Touch Me in the Morning [Bonus Tracks]

by: Diana Ross

Arriving after Lady Sings the Blues, Touch Me in the Morning trades easily on Diana Ross’ status as a superstar. Grandiose and slick without being cloying, soft and seductive while retaining soul, the album veers away from R&B toward adult contemporary, a sound fitting a cross-platform, cross-genre star such as Ross, and the telling thing about Touch Me in the Morning is that for as soft as its surfaces are, this isn’t quite a makeout record thanks in part to the trace DNA from its origins as a concept album Diana Ross conceived for her children. This record, fittingly called To the Baby, didn’t appear until Hip-O Select reissued Touch Me in the Morning as an expanded double-disc Expanded Edition in 2010, whereupon it was easy to see just how much the two albums shared: “Brown Baby” shows up as its own track, “My Baby (My Baby My Own),” while “Imagine” is part of the medley with “Save the Children.” Apart from such specifics, the overall tone is indeed similar, particularly in how the music is sentimental without being syrupy, pushing the idea of Diana as a diva who can do it all, but there is a reason why To the Baby was scrapped in favor of Touch Me in the Morning: it lacked a single as sweeping as “Touch Me in the Morning” itself, a signal that it was just slightly too inward-looking to sustain Ross’ monumental success. Sensing that, Berry Gordy once again displayed remarkable commercial instincts, rejiggering the project just enough to turn the LP into something rich, gorgeous, and romantic, something of a slow-dance classic, something that To the Baby, no matter how sincere and interesting it was, couldn’t quite be. [The rest of the expanded deluxe set includes several remixes and alternate takes, plus the OK unreleased Smokey Robinson-written “Kewpie Doll,” to round out the two discs.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.