Baby…It’s Here! The Expanded Edition Arrives…

Diana Ross Baby It's Me ExpandedSince the beginning of The Diana Ross Project — since that very first post about Diana Ross (1970) — the most searched topic by visitors has been Diana’s 1977 LP Baby It’s Me.  There’s a reason for this — it is perhaps the single best album ever released by the singer, although it certainly didn’t scale the commercial heights that much of her 70s output did.  There’s another reason, too — IT’S BEEN SO DARN HARD TO FIND.

Well, Hip-O Select has finally reissued the phenomenal Richard Perry-helmed long-player, and the company continues to spoil fans by adding several bonus tracks and alternate mixes.  We expected “Baby, I Love Your Way” (previously released on an anthology) and the written-about tracks “Country John” and “Brass Band” — but we also get a funky song called “Room Enough For Two” with a sexy, playful vocal by the singer (…and a tease in the liner notes about a duet version with Billy Preston!).  And those alternate mixes — “Top Of The World” starts off like totally different song, with unusual “drip-drop” sounds accompanying the familiar strings!

As of now, the release is digital-only — it’s currently available on iTunes.  As with the re-release of the Supremes’ Funny Girl project, it may very well remain download-only.  That will disappoint some fans — we sure do like our hands on those info-filled booklets.  But boy, does it sounds good.  I’m going to live with these new songs and mixes awhile, then I’ll be back to share my in-depth thoughts. Until then, you can look back over my original post on the album, and share your initial thoughts on the Expanded Edition here.  Baby It’s Me is finally back…will the “same love” still be there?

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About Paul

Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
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34 Responses to Baby…It’s Here! The Expanded Edition Arrives…

  1. TONE B HURT says:

    MAGNIFICENT! I AM SO HAPPY, AN EARLY HOLIDAY GIFT FOR SELF

    Tone B Hurt

  2. ernestortega says:

    Hi Paul! I can’t wait! I want to read your review. 😉

    • Paul says:

      I’m excited to write about some new songs…FINALLY 🙂 I’m digging “Room Enough For Two” — like the groove…

      • ernestortega says:

        Go ahead Paul! 🙂 Your blog has been the path to put Diana up to the “Top of my World”!! hehe Diana came into my life (with her force and fierce) just two years ago, and I’m reading, listening everything I can. Baby It’s Me, Take Me Higher and Red Hot Rhythm and Blues, are my favorites albums; and your “Workin’ Overtime review” made me listen to that album again, and now I can’t jogging without it, hahaha. I want to ask you something: Are you going to write about the (US) unreleased tracks from RHR&B: “Sweet Soul Music”, “Mr Lee” and “Tell Mama”? Maybe the remix of “Shockwaves” deserve some attention, it was “single’s official version” in the UK. “Mr Lee” (Swing Mix) was remixed by Phil Harding. Just saying. Anyway, congratulations. You really had made a great job! Thank you!

  3. zeff' says:

    not until the record company will provide us a physical edition of this album , i won’t buy the mp3 version of this , this is the responsability of the record company to release it as a physical cd , instead of wasting their time on mp3 , put back a cd and lp remastered edition and then they will see the result , feel sad to say it so , but we deserve a physical edition , too bad for the record company .

    • Paul says:

      I get where you’re coming from — it’s frustrating to have waited so long and not have a physical copy. That said — I’m glad it saw the light of day at all. “Baby It’s Me” has been OOP for a long time, and Hip-O certainly has its choice of projects to focus on, so I’m glad this one at least got some attention. (Plus…I like the cheaper price of 12.99!) Who knows…maybe they’ll eventually release a limited edition CD/LP??

  4. Peter says:

    Hi, Paul–

    Glad to read something new from you, if only to keep in touch and enjoy your enthusiasm. I know you are a huge fan of “Baby It’s Me” and must be excited. I appreciate its gloss and mysterious presence/absence but I guess I am one of the few hard core fans who don’t place it among my favorites. But I do have it on CD (I didn’t know it was rare. I’m glad I bought it, I think sometime in the early 90s, when it was first available.) and I think I’ll give it another go. It’s certainly one of her most glamorous album covers, although I know you have said that’s not the focus of the site.

