11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2006
Life is full of surprises, especially when rare gems such as "Blue" are discovered in those vast vaults at Motown. If it wasn't for Shelly Berger - one of Diana's managers at the company - the album may not have seen the light of day.
From a historical point of view, "Blue" is fascinating; like the "Lady Sings the Blues" soundtrack, many of the musicians played for the real Lady Day herself, Billie Holiday. The exquisite arrangements are courtesy of Gil Askey, who also produced the album.
Diana's nuanced vocal delivery is stunning. It was as if she had been transported back in time to a bygone era of those decadent supper parties of the 40's. Diana's sense of timing - and sense of `knowing' - places her comfortably among the likes of Lady Day, Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington - that was quite a feat, especially when you consider that "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Blue" were recorded so early on in her solo career.
While a couple of the tracks lack the intensity of the versions from "Lady Sings the Blues" (namely "You've Changed", which is sung in a higher key), the overall package is very impressive indeed. Diana seemed so relaxed and at one with the rhythms and lyrics. Tracks that stand out are:
"WHAT A DIFF'RENCE A DAY MAKES" - utterly sublime!
"NO MORE" - delightfully ambiguous, and a personal favourite
"SMILE" - there's a subtle glimmer of hope in Diana's voice that's uplifting
"BUT BEAUTIFUL" - I love the way Diana caresses the lyrics. Nothing's overdone.
"LITTLE GIRL BLUE" - this is an alternative version to the track on the "Touch Me in the Morning" album. This take seems a tad more melancholic and poignant.
"MY MAN (MON HOMME)" - a glorious torch song
"EASY LIVING" - it doesn't get much better than this. It's such a cool track.
One wonders how Diana's career would have panned out had Berry Gordy released "Blue" instead of "Touch Me in the Morning". I guess we'll never know. One thing is abundantly clear, though - "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Blue" must rank as two of the most emotionally satisfying and important projects of the diva's long career. The fact that "Blue" shot to the #2 slot on the Billboard Jazz charts - some 34 years after it was made - is testament of Diana's lasting appeal. More importantly, "Blue" proved that behind the sequins and gloss is an artist with depth.
Diana Ross and Gil Askey should be showered with Grammy's for this outstanding, timeless masterpiece.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2006
Diana Ross is probably the most successful female singer in pop history, if you include her hits with the Supremes. At their height they rivalled the Beatles in terms of record sales and No. 1s in America.
After leaving the Supremes, and embarking on her solo career, she then branched out into acting. Her debut wasn't exactly an easy choice. Taking on the role of the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, had many critics baying for blood. They considered her too inexperienced as a singer and an actress (her only acting role had been as a singing nun in an episode of Tarzan!) to play a woman with such a tumultuous life: Broken marriages, prostitution and drug addiction, which led to her untimely death. But "Call me Miss Ross" blew them all away with an astonishing performance and ended up with an Oscar nomination, losing out to Liza Minnelli for her performance in Cabaret.
Part of the success of her performance is that she does not impersonate the singer, if she had she would have fallen flat on her face, but she manages to make the songs her own.
The album `Blue' was produced as a follow-up to the soundtrack but was shelved, as her record company wanted her to concentrate on her pop career. It is an album of standards, different versions of which can be found on the soundtrack and a couple would eventually see the light of day on her other albums (Little Girl Blue" on Touch Me in the Morning and "Smile" on Diana Ross.)
The arrangements, by Gil Askey are immaculate and her phrasing is near perfect. This CD contains the original 12 tracks plus 4 bonus ones.
My favourites are:
'I loves ya Porgy', a more up-tempo version, than is usually heard.
`What a difference a day makes', which is blissful.
`My Man', possibly the saddest lyrics ever written, which she sings with perfect poignancy.
Why on earth this has taken over thirty years to be released, Lord only knows! One wonders that if this album had seen the light of day in 1972, her career would have taken a different path and what other hidden gems are gathering dust in Motown's vaults?
on 15 June 2013
As a big fan of Diana's and having most of the supreme albums and Diana's solo albums this one was missing from my collection. I gave it a miss years ago because I wasn't really a fan of the early jazz/blues sound and I'm still not keen really but looking for something different I thought i'd give it a go....I'm glad I did ! I love Diana's voice on this album that's why I'm such a fan she has so many facets to her voice she can sing soft and high, naselly as in the supremes, powerful, strong and soulful and as in this album light and breezy with a lovely tone to her voice. She sounds like Billy Holiday only better and although I am not convinced on the songs themselves its worth having just to hear Diana sing in one of her many wonderful voices.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 5 July 2006
How could they keep this from us for 34 years ? I'm just stunned . A music industry crime .
I'm anxiously awaiting the imminent arrival of my two copies so I can't really judge the complete album , but I've listened to the Amazon samples .If you're a Ross fan you know some of the tracks from Lady Sings The Blues and ' Smile ' was on the black Diana Ross album from 1976 .' Little Girl Blue ' was on Touch Me In The Morning and a live version is on ' Stolen Moments ' .
I can't wait to hear the complete new tracks because she sounds absolutely sublime albeit expectedly .I think there are some tracks on here that were only on 'Lady Sings The Blues' as literal soundtrack too . My one and only gripe with 'Lady Sings The Blues ' is that 'Lover Man' was only ever included as live sountrack and not also studio . She sounds so great singing it but we never get to hear it out of the movie setting .