Diana ballard

9.  Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things):  Thus far in their career, The Supremes hadn’t done particularly well with songs first recorded by Martha and The Vandellas; their covers of “Come And Get These Memories” and “Love Is Like A Heat Wave” were lightweight and watered down, failing to capture the fire of the original versions.  “Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things)” was first released by The Vandellas in 1965, as the b-side to “You’ve Been In Love Too Long.”  The bluesy ballad did garner some airplay of its own, and has become a classic for the group; it’s featured on most of their major hits compilations and was included in on the 1967  Martha And The Vandellas Live!  LP.  Here, Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier deliver a similarly dramatic arrangement; the track here is beautifully produced, and features one of the best instrumentals on the album.  Likewise, the Supremes really rise to the occasion here; Diana Ross tears into the song with a soulful, fully-engaged performance that’s probably her very best on Reflections .  Many will undoubtedly compare her vocal to that of Martha Reeves, but taken on its own terms, it’s an impressive display of artistry; Ross is in powerful voice, nailing the required high notes and adding in a few flourishes unique to her interpretation.  The voices behind her seem to be those of Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, unless The Andantes are doing an especially good job of mimicry; in any case, the soaring backgrounds are perfectly done, helping to further buoy Diana’s passionate performance.  In the end, it’s both a showcase for the sterling songwriting skills of H-D-H, and the endlessly surprising vocal abilities of Diana Ross; there’s a lot to love about this “Love.”

7.  Havin’ A Party:  The title of this song says it all; this is an upbeat dance tune that was a huge hit for Mr. Cooke and a hit again for rocker Rod Stewart in the mid-1990s (on other recordings, I believe the title is spelled as “Having A Party” — but on this album, it’s printed as “Havin’ A Party”).  The Supremes version is solid, if a little limp; the arrangement is about as generic as it gets, and cries out for strong Motown backbeat.  The slicing strings present in Cooke’s original recording are repeated here, but come off as garish and corny; they bear more similarity to the cooky “rock” song featured in the 1962 film What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? than to the anything in Cooke’s soulful classic.  Although there’s nothing technically wrong with Diana’s lead vocal, she’s just a little too cutting here; her voice is high and crisp and lacks the unpolished edge that made Cooke’s delivery so memorable.  His party sounded like one for adults, a place to blow-off steam after a long day at work; Diana seems to be bragging to the cool kids about her after-school shindig.  It would have been interesting to hear Mary Wilson have a go at the song; her endearing voice probably could have well-conveyed the warmth and intimacy of a gathering where “the Coke’s are in the icebox, popcorn’s on the table.”  In the end, “Havin’ A Party” isn’t a total dud, but it’s not an event you’d necessarily feel compelled to RSVP “yes” to.  (NOTE: It is fun to hear The Supremes reference other Motown recordings, calling for the DJ to play “Shotgun” and “My Girl” toward the end of the song!)

Diana ballard

diana ballard

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