    I saw Diana’s show at Madison Square Garden in June and I determined that she has gotten increasingly better each time I’ve seen her since 2008, when I was underwhelmed with her “Divas With Heart” performance at Radio City. In June she was infectious on “The Boss” and moving on “Don’t Explain”, two songs which seem late-career mainstays in her act. Best of all, Diana does not give any indication of retiring from concertizing. Aren’t we all lucky for that! Hope you are well, Paul.

    Peter

    • Paul says:

      Hey Peter! I recently saw a YouTube clip of Diana singing “Good Morning Heartache” (I think it was in Chicago) within the past few months, and she sounded as good as she has in YEARS. Even as a die-hard fan, I was shocked by the high quality of her voice — she nailed the song and her pipes seem to be in great shape. I agree with you — I know a lot of fans are disappointed that we haven’t gotten any new recordings — but I’m just glad she’s still out there performing!

  5. spookyelectric says:

    Hey – Glad you’re back!

    Looking forward to hearing this (finally!)… but agree its a shame there’s no solid plans for physical release. Universal UK marketing dept aren’t even aware of the release (though its Top 20 on the UK R&B iTunes as we speak) so it would seem there’s little push behind it, which is a same when you consider the international success of ‘Blue’ which showed Diana could still shift units with proper promotion.

    Paul if you have time you might want to consider reviewing the Funkytowngrooves deluxe reissues of her RCA albums – especially the double disc of RH R&B with never released track. They’ve actually been selling out on Amazon…

    • Paul says:

      Hey Spooky 🙂

      I had the same thought about “Blue” — I think “Baby It’s Me” is strong enough and still sounds good enough that they could have done a similar Starbucks tie-in like they did with “Blue” — they really could have made this release feel like an EVENT — sort of a “lost masterpiece” finally getting the attention it deserves.

      In any case, as I said before, I’m glad it’s out — we’ve waited forever for something new, and I guess Hip-O didn’t have to release it at all if they didn’t want to.

  6. fredpostmanf says:

    They are mad if they keep this to a download only;it’s one of Miss Ross’ strongest and consistent albums and i don’t buy mp3s i want a physical release please though i am ‘Too Shy To Say’ [my all time favourite ballad from the lady]

  7. V16TROLA says:

    The release of this expanded edition was (as I read somewhere) UMG’s Beyoncé moment, releasing it with no warning to everyone’s surprise. Maybe they are going to do more about promoting it (although I would be surprised) but I have seen that it is doing well on the iTunes Soul/R&B charts around the world so hopefully this will encourage the powers that be.

    As for the CD v download arguments, I am afraid that this is the way of the world. Don’t get me wrong, I really REALLY want the full CD package with the fabulous booklet in my sticky hands but I am just overjoyed that we got this album at last.

    The problem is that if fans don’t buy the download as some kind of protest then unfortunately, it can only backfire on all of us. The market for these releases is shrinking as we all get older. We’ve got to be realistic. How many of the previous physical CD editions were sold wordwide? A few thousand? Do people really think that UMG are going to carry on releasing these expanded editions at ALL if we start boycotting them?

    There is a rumour that a physical CD is coming next February but I just couldn’t wait that long!!! LOL

    The new tracks are fabulous – Brass Band is so catchy and what can I say about the alternate vocals and mixes? The way Diana colours the songs so differently with shades of nuance is breathtaking. A great example of this is the alternate vocal of Baby I Love Your Way – the slightly more relaxed lazy reading of the first verse or so give a completely different feel. The full album has been on non-stop since I downloaded it!

    I hope we do get this on CD and if so, they can add on the 1983 version of Baby I Love Your Way, the 12″ mix of Your Love Is So Good For Me (although we of course already have it on Diana Deluxe). My other hope with downloads is that they should be made available in higher quality forms or better still as WAV files so we can experience the full quality of the remasters.

    A Starbucks release of Baby It’s Me sounds like an AMAZING idea… this could really have legs if someone at UMG realised!!!

    Thank you to you Paul for this fantastic site – I have been dipping in and out of it for a couple of years now and I really love your insight. It has re-opened my eyes on Diana’s amazing catalogue.

    • Paul says:

      I completely agree — I’m concerned that people “boycotting” a download could result in the company losing interest in releasing ANYTHING in the future. I’d imagine UMG has a clear plan behind their choices on reissues and the format they’re released on, and I trust they are doing what’s necessary to get the music to the most fans possible.

