Saturday, 25 May 2019

Diana Ross - Touch Me In The Morning (1973)

Wasn't it me who said that nothing good's gonna last forever....

  

Released June 1973

By mid-1973, Diana Ross's Motown pop Supremes years were a long time gone. This period saw the start of her transition to full-on mainstream diva. She is now a bona fide superstar. Not that this is not a good album, however. It is, in its lush, classic ballad style, a pretty good example of its Motown easy listening genre. A lot of soul music was like this in the period 1973-77. The socially aware "message", gritty, often funky material like Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and Curtis Mayfield's "Roots" was being overwhelmed by sweet, syrupy, orchestrated, perfectly produced soul ballads. This album contain lots of them, the first two tracks, both hit singles, are perfect examples. Ironically, though, the album ends with a cover of a track from "What's Going On".

TRACK LISTING

1. Touch Me In The Morning
2. All Of My Life
3. We Need You
4. Leave A Little Room
5. I Won't Last A Day Without You
6. Little Girl Blue
7. My Baby (My Baby My Own)
8. Imagine
9. Brown Baby/Save The Children                  

The title track is just sumptuous, an all-time beautiful classic. It is full of grandiose but soulful atmosphere and is delivered with a gorgeous vocal, one of Ross's best. It is so nostalgic, for me, of the summer of 1973, when I was fourteen. "All Of My Life" is next, another huge hit and another wonderful song. "We Need You" is an orchestrated yearning ballad about a family split.

"Leave A Little Room" has those sweeping, lush strings again, but also a little bit of wah-wah guitar and saxophone creeps in there and it has a bit of anthemic feel about it. "I Won't Last A Day Without You" is a great song, and however well Ross performs it, Karen Carpenter's version is, for me, the default version. "Little Girl Blue" is a tender, acoustic guitar and strings number with a fifties air running all through it. "My Baby (My Baby My Own)" is another dysfunctional, absent father song, with a haunting, late-night torch song ambience.

It is a Motown album, surely time for a Beatles/ex-Beatles cover? Coming right up, in the shape of John Lennon's ubiquitous "Imagine". Funnily enough, Ross's cover is a good one and it sits quite well in this album's mood. "Brown Baby" is the most authentic piece of soul on the album and quality aware soul is paid due respect as it morphs into Marvin Gaye's "Save The Children".

The albums ends on a high point, but although it is a perfectly pleasant, nostalgic listen, it is a little too saccharine for my taste. Yes, I still own the album though, but I prefer a more gritty feel to my soul.

C

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