DIANA ROSS: ‘Everything Is Everything – Expanded Edition’ (Label: Hip-O Select)

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DIANA ROSS: 'Everything Is Everything - Expanded Edition'

It’s hard to believe that this album – the second solo foray by the former head Supreme, which was released hot on the heels of the diva’s eponymous debut platter in 1970- has never been reissued on CD before except in Germany. Thanks to the efforts of DJ Tony Blackburn, then at Radio One, the set spawned a massive hit in the UK in the shape of the wistful, infectious ballad ‘I’m Waiting,’ which made pole position in the pop charts here in 1971. It was a different story in the States, though, where the same song could only climb to a disappointing #40. The album was produced by Deke Richards, who in 1970 was head honcho of ‘The Corporation,’ the Motown hit team that had helmed the Jackson 5’s early smashes – and, as Motown anoraks will recall, Richards was also responsible for the psychedelic Chris Clark album ‘C.C. Rides Again.’ In the liner notes, he tells of his surprise in being asked to produce Ross’s sophomore LP by Berry Gordy. It was a big surprise to other people too, especially given the sterling work that Ashford & Simpson had done on Ross’s debut opus. But when Berry Gordy snapped his fingers, everyone jumped and Richards wasn’t about to turn down an opportunity to produce a Motown superstar. He roped in Hal Davis to help with the sessions and what resulted was an unusual set that included an epic, Norman Whitfield-style reworking of The Beatles’ number, ‘Come Together’ and a more orthodox stab at the Fab Four’s ‘Long & Winding Road.’ The Richards’-penned ‘I’m Still Waiting’ is the album’s standout cut – in the liners, Richards confesses that ‘Berry didn’t like it. “That’s not Diana,” he said. “That doesn’t sound like Diana.”‘ Another highpoint of the album is Ross’s retooling of Aretha’s ‘I Love You (Call Me),’ which shows her in a more soulful light. She also cuts a breezy version of ‘How About You,’ which originally appeared on the aforementioned Chris Clark LP, ‘C.C. Rides Again.’ This reissue is bolstered by seven bonus tracks, six of which are previously unreleased. They include ‘Wish I Knew’ – which Ross also cut as a Supreme – and covers of the jazzy ballad, ‘What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life?’ and ‘Something,’ penned by Beatle, George Harrison. Apparently, fans of Ross The Boss have been clamouring for years to get this set reissued. Well, now, their wish has been granted…but it’s a limited edition release so my advice is snap it up before it disappears again.
(CW) 4/5