performer herself---more 'hits' than 'misses.' Recommended.
 
By Melody Charles
 
 

Leave a comment!