  8. Morten says:

    Finally! Baby It’s Me – Expanded Edition. – I’ve been listening to it for two whole days now and it’s truly wonderful! The sound-quality is simply impeccable. Clear and crisp! And I simply love the Brass Band track! – My new favourite! The files from iTunes are big, not the usual MP3s, but MPEG4 – or m4a if you’d like. I’ve been living with the original album all the way back in 19777 when I bought it on vinyl in record shop on the main street of my hometown. It soon became my special favourite and has stayed that way ever since. Too bad that the follow up was scrapped! Last christmas I got the SHM-edition from Japan. There had been rumours of an expanded double album for so long so I didn’t dare to wait for it. – Glad I did what I did. Now it doesn’t seem so likely for a physical version of the latest edition after all. That’s a real shame though! – I really hope it will be licensed to another company in, let’s say Britain or Japan… That I am not able to glance through the glossy booklet with liner notes’ aplenty is really what I miss the most. The music I can copy to a CDR… These are my thoughts about it for now. – Now I really must congratulate you, Paul for the best and the most informative little page on the net for us Diana Ross afficionados! It always makes for a good read. – I’ve been checking in at it almost since you started, but only now have I gotten around to logging in to it. – About time me thinks… Keep up the flag and let the Diana Ross flame glow bigger and brighter than ever! – 70 years old is she and she’s really looking and sounding very good these days! Ciao! And thank you!

  9. david hess says:

    well,my b day is in two weeks and so i bought it for myself, loving it!!! it is one of her best,glorious albums and i think she seems to surf vocally over each track and shines thru out this collection. WHY was this album not a hit?? to me, it has more to do with Motown dropping the ball, much like RCA did later. i am happy to note the album charted high on ITUNES on the r@b charts. maybe with this,some fans will get their actual cd. hopefully everyone will support this collection. i personally think this is my favorite era of diana’s 1976-1981.

  10. bokiluis says:

    What a pleasant surprise to wake up and discover an email that one of my all-time favorite albums has been expanded. (I already owned the EMI Japan remastered version. I also bought the initial runs that came out in the late 80s so I haven’t been jonesing for it as much as others may have because on my well thought out high end home audio/video system, this already sounded fine on earlier CD runs). That said, sequentially this was the next in line for expansion, and I have been anxiously waiting to hear what would be the bonus material. Because it was stated in Rolling Stone that the album, “Syreeta 1980” got all the recorded masters that was set aside for round 2 with Richard Perry. Songs like “He’s Gone” and “Love Fire” supposedly had recorded the music charts for his next album with Diana. When that idea was scrapped, possibly for “The Boss”, Syreeta inherited those tracks. That didn’t necessarily mean that there still were tracks left over from the original sessions. In fact, the 2014 mixes tell a different story. “Baby I Love Your Way” sounds infinitely better than the “Anthology” version from the late 80s. In fact, I was so swept away by the 2014 mix on “Gettin’ Ready for Love”, I had already declared these 2014 mixes better than the original. That now seems a tad premature, but, it’s exciting that I cannot definitely rule out the new mixes because they are just that good. Only the original version of “All Night Lover”, may have bested the 2014 mix. And that’s primarily because Diana adds that Supreme touch. (Oddly, it’s albums like “Baby It’s Me” that I thought Diana would possibly invite marywilson to do guest vocals. We now know that we should have been “keeping an eye” on said suspect instead). I would hardly downplay it’s platinum success thought it should have gone Top10, not just Top 20. By 1977-78, the music industry was still quite healthy before the overrated disco implosion of 1979. So it was possible for an album to go platinum and peak at #18. Diana had an established pattern of selling briskly the first 6 weeks of a release, until “diana” proved that theory wrong with legs that lasted over a year. It is a wildly romantic album and I distinctly remember flying on what I thought was love…..and this was the soundtrack from that romance. “Your Love is So Good for Me” sounds even more ready for the Dancefloor. And even her excellent reading of Bill Withers’ “The Same Love that Made Me Laugh” sounds great as a mid tempo ballad as it does for the discos.
    Diana’s first foray from the Motown machine finds her in glorious form. The album photography is nearly as iconic for Skrebeneski as it was his much celebrated 1976 “The Black Album”. Like she would do a decade later, Skrebeneski did 3 covers “The Black Album”, “Baby It’s Me” and her first Greatest Hits (U.S.) Whereas, in 1987, she employed Herb Ritts for “Workin’ Overtime”, “Red Hot Rhythm & Blues” and excels with the gorgeous photography on “The Force Behind the Power”.
    By 1976-77, Diana began to take more control of her total project. And it shows. She may have been guided by 1976-77, but, took stumbles in the 80s as Ross Records came to fruition. By the 90s, the sum total of a given body of work was 200% Diana Ross. And I have loved every minute of it.
    She may not be actively recording or maybe she is..BUT, we now know whatever we get is all Diana!

