Diana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes

Let the Sunshine In

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Let the Sunshine In appeared deceptively late, given some of its content in the history of Diana Ross & the Supremes. Released in the spring of 1969, by which time the Supremes were already seeming a bit old-hat, it generated relatively little excitement, and its late placement in their discography still makes it suspect, at first glance, to historically minded listeners. The fact that it's also from the group's post-Holland/Dozier/Holland period also makes it automatically less interesting in a musical/historical context. Actually, it's a pretty strong pop-soul effort -- Diana Ross is the obvious focus, and given the chaotic circumstances surrounding the group during this period, it's difficult to say at all times who is singing with her (Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong are obviously present somewhere, and the Andantes are, no doubt, backing Ross up at some points); but it does contain one track, the hauntingly beautiful "Let The Music Play," dating all the way back to 1967 and including founding member Florence Ballard. The album is still solid listening 40-plus years later, and it's not easy to explain why it performed poorly on the pop charts, especially with three hit singles present to help drive sales; "I'm Livin' in Shame" had been a Top Ten single and was making its LP bow, and "The Composer" (authored by Smokey Robinson) easily made the Top 30. The one weak link in the AM radio department was "No Matter What Sign You Are," a Berry Gordy composition that was more a catchy inventory of trends -- including a sitar in the arrangement that was dated by 1969 -- than a new horizon in pop music. The album does embrace more of a soul sound than early Supremes efforts, and audiences (and radio stations) were perhaps picking that up more succinctly here; thus, it got to number seven on the R&B charts but only a paltry number 24 as a pop album. Ross is in excellent form throughout, and the arrangements reach for the lush side of soul, which would become her trademark as a solo artist. Ironically, the weakest link is the title track, Ross' cover of the Hair medley "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" -- Ross just doesn't do well (or much) with the songs. Fortunately, it is followed by "Let the Music Play," which more than makes up for the lost opportunity, as well as offering a poignant look back at the original trio.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 03:00 Amazon
2 03:01 Amazon
3 02:53 Amazon
4 03:00 Amazon
5 02:52 Amazon
6 02:59 Amazon
7 03:11 Amazon
8 02:40 Amazon
9 03:04 Amazon
10 02:30 Amazon
11 02:54 Amazon
12 03:33 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick