Did you hear the news? Thanks to commenter and longtime friend of The Diana Ross Project, spookyelectric, we just did: Diana Ross might be going back to Oz with the release of a long-shelved album.
As reported exclusively by the website Electronic Urban Report (and writer Michael P. Coleman), the 1978 album Diana Ross Sings Songs From “The Wiz” is apparently getting a release later this month. Click here to read the news from EUR.
We’ve known about the existence of this unreleased album for awhile; Diana’s “Motown version” of the ballad “Home” was included on the 2001 double-CD The Motown Anthology (read my review of that gorgeous performance here). In his book Diana Ross: A Biography, writer J. Randy Taraborrelli included this information: “[The Wiz] soundtrack was released on MCA. However, Motown planned its own LP entitled Diana Ross Sings Songs From “The Wiz.” She recorded alternate versions of “Home,” “Be a Lion,” and a new song, “Wonder, Wonder Why,” for this project. However, they all remained in the Motown vaults” (523).
Of course, choosing this moment to release the album would make sense, with the upcoming live television production of The Wiz on NBC; there will be plenty of attention on the musical and the classic songs it contains. Although the film version of The Wiz was basically ignored upon its release, it certainly has many fans today — and there’s no denying the powerhouse vocals featured on its soundtrack. As I wrote in my original review of the soundtrack, “Diana Ross under [Quincy Jones’s] direction becomes a singer of superb strength and range here; the raw power in her voice is on par with that exhibited during 1971’s Surrender. Even during the quiet moments of this album, Jones manages to bring out a rich, full sound in Diana’s voice that many other producers couldn’t seem to capture.”
From what Coleman has written in EUR, fans are in for a real treat with these Motown versions. If the rest of then are anywhere close to the recording of “Home” that we’ve already heard, Miss Ross will surprise a lot of critics and casual listeners who are still unaware (or in denial) of the soul and power she possesses as a vocalist.
If anyone else has more information about the news of this unreleased album — post it in the comments section! What are your thoughts about this news?