  11. I currently work from home on a Monday and so often get the opportunity to pick my own soundtrack while working away that I had picked “Every Day is a New Day” as today’s record. As is often the case I’ll re-visit this site to remind myself either of the background of a certain LP or our shared thoughts. I cannot express how super excited I was to both find a new post and “Baby It’s Me” finally expanded! So quickly I shot over to iTunes and listened happily for the rest of the day. Spookily I discovered the earlier CD release in an obscure second hand record store in Munich Germany while I was there earlier this year so this release seems an odd bookend to 2014. As an aside when I went looking through the bins (looking for Supremes or Ross releases, as I’m sure we all do) I was struck by the fact that the R&B bin was titled “Black Music” I know that I was taken aback and had to show a friend this subsection of music, I think the record store owner was a little upset but it was a little hard to explain to a European the difference, in the end I think he could understand (and it really was an amazing store). I thanked him very much for having the rarity that is “Baby It’s Me” and now I own this fabulous expanded release! I look forward to our deep dive into this 1977 classic!

  12. Sorry just to add…reading a number of boards discussing the release of “Baby It’s Me” being released in MP3 format only and the number of folks boycotting it’s purchase, I’m astounded?! Because it’s often hard enough to get such records as these in mainstream release (exactly how long have we waited for this particular release in Expanded form?) its hardly going to have record companies inclined towards producing further such projects if we take such action, surely?

    • Paul says:

      Hi Julius!
      Personally — I agree with you. Hip-O/UMG certainly didn’t need to reissue this album, so I’m thankful we got it at all. And if fans boycott the download, there’s little hope we’ll get ever any kind of release again, physical or otherwise.

  13. Peter says:

    I think it’s strange this is such an issue. I’m pretty traditional about a lot of things but I’ve accepted digital music. I like having less clutter in my small Mew York apartment.

    • Me too. I love when there is the opportunity to own a hard copy of a Favorite classic, I’m all for it, however I also accept that on occasion it won’t be financially viable for a record company to consistently produce these luxe packages. In this case I’m more than happy to accept the digital release because for myself it’s really just about owning (and sometimes hearing for the first time) the music. The best example for me is the Hip-O-select box set of the latter Supremes recordings with Jean Terrell at the helm (in the most beautifully presented box), the initial run of the complete recordings now runs between $400.00-$1000.00 USD to own on the secondary market in comparison to the $70.00 for the digital download…I know which one I ended up purchasing. 😉

    • Paul says:

      Peter — haha — me too! The older I get, the less I want. As much of a “Diana collector” as I am — it’s just much easier to pull up the songs I want to hear on my computer!!

  14. davidh says:

    agreed, the older I get the less clutter I want, although I would be nice to continue in the beautiful sets we are used to , but the bottom line is ,we are getting the music. I am happy to have it and the new mixes are supreme.

    • Paul says:

      David — agreed. We got it (no put intended!) and I’m thankful for that. And I LOVE the new mixes, too…discovering so many new little details about each song!!

  15. JonJ says:

    Whilst it’s nice that Baby It’s Me has managed to get a release of some sort, count me down as one of those who’s very disappointed by the lack of a CD issue. I realise the times are a-changing in terms of physical products being less popular, but the demographic that a reissue like this is pitched at is exactly the part of the market that still buys CDs. What’s more, as this post notes, Baby It’s Me has long been at the top of fans’ wishlists for a reissue and has been very difficult (and expensive) to buy on CD format for years now – I simply can’t believe that a physical issue, even a relatively short print run, wouldn’t be financially viable.

