Diana [Deluxe Edition]
Coming off four Top Ten hits in three years for their group Chic, producers Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers were the hot R&B/disco team of the day when they wrote and produced Diana Ross' second album named simply diana. (The first was her 1971 TV soundtrack, Diana!.) The result was Ross' best-selling album ever, paced by her biggest singles hit yet, "Upside Down," and its Top Ten follow-up, "I'm Coming Out." For the most part, disco productions tended to emphasize the beat over the voice, and it might be argued, but for the billing, Ross had been reduced to guest vocalist on her own album. But it was exactly her struggle to retain an identity beyond the groove that made this music more compelling than Chic's records. diana marked an important comeback for Ross, who had struggled in the late '70s after the early successes of her solo career. She celebrated by leaving Motown for a six-year, five-album sojourn at RCA. The 2003 Deluxe Edition reissue settles a historical controversy by including the album's original, rejected mix as submitted by Edwards and Rodgers. Ross seems even more of guest vocalist here, and one more buried in the mix, but the chief difference is that the original mix blends the instruments more, while the more familiar one, done by Motown veteran Russ Terrana, separates them clearly (and is clearly superior for that). Terrana's and Rodgers' memories of the mixing dispute are featured in the liner notes. Also included is an additional disc, "Diana: Dance," consisting of dance remixes of Ross recordings of the 1970s, some of them previously unreleased. Together, the two discs make for an excellent collection of Ross' most danceable tracks.