    This now leaves a bit of a gaping hole in the CD reissue campaign of Diana’s 1970s albums (which they’re almost finished with now in any case) and I would much rather have had this album on CD than Everything is Everything, Last Time I Saw Him or the Black album. Instead, we wait while Universal churns out nice reissues of these lesser albums and then find out that the one album most people have been waiting for won’t get the same treatment. And then to charge a full album price for the iTunes version that clearly doesn’t have the same costs as a CD issue! No matter how good the reissue sounds, I won’t be buying it in this format.

  16. markus says:

    I popped in to re-read an old review and was so excited to see this. Welcome back Paul!!!

    Long story short, i got it, I love it.

    a physical copy would’ve been nice, but c’est la vie.:)

    I also need some time to let these new songs and mixes soak in, but I can tell you i warmed to them much more quickly than Go Where Your Mind Is…lol

  17. Paul, do you think the entire album has been remastered – or just the unreleased tracks and alternate versions of the few cuts? Can’t tell from the samples if all the songs are remastered!

  18. I downloaded the entire album last night (had just purchased the unreleased tracks initially). What a wonderful treat! The remastered quality is excellent – everything sounds so vibrant and fresh. The beautiful digital booklet was very well done too, and I found it fascinating to read about how the marketing of this project prevented it from achieving hit status (especially the singles). But I am just glad to have it to enjoy now – with Brass Band (out of the unreleased tracks) being especially catchy.

  19. V16TROLA says:

    Paul, I’m waiting with bated breath for your detailed review of the new tracks and the new mixes… Hope we don’t have to wait as long as we did for the BIM reissue! hahaha 😉

  20. justino says:

    I just heard Diana Ross’ grand version of “Baby I love your way”. Was this song ever released as a single? “Baby it’s me” is her best themed album. II flows so well,,and her voice is golden honey, dripping from a rose.

  21. Paul?? What the f***? It’s almost May and still no review for this? C’mon big boy!

    Two quick things of interest to share with you — 1. For my most recent landmark birthday last summer my kids gave me a single center seat in row 2 for Ross’ concert in Long Beach which took place that upcoming fall of 2014. Her voice was in amazing form, seriously hitting those high notes in Mahogony and Touch Me that we all know so well and she repeatedly duplicated the strength and pitch from almost all reference points from decades prior — so much so, that several dreams came true in getting to hear her sing as I had always imagined, had I been an adult in the 70’s. This coupled with her amazing appearance (all was in top form due to her recent hosting of her son’s wedding over the Labor Day weekend of 2014, just a few weeks prior to the LB show I saw) and a huge auditorium which was completely packed to the rafters made for an evening that assuredly put to rest any yearnings of a yet unfulfilled dream. 2. I was able to work my way backstage and had a lovely conversation where I reminded her of my meetings with her years ago as I mentioned to you in a previous postings (probably a post from over a year ago or so.). During this conversation I brought up Your Blog and informed her of how amazing, informative and richly satisfying it was in that you have dealt with just her music and did such a good job of separating the music aspect from any other facets of her career (glamour, appearance, films, press, photo shoots/covers, etc), and how I and so many of her fans agreed with your analysis and opinions and how those thoughts sparked such great conversations… about her music, singles and albums. Needless to say, my mention brought up reactions from several in the room that had read your blog and also her acknowledgment of having been made aware of your site. She had been told on several occassions of your blog and looked forward to getting some free time to really look into your site and what you had to say. Maybe this was a typical “star” answer in diplomacy, but the fact that your blog set off a conversation of knowledge and recognition within this small gathering space of your subject and those around her was even gratifying to me as such a small participant in “Your Project.”

    It was a thrilling night and I apologize for not alerting you sooner and I wanted to thank you for being a part of it by generously giving me a subject matter that I could bring up to further extend my conversation within such an iconic context!!

    I see “Motown the Musical” here in Los Angeles in a few weeks. With my hectic life I probably won’t be able to come here and talk about that any time soon, but as soon as I can — I promise I will.

    Best to you and yours!!!
    Rick of RickSantamonica

  22. Pingback: Can’t It Wait Until Tomorrow… (Reflections On The Eve Of Another Concert) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

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